15th Century And Earlier

Results from Conservation and Treatment of the Ghent Altarpiece

October 21 2021


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting video giving some further details about discoveries made during the conservation and treatment of Jan van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece. Amongst the research conducted was identifying the hand and work of Hubert van Eyck.

Here's a link from CODART which gives more details of the conservation and the recently published book on the subject.

Sotheby's Reveal another Botticelli

October 6 2021

Video: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's New York have announced that they will be offering a late work by Sandro Botticelli in their January 2022 sale. The work will be consigned with an estimate "in excess of $40 million."

According to the press release:

Executed in the late 15th/early 16th century, The Man of Sorrows is a masterful late period work by the artist, when Botticelli was greatly influenced by the fanatical Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola and adopted a style characterized by Christian symbolism and visionary spirituality. The portrait of the resurrected Christ reveals an important coda to Botticelli’s well-known earlier career, while also encapsulating the artist’s singular style with a stunningly modern and human portrayal of Christ.


The Man of Sorrows was first recorded in the collection of Mrs. Adelaide Kemble Sartoris (1814-1879), a famed English opera singer, who along with her husband, were two influential socialites in Victorian England and in Rome. The painting descended in the family to Adelaide’s great granddaughter, Lady Cunynghame, who sold it at auction in 1963 for £10,000 ($28,000). Since then, it has remained in the same distinguished private collection, practically unseen until its recent inclusion in the major monographic exhibition devoted to the Florentine master at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt in 2009–2010.

The picture will be toured around the globe, including stopping in at Hong Kong, Dubai, Los Angeles and London, before the sale in January.

Botticelli: Artist and Designer

September 9 2021

Video: Culturespaces

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Musée Jacquemart-André's latest exhibition opens tomorrow in Paris. Botticelli: Artist and Designer will feature no less than forty pictures by the master and his workshop, with many works loaned from top institutions across the world.

According to the website:

In the autumn 2021, the Musée Jacquemart-André will celebrate the creative genius of Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) and the activity of his workshop, by exhibiting around forty works by the master, along with several paintings by his contemporaries, who were greatly influenced by him. Botticelli was one of the greatest artists in Florence, and his career attests to the economic development and profound changes that transformed the rule of the Medicis.  Botticelli is undoubtedly one of the most well-known Renaissance artists in Italy despite the fact that his life and the activity in his wirkshop remain something of a mystery. He consistently alternated between the production of one-off paintings and works issued in series, completed by his assistants. 

The exhibition will show Botticelli’s workshop strategy, laboratory of ideas as well as a place of artistic training, characteristic of the Italian Renaissance. It will present Botticelli in his role as a creative artist and also as a entrepreneur and master (capobottega). 

Arranged in a chronological and thematic order, the exhibition will illustrate Botticelli’s personal stylistic development, the connections between his work and his milieu, and his influence on his fellow artists.


A curious 'teaser' video this, which obviously uses plastic printouts rather than the masterpieces themselves. A shame, the video makes the paintings look rather flat and dead compared to how magnificent they look in real life!

Rijksmuseum Acquires and Reattributes Sluter Crucifix

September 1 2021

Image of Rijksmuseum Acquires and Reattributes Sluter Crucifix

Picture: Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has acquired a carved wooden crucifix that it has reattributed to the fifteenth-century Dutch sculptor Claus Sluter.

According to the article above:

Research conducted into art historical and technical aspects of the work has led multiple experts to conclude that this exceptional object can be conclusively attributed to Haarlem-born Claus Sluter, who was the court sculptor to Philip the Bold in Dijon, France, from 1389 to 1406. This makes the work the first by Sluter to be held in a Dutch collection.

Lecture: The Fate of Icons in University Museums

August 24 2021

Image of Lecture: The Fate of Icons in University Museums

Picture: @greeceinuk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge is hosting an interesting sounding online lecture in October entitled "Fair Greece! Sad Relic": the fate of icons in University Museums. The event has been organised to mark the Bicentenary of the Greek War of Independence.

According to the blurb:

Soon after the Greek Revolution, the Acropolis was cleared of its Medieval buildings. Byzantine icons too were shunned, even in University Museum collections. This lecture touches on icons in the Fitzwilliam but focuses on the fate of one icon in the Yale University Art Museum, acquired in 1871, but hidden in its storeroom until now.

The talk will be delivered by Robin Cormack, Professor emeritus in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art and who now teaches in the Classics Faculty at Cambridge. 

The lecture will be broadcast on 13th October 2021 and attendance will cost £5 (free for under-18s and students).

Short Course: Medieval Fashion 1200 - 1500

August 19 2021

Image of Short Course: Medieval Fashion 1200 - 1500

Picture: University of Glasgow

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Since the Histories of Fashion and Art make for a rather good pair, I thought some readers might be interesting in this 10 week course which starts next month. The University of Glasgow are putting on a short course on the subject of Medieval Fashion 1200 - 1500.

