17th Century

A new Rembrandt self-portrait?

December 20 2022

Image of A new Rembrandt self-portrait?

Picture: Bas Czerwinski/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

The well-known Rembrandt scholar Gary Schwartz has announced news of a previously unacknowledged Rembrandt self-portrait. Well, I say unacknowledged, but I mean once acknowledged andthen downgraded - like so many Rembrandts, it was believed to be a Rembrandt until relatively recently. In 1969 Horst Gerson first doubted it, and then so too did the Rembrandt Research Project. From Codart:

A long-lost self-portrait of Rembrandt has been rediscovered by Gary Schwartz. The new discovery is published in his latest book Rembrandt in a Red Beret – The Vanishings and Reappearances of a Self-portrait.

The painting has not been seen in the Netherlands for nearly 125 years and has not been on public display since 1967. It is currently being presented in Escher in The Palace, the city palace in The Hague where the self-portrait was housed from 1850 to 1894.

For his research, CODART founder and Rembrandt specialist Gary Schwartz drew on numerous unpublished documents in the Dutch Royal House Archive, the archives of the American and German governments, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, German courts, as well as private correspondence between Hereditary Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and the German-American Rembrandt specialist Jakob Rosenberg. Schwartz’s new publication reconstructs the adventures of this significant work.


It was taken for granted that the painting was a genuine Rembrandt until 1969, when the German-Dutch art historian Horst Gerson suggested that it might be by or in imitation of Ferdinand Bol. Although Gary Schwartz maintains that no Bol expert has ever entertained this idea, the Rembrandt Research Project did actually take it seriously. Gary Schwartz: “Doubts about who produced the painting were fueled by the damage sustained by the self-portrait after it was stolen in Weimar. Incompetent overpainting misled people as to the work’s quality. Comprehensive new technological research work carried out by the renowned Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft in Zürich has revealed that only the face is work by the original painter. And anyone looking at that face will struggle to regard it as anything other than a self-portrait by the master himself”. In his new publication, Gary Schwartz argues that the work deserves to be acknowledged as by the master himself. He interrogates and refutes objections to accepting the painting for what it appears to be, a Rembrandt self-portrait.

More here on Artnet. You can see a decent photo of it here. Gary's website and always entertaining blog is here.

New Edition of Jordaens Van Dyck Journal

April 7 2022

Image of New Edition of Jordaens Van Dyck Journal

Picture: JVDPPP

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The third edition of the Jordaens Van Dyck Journal has just been published online. As always, the journal is free to access online and printed editions can be ordered through the website.

Here's a list of articles featured within:

Justin Davies & Ingrid Moortgat: The punch mark VHB : possible identification as the panel maker’s mark of Hans van Beemen alias Hans van Herentals (died 1624)

Justin Davies: Evidence of a previously unknown set of Van Dyck’s Apostles in Schloss Woyanow, Danzig in the early Twentieth century and an examination of one of the panels

Andrea Seim: Planks from the same oak tree found in different paintings

Justin Davies: Art historical considerations on same tree planks found in different paintings

Joost Vander Auwera: Jacques Jordaens, his panels and panel makers: identifications and patterns

Justin Davies: Van Dyck’s Apostles: introduction, overview and a new document Johannes Edvardsson: Dendrochronological and panel mark results from the Besançon and Konstanjevica na Krki Van Dyck related Apostles

Alexis Merle Du Bourg: The provenance of the sets of contemporary panels of Van Dyck’s Apostles in Besançon and Konstanjevica na Krki

Ingrid Goddeeris: Identifying new avenues for nineteenth-century provenance research through a focus on the Belgian art dealer Léon Gauchez using online museum files and digitised journals

James Innes-Mulraine: To Land upp into the Garden there’: Van Dyck’s lost London studio found at last

In a related note, James Innes-Mulraine's appeared in The Sunday Telegraph last weekend regarding a petition to have a blue plaque placed on the site of Van Dyck's former studio in Blackfriars.

