18th Century

Giovanni Antonio Cybei Celebrated in Carrara

May 6 2021

Image of Giovanni Antonio Cybei Celebrated in Carrara

Picture: finestresullarte.info

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara, the CARMI Museum, Palazzo Binelli and Palazzo Cucchiari will be hosting exhibitions dedicated to the eighteenth-century sculptor Giovanni Antonio Cybei (1706-1784) later this summer. This will be the first monograph exhibition dedicated to the sculptor who was born in the Tuscan city. Well over a hundred works have been sourced from public and private collections for the show, including marble sculptures, plaster and terracotta models, drawings, prints, books and paintings.

The exhibition will run from 11th June - 10th October 2021.

John Russell's Female Portraits

May 5 2021

Video: The National Portrait Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Portrait Gallery in London have released the following video discussing artist John Russell's (1745-1806) Female Portraits. More specifically, the video features research presented by Gemma Haigh, Curatorial Assistant at Guildford Heritage Service and Understanding British Portraits Fellow (2021). It also features an interview with the pastels maestro Neil Jeffares.

Blog on!

May 4 2021

Image of Blog on!

Picture: David Lay Frics

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for the delay in getting the blog restarted this week, bank holiday weekends are the perfect time for getting lost in long overdue chores I find!

The short break also allowed me to have a good look through the upcoming provincial sales here in the UK, which seem to be filled full of interesting things at the moment.

In particular, the auction house David Lay Frics are auctioning off the above portrait of John Badcock by John Opie later this month. It is a marvellous portrait and was completed in c.1780 when Opie was around the age of twenty. This homage to the likes of Rembrandt and Van Dyck is skilfully done, I think.

New Release: Copley and West in England 1775-1815

April 30 2021

Image of New Release: Copley and West in England 1775-1815

Picture: The Burlington Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Burlington Press will be publishing Allen Staley's new book Copley and West in England 1775-1815 next month.

According to the book's blurb:

West and Copley have always and properly been viewed as the two pre-eminent eighteenth-century American artists, despite the fact that, at the age of twenty-one, West left his native shores in 1760, never to return. He went on to become immensely successful in England, becoming, among other things, the second president of the Royal Academy of Arts. Copley spent half his working life also in England. However, before making the move across the Atlantic, he made his mark as an exceptionally talented artist, who, without any real training, painted likenesses of fellow Bostonians, including ones of figures such as John Hancock and Paul Revere, that have become icons of American history. While those portraits remain his most widely admired works, after 1775 and his resettling in England, he started painting distinctly different types of pictures, initially showing modern historical subjects in emulation of the model provided him by West, following, for example, West's celebrated Death of General Wolfe, exhibited in 1771, with his own Death of the Earl of Chatham, begun in 1779. For a brief span of time, the two expatriate Americans had a close working relationship, that we can see substantially reflected in both the formal language and the subject matter of many of their best works, but it eventually and inevitably turned into rivalry. 

The book begins with a brief prologue discussing the earliest of West's depictions of recent historical events and of subjects set in America, painted prior to Copley's arrival in England. It then follows the year-by-year evolution of Copley's painting from 1775 to his death in 1815, with an underlying focus upon his ongoing give-and-take with West, and it ends with examination of hitherto little-known and unstudied major late paintings, from after 1800, by both artists.

Nicola Grassi Exhibition in Pordenone

April 29 2021

Image of Nicola Grassi Exhibition in Pordenone

Picture: giornalenordest.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For fans of eighteenth-century Venetian painting, the Galleria Harry Bertoia in Pordenone, north-eastern Italy, will be opening an exhibition dedicated to Nicola Grassi (1682-1748) on 30th April 2021. The show will feature 80 paintings from both public and private collections, including works by his contemporaries such as Giambattista Tiepolo, Giambattista Piazzetta, Sebastiano Ricci and Gianantonio Guardi. The exhibition is curated by Enrico Lucchese, Professor of Art History at the University of Ljubljana.

Bellotto of Verona coming up at Christie's

April 29 2021

Image of Bellotto of Verona coming up at Christie's

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Financial Times has reported that Christie's will be offering Bernardo Bellotto's View of Verona with the Ponte delle Navi in their London Old Master Paintings evening sale on 8th July 2021. The picture, which had previously been on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, will carry an estimate of £12m - £18m. The painting was last sold at Christie's in November 1971 where it made £300,000. Its companion piece, purchased by 'Clive of India' in the 1770s, hangs in Powis Castle. 

Recent Release: Enlightened Animals in Eighteenth-Century Art

April 28 2021

Image of Recent Release: Enlightened Animals in Eighteenth-Century Art

Picture: Bloomsbury

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

You know a book is going to be a good read when it contains a chapter entitled 'Monkey Artists'.

Earlier this year Bloomsbury published Prof. Sarah Cohen of the University at Albany's new book entitled Enlightened Animals in Eighteenth-Century Art.