According to the blurb:

Dress in Medieval society functioned as symbols of status and circumstance: from indicating economic levels (e.g. receivers of alms), marriage status of women, to social class at birth. People were conditioned to decode the complex signage system in dress, beyond and above our contemporary 'reading' of fashion. This course offers the opportunity to explore fashion during the High to Late Middle Ages (1200-1500) through investigating period art, literature and surviving textiles, and develop to an understanding of the meaning of high- status clothing. In this class we will do practical exercises, visual investigations, discussions, and where available, field visits.

This online course, which runs on Thursday Evenings, will begin on 23rd September 2021 and will cost £140 to attend. It seems that you don't need to be a student at the University to be able to attend.

A Michel Sittow Rediscovered in Spain (?)

July 27 2021

Image of A Michel Sittow Rediscovered in Spain (?)

Picture: Twitter via. @Inde

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from Spain that a rare work by the enigmatic fifteenth century artist Michel Sittow has been reportedly rediscovered in the Museo de Arte Sacro de Teruel. The Intercession of the Virgin Mary before God the Father and Jesus Christ (pictured) has been reattributed by the scholar María del Carmen Lacarra. Sittow, who was probably born in Estonia but is often considered Flemish, worked for the Habsburg monarchs in Spain and the Netherlands. In a 2011 catalogue raisonné the art historian Matthias Weniger included 111 works with only 13 attributed with absolute certainty.

We'll wait and see if other scholars rally around this new attribution.

Paolo Veneziano Exhibition at the Getty Museum

July 13 2021

Image of Paolo Veneziano Exhibition at the Getty Museum

Picture: Worcester Art Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Getty Museum's new exhibition Paolo Veneziano Art & Devotion in 14th-Century Venice opened today in Los Angeles. In particular, this exhibition will reunite for the first time several dispersed fragments of two rare surviving altar pieces. Another significant loan includes an intact triptych from the National Gallery of Parma in Italy. The show will run until 3rd October 2021.

Here's a full write-up from The Art Newspaper.

Restoration of Poldi Pezzoli Museum's Mantegna

July 12 2021

Image of Restoration of Poldi Pezzoli Museum's Mantegna

Picture: Finestre sull'Arte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Italian website Finestre sull'Arte have published an interesting article on the restoration of Andrea Mantegna's Madonna and Child in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan. In particular, the article explains the work undertaken by the 'restorer' Giuseppe Molteni at the end of the nineteenth century who undertook several highly suspicious 'improvements' to the picture. Fortunately, in 2019 the museum decided to begin the task of restoring the work and removing these later additions. The work undertaken by Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence has revealed the true colours of the painting as well as undertaken scientific analysis of Mantegna's pigments and processes. Furthermore, the restoration has allowed for a more precise dating to the artist's early period in Mantua, from around 1462 - 1470.

Van Eyck Plea found in Vatican Archives

July 9 2021

Image of Van Eyck Plea found in Vatican Archives

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a curious story that appeared a few days ago. Historian Hendrik Callewier of the State Archives and KU Leuven has come across what he describes as a previously unknown application in the Vatican administration from painter Jan Van Eyck and his wife Margareta. The document, dated 26 March 1441, is a plea written to Pope Eugenius IV requesting a letter which would allow him to go to confession and absolve him from his sins.

According to the article linked above:

...according to Callewier “It is the first time that we see Van Eyck mentioned together with his wife Margareta in a document during his lifetime.” 

The find may also help determine Van Eyck’s birthplace. “There is no document from his time that says where he comes from,” Callewier said. “Ten different places have been named in the past hundred years, with Maaseik as the most likely contender. Our discovery shows that he comes from the diocese of Liège, so we can now exclude a number of places.” In this way, the search is traced back to Maaseik, Bergeijk, Maastricht and Arendonk.

Antoine de Lohny Exhibition in Susa

July 9 2021

Image of Antoine de Lohny Exhibition in Susa

Picture: settimanalelancora.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

An exhibition dedicated to the fifteenth century artist Antoine de Lonhy (active 1460 - 1490) opens in the Museo Diocesano in Susa, Piedmont, tomorrow. De Lonhy was both a painter, illuminator, designer of stained glass and a sculptor. The show will bring together fourty works by the artist from public and private collections, many of which have never been displayed before.

The second leg of the exhibition will open in Museo Civico d'Arte Antica in Turin on 23rd September 2021 and run until 9th January 2022.

Botticelli on loan to Museu de Belles Arts de València

June 29 2021

Image of Botticelli on loan to Museu de Belles Arts de València

Picture: Museu de Belles Arts de València

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sandro Botticelli's portrait of Michele Marullo Tarcaniota has been put on display in the Museu de Belles Arts de València. The painting has been loaned out to the museum by the Cambó family for a period of three years. It had previously been on display at the Prado in Madrid for two decades.