Here's what the site looked like in the past:

Picture: Trustees of the British Museum

And here is what the area looks like now:

Picture:(c) ZC Innes-Mulraine

A worthy project that AHN lends its full support to!

Smell this Brueghel at the Prado

April 5 2022

Image of Smell this Brueghel at the Prado

Picture: Prado

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Prado in Madrid is the latest museum to explore the subject of smell in paintings. In particular, the museum will be bringing to life Peter Brueghel the Elder's (in collaboration with Rubens) Sense of Smell (pictured) in a small exhibition entitled The Essence of a Painting. An Olfactory Exhibition.

According to the website:

On display until 3 July in Room 83 of the Villanueva Building, The Sense of Smell, a painting by Jan Brueghel and Rubens, is the focus of The Essence of a Painting. An Olfactory Exhibition, curated by Alejandro Vergara, Chief Curator of Flemish Painting and the Northern Schools at the Museo Nacional del Prado, and Gregorio Sola, Senior Perfumer at Puig and an academician of the Perfume Academy, who has created ten fragrances associated with elements in the painting. 

Brueghel’s work, which evokes the garden of rare trees and plants belonging to Isabel Clara Eugenia and her husband in early 17th-century Brussels, depicts more than 80 species of plants and flowers, as well as various animals associated with the sense of smell, such as the scent hound and civet, and a range of objects relating to the world of perfume, including scented gloves, vessels  holding fragrant substances, a perfume burner warmed in a sumptuous brazier, and vessels for distilling essences.

The show will run until 3rd July 2022.

Rembrandt, not Flinck

April 1 2022

Image of Rembrandt, not Flinck

Picture: Gemäldegalerie

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Gemäldegalerie in Berlin have announced that their Landscape with Arched Bridge is by Rembrandt after all. A reassessment of the picture, instigated by a David Hockney exhibition it seems, has concluded that the work is by Rembrandt's own hand. The picture had been given to Govaert Flinck for many years until recent technical analysis has proven otherwise.

According to the article linked above:

X-rays showing changes and corrections that had been made to the work helped confirm Rembrandt as its creator. [Berlin curator Katja] Kleinert said experts were unanimous in their verdict. 

Comparisons were made with a very similar composition by Rembrandt, called Landscape with Stone Bridge at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which the Gemäldegalerie’s director, Dagmar Hirschfeld – herself a Rembrandt expert – said shared hallmarks typical for him. 

“You quite often get pairs of paintings, where you have the impression he is trying to do the same again, but in another style of painting or to optimise what he has already achieved,” she said. Analysis of the painting in Berlin, which the gallery acquired in 1924, showed how Rembrandt had made radical changes to the work during its creation, including shifting the position of a storm cloud, reducing the size of a hill and making changes to a group of trees. These processes in turn made the painting more compact and dense.

The landscape will be featured in the gallery's latest exhibition David Hockney – Landscapes in Dialogue.

Online Lecture: Big-Bellied Women: Portraying Pregnancy in 16th and 17th Century England

March 30 2022

Image of Online Lecture: Big-Bellied Women: Portraying Pregnancy in 16th and 17th Century England

Picture: The MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Ontario Canada, will be hosting an interesting in-person and live-streamed lecture next month. Professor Karen Hearn will be presenting Queen's University's Isabel and Alfred Bader Lecture in European Art on the subject of Big-Bellied Women: Portraying Pregnancy in 16th and 17th-Century England.

According to the talk's blurb:

Join celebrated art historian and curator Karen Hearn for “Big-Bellied Women: Portraying Pregnancy in 16th and 17th-Century England,” an exploration of early modern depictions of pregnancy in British art. Hearn, a former curator at Tate Britain and honorary professor at University College London, argues many early modern works depicted pregnancy overtly, contrary to previous thought, for a variety of reasons and motivations.

This free talk will be streamed online on 14th April 2022 from 6pm - 8pm (EDT). Click on the link above for more details.

New Release: Bernini and His World

March 29 2022

Image of New Release: Bernini and His World

Picture: Lund Humphries

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Publisher Lund Humphries released this new book last week. Bernini and His World: Sculpture and Sculptors in Early Modern Rome is the new title written by Livio Pestilli, the former Director of Trinity College, Rome.