According to the publication's blurb:

How do our senses help us to understand the world? This question, which preoccupied Enlightenment thinkers, also emerged as a key theme in depictions of animals in eighteenth-century art. This book examines the ways in which painters such as Chardin, as well as sculptors, porcelain modelers, and other decorative designers portrayed animals as sensing subjects who physically confirmed the value of material experience. 

The sensual style known today as the Rococo encouraged the proliferation of animals as exemplars of empirical inquiry, ranging from the popular subject of the monkey artist to the alchemical wonders of the life-sized porcelain animals created for the Saxon court. Examining writings on sensory knowledge by La Mettrie, Condillac, Diderot and other philosophers side by side with depictions of the animal in art, Cohen argues that artists promoted the animal as a sensory subject while also validating the material basis of their own professional practice.

Palladio and the Bridge

April 27 2021

Image of Palladio and the Bridge

Picture: arte.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For those who enjoy paintings of elaborate architecture, the Civic Museums of Bassano del Grappa are opening their latest exhibition on 29th May 2021 entitled Palladio and the Bridge: Explaining the Myth. The show will explore the many curious designs the architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) made of bridges and the architectural imaginations of artists who responded to them. This includes the likes of Canaletto who featured them in several works (pictured). It was inspired by the recent restoration of the Ponte Vecchio in Bassano del Grappa, an ancient wooden bridge reconstructed many times after the architect's sixteenth-century designs.

The exhibition will run until 10th October 2021.

How to turn yourself into a Nattier

April 22 2021

Image of How to turn yourself into a Nattier

Picture: meteuropeanpaintings

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Ever wanted the complexion of sitters found in paintings by Jean-Marc Nattier? Well! The Metropolitan Museum of Art's European Paintings Department have posted a rather fun video on their Instagram Account giving a Nattier Makeup Tutorial. The presentation was devised by Harvard Art History student and tour guide Cecilia Zhou.

The Duke of Bedford sends his Canalettos to Bath

April 21 2021

Image of The Duke of Bedford sends his Canalettos to Bath

Picture: Woburn Abbey

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Duke of Bedford is loaning out Woburn Abbey's important set of Canalettos to the Holburne Musuem in Bath for a special exhibition which opens on 17th May. This loan has been made possible due to a large scale renovation project at the Duke's ancestral home. This is the first time in 70 years that the significant set of paintings, created during the 1730s, have left Woburn Abbey.

The works usually hang in the so-called Canaletto Dining Room. This magnificent display is impressive, but, does not allow for particularly close viewing. I'll be excited to see exactly how the loaned works will be displayed in the museum.

Visitors will have the opporunity to see this magnificent set of paintings until 5th September 2021.

Prado Acquire Goya's Earliest Recorded Work

April 16 2021

Image of Prado Acquire Goya's Earliest Recorded Work

Picture: Prado

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Prado in Madrid has announced that it has acquired Francisco Goya's earliest recorded work. Aníbal vencedor que por primera vez mira a Italia desde los Alpes (Victorious Hannibal Who for the First Time Looks at Italy from the Alps) was purchased for €3.3m by the Friends of the Prado Foundation.

According to press reports:

Dated 1771, the painting fills an important gap in the Prado’s chronological history of the 18th-century artist. It joins Italian Notebook, a sketchbook containing numerous notations, drawings, and musings by the artist, including rough sketches of what would become Hannibal. The painting depicts the Carthaginian general flanked by angels and a procession of soldiers. He would lead his armies across the Pyrenees and Alps into Italy, in one of the most legendary military campaigns in history...

For scholars with a focus on the artist, it is an essential entry in his oeuvre. The work represents an important step in establishing himself as a career painter, and showed early on that he could allude to history, religion, and mythology in one canvas—something he would do again and again throughout his career.

National Museum of Sweden Acquires John Russel Pastel

April 10 2021

Image of National Museum of Sweden Acquires John Russel Pastel

Picture: National Museum of Sweden

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Museum of Sweden in Stockholm has acquired a pastel of Lady Georgiana Cavendish by John Russel (1745-1806). The work came up for sale at the auction house Artcurial in Paris last November where it made €45,500. The acquisition was made possible by the support of the Axel and Nora Lundgren Fund.

Porcelain Collection of the Dukes of Palma Reunited

April 7 2021

Image of Porcelain Collection of the Dukes of Palma Reunited

Picture: artribune.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The porcelain collection of the Dukes of Palma will be reunited this May for a special exhibition in the Palazzo Ducale di Colorno. This once celebrated collection was dispersed in 1859 amongst several Italian museums and galleries. This will be the first time in 162 years these pieces by the likes of Meissen, Sèvres, Vincennes, Chantilly, Doccia and Capodimonte have been reunited. The exhibition, which features archival information regarding the patronage of the Dukes, will run until 19 September 2021.

Lost Gainsborough Purchased in France for £2,500

April 5 2021

Image of Lost Gainsborough Purchased in France for £2,500

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian published a story over the weekend about a recently remerged portrait by Thomas Gainsborough which was purchased at auction in France for £2,500. The portrait depicts the Czech born composer Antonín Kammel (1730–1784 or 1785), who was a friend of the artist.