Visitors to Frieze Masters in London during October 2019 might remember that the painting was offered for sale by Trinity Fine Art for a reported $30m. Although the painting had been declared a national treasure in Spain, reports at the time suggested that an application for an export license would have been required to allow the work to formally leave the country. It seems that a sale did not materialise as it has remained in the family's hands.

15th century St John the Baptist Conserved in Malta

June 21 2021

Image of 15th century St John the Baptist Conserved in Malta

Picture: Times of Malta

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Times of Malta have published an extensive article regarding the recent conservation and restoration of a panel painting of John the Baptist attributed to the Sicilian painter Tommaso de Vigilia (active Palermo 1444-1497). The work, kept in the Mdina Cathedral Museum, is a fragment of a much larger piece that was dismembered after a disastrous earthquake which hit the island in 1693. This delicate restoration project was undertaken by conservator Amy Sciberras.

The Uffizi in Latin and Greek

June 18 2021

Video: Uffizi Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is celebrating 'European Archaeology Days' by posting videos in Latin and Greek. The Gallery has also tied in the celebration with some new acquisitions of classical art works and other events to honour these ancient languages.

Two Early Banners by Raphael are Conserved in Perugia

June 18 2021

Image of Two Early Banners by Raphael are Conserved in Perugia

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Two processional banners, which are some of the earliest works attributed to Raphael, are being conserved in the Città di Castello, Perugia. The conservation work is being undertaken in preparation for an exhibition entitled The Young Raphael and his Gaze (a rough translation) which will open on 18th September 2021.

Dürer Attribution Debate Reopens in Germany

June 16 2021

Image of Dürer Attribution Debate Reopens in Germany

Picture: artnews.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Artnews.com have published an article on the reopening of a debate surrounding the authorship of the outer panels of an altarpiece in the Johanneskirche church in Crailsheim, Germany. Although the interior has long been considered to have emanated from the workshop of Michael Wolgemut in 1490, experts from the Bavarian National Museum in Munich are suggesting that a revaluation of the exterior panels should be undertaken. In particular, upcoming research will investigate whether these might be the work of Albrecht Dürer, an attribution which has been debated amongst scholars since 1928.

Late Gothic in Berlin

May 27 2021

Video: smb.museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie opened its latest exhibition earlier this month entitled Late Gothic The Birth of Modernity. They created this rather fun video to promote the exhibition and accompanied it with a soundtrack which I approve of.

According to the museum's website:

Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie is holding the first ever comprehensive exhibition in the German-speaking world on late Gothic art. Featuring some 130 objects – including impressive loans and key works from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – the show will juxtapose various artistic genres and media, revealing the full breadth of the media innovations of the 15th century and the art of the late Gothic era. 

The exhibition will revolve around the progressive tendencies of the long transition period between the Middle Ages and the early modern age. Like perhaps no other epoch, in German-speaking regions, the period between 1430 and 1500 was marked by profound changes that continue to influence our understanding of art and images to this day. The exhibition includes a broad selection of works by well-known proponents of late Gothic art, such as Stefan Lochner, Konrad Witz, Niclaus Gerhaert von Leyden, and Tilman Riemenschneider.

The show will run until 5th September 2021 and their exhibition catalogue is available in English too.

Parma's Nuova Pilotta opens new Rooms dedicated to 14th - 15th Century Art

May 26 2021

Image of Parma's Nuova Pilotta opens new Rooms dedicated to 14th - 15th Century Art

Picture: la Repubblica

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Parma's Nuova Pilotta museum has opened new rooms dedicated to Italian art of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In particular, the new displays will focus on the transitional Gothic and Renaissance styles. Works featured within the rooms include paintings by the likes of Jacopo Loschi, Filippo Mazzola, Cristoforo Caselli and Alessandro Araldi.

Traces of Gold uncovered on Donatello Sculpture

May 20 2021

Image of Traces of Gold uncovered on Donatello Sculpture

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Traces of gilding have been uncovered on a recently conserved marble statue of San Marco by Donatello kept by the Museum of Orsanmichele in Florence. The discovery was made during a recent conservation and scanning project, indicating that the hair, beard and robes of the figure were once a golden colour. The statue was completed in 1411 when Donatello was a mere twenty-five years old.

Brancacci Chapel given Green Light for Restoration

May 18 2021

Image of Brancacci Chapel given Green Light for Restoration

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News has emerged in Italy that the authorities in Florence have signed a three-year deal for the restoration of the significant frescos of the Brancacci Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine. The work, which will be carried out by the company Opificio delle Pietre Dure, will focus on stabilising the delicate frescos which have been seen to be deteriorating during an inspection made in 2020.

Fingers crossed that the eventual re-emergence of these significant works by Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi won't end up shocking us like this project recently undertaken in Rome.

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