According to the book's blurb:

Bernini and His World is a unique exploration of Gian Lorenzo Bernini the sculptor, offering new insights and including discussions of the artist’s stylistic innovations and the ways in which he approached sculpture. Placing his life and work within a social, anthropological and historical context, Livio Pestilli gives a fascinating and in-depth account, from the Rome in which Bernini lived and its reception of foreign sculptors to the myth-making narrative of his biographers, and the judgements of his critics.

Restored Rubens to be unveiled in Cologne on Easter Monday

March 15 2022

Image of Restored Rubens to be unveiled in Cologne on Easter Monday

Picture: katholisch.de

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Peter Paul Rubens's recently restored Crucifixion of Saint Peter is about to be unveiled for members of the public. The painting, which has been in the Church of Sankt Peter in Köln (Cologne) since 1642, measures 3.5 x 2.5 m and has been undergoing sensitive conservation over the past two years. This recent campaign of restoration cost the church and diocese no less than €85,000. As in olden times, the painting is set to be unshrouded on Easter Monday for the congregation gathered in the building.

The Walters Art Museum acquire Workshop of Flinck

March 14 2022

Image of The Walters Art Museum acquire Workshop of Flinck

Picture: The Walters Art Museum via. @MarjoleineKars

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore have announced their acquisition of a Portrait of a Young Black Woman c.1650 by the Workshop of Govaert Flinck (spotted via. @MarjoleineKars). The acquisition was made possible by funds provided by the Alton Jones Foundation Acquisition Fund.

According to the museum's magazine:

This young Black woman was surely a member of the community of largely working-class Africans who by the mid-1600s had made one neighborhood in central Amsterdam their home. Rembrandt's large house was here, and he and his students, such as Govaert Flinck (1615-1660), often represented these neighbors in their history paintings and allegories. However, given the absence of attributes specifically indicating the subject's role as an allegorical or historical figure, this work appears to be a portrait of a specific, although still unidentified, woman. The feather in her hair, her pearls, and her chemise are all commonly seen in depictions of young women employed in Dutch bars and taverns, where they were tasked with amusing their male customers. As reflected as well in another recently acquired Dutch painting, Young Black Men Drinking in a Tavern (1630s), Africans were active participants in everyday life. When these two paintings are installed in the Dutch galleries, they will contribute to a nearly twenty-year campaign to bring the African presence in early modern Europe to the fore in our galleries.

The Louvre are Restoring a Poussin

March 10 2022

Image of The Louvre are Restoring a Poussin

Picture: @MilovanCavor

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Nicolas Milovanovic, Chief Curator at the Louvre in Paris, has shared some rather interesting images on Twitter of a conservation project on the museum's The Nurture of Bacchus by Nicolas Poussin. The clean, which is due to finish soon, looks rather promising indeed. Click through the link to see more images on Nicolas's Twitter page.

A Bartolomeo Salvestrini donated to the Uffizi

March 7 2022

Image of A Bartolomeo Salvestrini donated to the Uffizi

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence have shared news of the donation of Bartolommeo Salvestrini's (1599-1633) King Solomon Offering Incense to an Idol to the museum. The work, which is signed and dated 1626, was gifted to the gallery by Fabrizio and Francesco Guidi Bruscoli and is dedicated to the memory of Daniela Salvadori Guidi Bruscoli. It seems that this picture will be one of only a few examples by the Florentine artist held in Italian public collections.

Annibale Carracci. The Herrera Chapel

March 4 2022

Video: Museo Nacional del Prado

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Prado in Madrid will be opening their latest exhibition in a few days' time. The delayed Annibale Carracci The frescoes from the Herrera Chapel will be opening on the 8th March 2022 and run until 12th June 2022.