The work has been authenticated by Hugh Belsey, compiler of the recent Gainsborough catalogue raisonné. He is quoted as saying:

This is a really exciting addition to his work. It is so rare to find a picture that’s totally unknown.

Gainsborough had a great deal of interest in musicians and likened a picture to a piece of music, once writing: ‘One part of a Picture ought to be like the first part of a Tune; that you can guess what follows, and that makes the second part of the Tune, and so I’ve done.’

The work has been conserved by Simon Gillespie. Curiously, the article does not seem to mention who the owner of the work is.

Here's an evocative example of Kammel's music (the only example on YouTube it seems), in case you're wondering what his work sounded like!

Update - The conservator Simon Gillespie has uploaded some images onto Instagram showing some more details of the restored work.

Cheffins to Auction Gainsborough's Earliest Self-Portrait

April 1 2021

Image of Cheffins to Auction Gainsborough's Earliest Self-Portrait

Picture: Cheffins

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The auction house Cheffins in Cambridgeshire will be auctioning-off Thomas Gainsborough's earliest self-portrait later this month. It was created c.1740 when the artist was thirteen years old. The painting has been in a private collection since 2008 and was formerly with the art dealer Philip Mould. The press releases haven't provided a formal estimate, however, the figure £40,000 has been quoted.

The painting will be sold on 21st April 2021.

Update - Here's the official press release from the auction house.

It also explains a little more about the work's provenance:

The self-portrait has changed hands three times since 1974 when it was purchased from the estate of Ernest Albert Butcher (a descendant of Robert Butcher) in Australia by the collector, dealer and philanthropist Neville Podmore. It was subsequently purchased by Felder Old Master Paintings in 2001 and then Philip Mould, Historical Portraits, in 2005 before entering the collection of the current owner. It is not altogether clear how the picture was acquired by the Butcher family, but a possible explanation is that it was acquired by Robert Butcher, Steward to 4th Duke of Bedford (1710-1771). The Duke was one of Gainsborough’s earliest patrons and it’s believed that the artist and Butcher had direct dealings with each other whilst Gainsborough painted portraits of the Duke and Duchess in the 1760’s.

Update - The painting sold for £90,000 (hammer price) and the dealer Philip Mould has announced on Twitter that he was the lucky buyer of the work.

Rosalba Carierra Pastels Acquired by the Frick Collection

March 29 2021

Video: The Frick Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Frick Collection have made the above video to celebrate the recent acquisition of two pastel portraits by Rosalba Carriera. Both works were bequeathed by Alexis Gregory in 2020.

Fragonard Philosopher Reappears

March 25 2021

Image of Fragonard Philosopher Reappears

Picture: Gazette Drouot

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A long lost painting of a philosopher by Fragonard has been rediscovered in Champagne, France, by the auctioneers Petit et le cabinet Turquin. The painting was known only by written references before now. As is evident from the fabulous brushwork, the painting channels the energy of seventeenth century painters including the likes of Frans Hals and Rembrandt. However, it is perhaps the lighter palette that gives it away as a painting of the late eighteenth century. A corresponding work from the same series, dating to 1764, is found in the Kunsthalle Hamburg.

The painting will be offered for sale later this year with an estimate of €1.5m - €2m.

Here is the write-up from La Tribune de 'Art.

Thomas Lawrence: Coming of Age - Panel Discussion

March 23 2021

Image of Thomas Lawrence: Coming of Age - Panel Discussion

Picture: Bloomsbury

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has kindly alerted me to this fascinating sounding panel discussion on the youthful works of Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830). More specifically, the panel will focus around author Amina Wright's new book on the artist (pictured). Other panellists include dealers Lowell Libson (Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd) and Ben Elwes (Ben Elwes Fine Art). The discussion will be moderated by the television art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon.

The discussion will be broadcast on Zoom on 25th March 2021 at 5pm (GMT). It's completely free to attend but registration is required.

MET Acquires Portrait of Bengali Nursemaid

March 22 2021

Image of MET Acquires Portrait of Bengali Nursemaid

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News on Instagram (via. @adameaker) that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have acquired a rare eighteenth century portrait of Joanna de Silva, a Bengali nursemaid, painted by William Wood. Joanna was employed by a family of an officer of the British East India Company and later returned to England with them. This portrait was produced in 1792 when she had arrived in Britain and inscribed with the details above.

The painting was sold at auction in New York last September where it was estimated at $2,000 - $4,000. The acquisition was made possible through the Bequest of Mary Jane Dastich, in memory of her husband, General Frank Dastich, by exchange and Charles B. Curtis Fund, 2020.

Eighteenth Century IPhone

March 19 2021

Image of Eighteenth Century IPhone

Picture: Schloss Ludwigslust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

As many of you will know, AHN is a fan of time travelling in paintings.

The French Porcelain Society and Richard Hird of Sotheby's (@glazed_and_confused) seem to have made the most recent discovery of time travel in a portrait of Duchess Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1758-1794) by Georg David Mathieu. This fine painting obviously shows her with an early version of an IPhone, wouldn't you agree? It seems she has a custom case for it too.

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