Unexportable Velázquez sells for €4.27m

March 3 2022

Image of Unexportable Velázquez sells for €4.27m

Picture: abc.es

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The aforementioned portrait of an unknown gentleman attributed to Diego Velázquez achieved €4.27m (inc. commission) at the Abalarte auction house in Madrid yesterday. Two collectors were said to be involved in the final few bids. Furthermore, the new owner will have to keep the work in the country as it was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest by the authorities in Madrid in 2007.

Portrait of first Female French Academician coming up for sale

March 2 2022

Image of Portrait of first Female French Academician coming up for sale

Picture: Artcurial

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The French auction house Artcurial have uploaded the online catalogue of their upcoming Old Master & 19th Cent. Art sale due to be held on 23rd March 2022. Alongside the aforementioned €12m - €15m Chardin is this rather interesting portrait. Ascribed to 'French School 17th century', it depicts the flower painter Catherine Duchemin (1630-1698), who was not only the wife of sculptor François Girardon but also the first ever female artist accepted into the French Academy of Art. The catalogue note, which provides an interesting biography of the painter, is well worth a read.

The painting will be offered for sale carrying an estimate of €100,000 - €150,000.

Rembrandthuis loaned a rediscovered Jan Lievens

March 2 2022

Image of Rembrandthuis loaned a rediscovered Jan Lievens

Picture: @rembrandthuis

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museum Het Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam have announced the loan of a recently rediscovered portrait by Jan Lievens. The Portrait of a Man with a Gold Chain dates to 1637/8 and has been loaned by its owners David and Michelle Berrong-Bader. Unfortunately, the sitter is yet to be identified.

Superbarocco set to open in Rome!

March 1 2022

Image of Superbarocco set to open in Rome!

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rome leg of the previously cancelled Genoese baroque exhibition is set to open this month. Superbarocco. Arte a Genova da Rubens a Magnasco will feature no fewer than 120 works produced in Genoa between the years 1600 and 1750.

The exhibition will be held in Rome's Scuderie del Quirinale between 26th March 2022 until 3rd July 2022.

The English exhibition catalogue can already be purchased here.

The National Trust conserve three Fathers of the Church

March 1 2022

Image of The National Trust conserve three Fathers of the Church

Picture: The National Trust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Trust have shared news of the conservation and restoration of three oil paintings of Saints, known as the Fathers of the Church. The works, which depict Pope Gregory I, Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine Bishop of Hippo, are in the collection of Chastleton House in Oxfordshire. It is believed the panel paintings date to around the time the house was built in the opening decades of the seventeenth-century.

The article linked above explains that the fourth 'father' is missing:

However, a fourth painting of Saint Ambrose, a fourth century theologian and Bishop of Milan, is missing. A magazine article in 1919 noted the four paintings as a set so while it is thought to have hung in the house until the early 20th Century, nobody knows where it is now.

“It is a mystery,” said Ruth Peters, Senior Collections and House Officer at Chastleton. “We have an idea of what it would look like as the paintings are based on - but are not an exact copy of - a set of four Flemish engravings. The last members of the family to live at Chastleton before it came into the care of the National Trust have no memory of the fourth painting. It might have been sold or given away and so could be hanging on somebody’s wall, unrecognised.”


As a brief aside, I thought I would share this sneaky picture I took many years ago when I last visited Chastleton. It's a beautiful house filled with some interesting things. However, I could never quite understand why they decided to hang this rather fine Thomas Hudson (one of the collection's best pictures) well behind a rope off of a corridor.

Forbidden Fruit: Female Still Life at Colnaghi

March 1 2022

Image of Forbidden Fruit: Female Still Life at Colnaghi

Picture: Colnaghi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The dealers Colnaghi will be opening their latest old masters selling exhibition in April. This year's theme looks to be a very interesting one indeed, as it is dedicated to still lifes by female artists.

According to the company's press release:

COLNAGHI London presents a tantalising new exhibition devoted to female still life, the highlight of which is a spatially complex painting by the mannerist artist, Fede Galizia (pictured). An important rediscovery by Colnaghi, the work contributes to the reconstruction of Galizia’s corpus in her enigmatic final years. Forbidden Fruit: Female Still Life will include other rare works by Giovanna Garzoni, painter to the Medicis and one of the first women to practice the art of still life, as well as the only known painting by Caterina Angela Pierozzi, protégée of Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere. The exhibition will also feature the last painting by the hand of acclaimed Dutch botanical artist, Rachel Ruysch.

Open at Colnaghi London from April 27 through June 24, 2022, Forbidden Fruit builds upon Colnaghi's mission to spearhead new trends in art collecting, bringing the finest works in often overlooked categories to a new audience. This presentation includes work from the Renaissance to Baroque periods by: Giovanna Garzoni, Fede Galizia, Judith Leyster, Clara Peeters, Caterina Angela Pierozzi, Elisabetta Marchioni, Rachel Ruysch and others.

Minneapolis Institute of Art acquires a Luca Giordano

February 25 2022

Image of Minneapolis Institute of Art acquires a Luca Giordano

Picture: @artsmia

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Minneapolis Institute of Art have acquired Luca Giordano's Christ among the Doctors (c.1685). The work is actually a fresco on wicker support and dates to the period when Giordano was working on wall paintings at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence.

According to the museum's press release:

“Most of Giordano’s frescos are in situ on church walls and palace ceilings, so the appearance of this portable fresco on the market—a type of painting invented in Florence in the seventeenth century—provided a rare opportunity for Mia to add a fresco by the artist to the museum’s collection,” said Rachel McGarry, Elizabeth MacMillan Chair of European Art and Curator of European Painting and Works on Paper at Mia. “As the first Italian fresco to enter the museum’s collection, this acquisition strengthens our ability to tell the story of Italian painting while also significantly enhancing the museum’s holdings of Baroque art.”

Versailles's Madame de Maintenon Conserved

February 24 2022

Image of Versailles's Madame de Maintenon Conserved

Picture: Palace of Versailles

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Palace of Versailles have published a short article providing details concerning the recent conservation and restoration of Louis Ferdinand Elle the Elder's Françoise d'Aubigné, marquise de Maintenon (1635-1719), and her niece Françoise d'Aubigné, future Duchess of Noailles (1688).

It seems that the artist had originally intended for the portrait to be in a smaller format, as it was eventually extended on four sides to allow for a full-length painting. X-ray images have also shown that the sitter's dress had been changed from more fashionable lace attire to the austere costume that appears in the final image. The work was undertaken by the The National Centre for Research and Restoration in French Museums (C2RMF)

Murillo: Picturing the Prodigal Son

February 22 2022

Image of Murillo: Picturing the Prodigal Son

Picture: The National Gallery of Ireland

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Meadows Museum in Dallas, Texas, have just opened a new exhibition reuniting Murillo's six canvases representing scenes from the parable of the Prodigal Son. Murillo: Picturing the Prodigal Son, which had previously been on display at the Prado last year, will be at the Meadows Museum of Art between 20th February 2022 and 12th June 2022.

According to the museum's website:

Murillo skillfully embellished the narrative, conveying the story’s themes of virtue and vice, regret and forgiveness, through the figures’ dramatic gestures and facial expressions. Each composition is at once singular and dynamic despite its preservation of narrative continuity. It is therefore all the more remarkable that the series has remained intact, the only by Murillo to be so, despite changing hands many times since its creation during one of the artist’s more prolific decades. Since 1987, the paintings have been in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. 

In 2022, all six canvases will travel to the United States for the first time to be featured at the Meadows Museum, their only venue in this country. Marking the Meadows’s first collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland, Picturing the Prodigal Son was inspired by the recent conservation work and the extensive technical analysis of the canvases carried out in Dublin, which has highlighted the beauty of Murillo’s technique and revealed new insights into his working method at a critical point in his career. The exhibition therefore marks a rare opportunity for American audiences to view an important painting series by Murillo in its entirety, just as it was created to be seen. As the largest repository of paintings by Murillo in the United States, the Meadows Museum is the ideal venue to exclusively present Murillo: Picturing the Prodigal Son.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.