Category: Research

The Kingdom of Amphitrite or The Discovery of America ?

January 17 2022

Image of The Kingdom of Amphitrite or The Discovery of America ?

Picture: Galleria Borghese

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For those readers who enjoy attempts to solve mysteries, the Italian art news website finestresullarte have published an extended piece (in Italian) on the potential meanings of the above painting by Jacopo Zucchi (1541-1596) in Rome Galleria Borghese. The work, dating to c.1585, was produced for Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici (Florence, 1549 - 1609) and has always raised debate about its potential subject and meaning. Scholars have flip-flopped between The Kingdom of Amphitrite, The Treasures of the Sea or even The Discovery of America. Several versions of the work survive, including one in the Borys Voznytsky National Gallery in Lviv and two others in private collections. Click on the link to read more.

Recent Release: Through Vincent's Eyes

January 17 2022

Image of Recent Release: Through Vincent's Eyes

Picture: Yale University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Yale University Press have published Eik Kahng's new book Through Vincent's Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources this month. The publication is intended to compliment an exhibition of the same name held at the Columbus Museum of Art (November 12, 2021–February 6, 2022) and Santa Barbara Museum of Art (February 27–May 22, 2022).

According to the publisher's blurb:

A revelatory resituation of Van Gogh’s familiar works in the company of the surprising variety of nineteenth-century art and literature he most revered.

Vincent van Gogh’s (1853–1890) idiosyncratic style grew out of a deep admiration for and connection to the nineteenth-century art world. This fresh look at Van Gogh’s influences explores the artist’s relationship to the Barbizon School painters Jean-François Millet and Georges Michel—Van Gogh’s self-proclaimed mentors—as well as to Realists like Jean-François Raffaëlli and Léon Lhermitte. New scholarship offers insights into Van Gogh’s emulation of Adolphe Monticelli, his absorption of the Hague School through Anton Mauve and Jozef Israëls, and his keen interest in the work of the Impressionists. This copiously illustrated volume also discusses Van Gogh’s allegiance to the colorism of Eugène Delacroix, as well as his alliance with the Realist literature of Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Although Van Gogh has often been portrayed as an insular and tortured savant, Through Vincent’s Eyes provides a fascinating deep dive into the artist’s sources of inspiration that reveals his expansive interest in the artistic culture of his time.

Web Conference: Rembrandt seen through Jewish Eyes

January 10 2022

Image of Web Conference: Rembrandt seen through Jewish Eyes

Picture: Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART have drawn attention to a web conference organised by the Jewish Museum in Moscow on the subject of Rembrandt Seen Through Jewish Eyes. The conference, with a keynote by Simon Scharma, will be spread across four dates between 24th January - 14th February 2022.

Topics included within the conference are:

Jews and Judaism in Rembrandt’s Own World

Spiritual Values that United and Divided Rembrandt and the Jews

Jews in the Art World and Rembrandt

Rembrandt in Russia

The sessions are free to attend, however, prior registration is required.

Apollo: Gainsborough's 'Vandycke' Portraits

January 6 2022

Image of Apollo: Gainsborough's 'Vandycke' Portraits

Picture: Apollo

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

January's edition of Apollo features an article on Thomas Gainsborough's 'Vandyck' portraits. The piece, penned by Juliet Carey, Senior Curator of Waddesdon Manor, anticipates the upcoming return of Gainsborough's Blue Boy. Furthermore, it has been revealed that Waddesdon Manor's Pink Boy is currently being cleaned before it appears in the exhibition.

One can't imagine the transformation this conservation will have on this brilliant painting:

New Release & Free Ebook: At Home in Renaissance Bruges

January 5 2022

Image of New Release & Free Ebook: At Home in Renaissance Bruges

Picture: Leuven University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Leuven University Press will be publishing Julie de Groot's new book At Home in Renaissance Bruges Connecting Objects, People and Domestic Spaces in a Sixteenth-Century City later this April. Amazingly, the scholarly publication will also be released as a free ebook.

According to the book's blurb:

How did citizens in Bruges create a home? What did an ordinary domestic interior look like in the sixteenth century? And more importantly: how does one study the domestic culture of bygone times by analysing documents such as probate inventories? These questions seem straightforward, yet few endeavours are more challenging than reconstructing a sixteenth-century domestic reality from written sources. This book takes full advantage of the inventory and convincingly frames household objects in their original context of use. Meticulously connecting objects, people and domestic spaces, the book introduces the reader to the rich material world of Bruges citizens in the Renaissance, their sensory engagement, their religious practice, the role of women, and other social factors. By weaving insights from material culture studies with urban history, At Home in Renaissance Bruges offers an appealing and holistic mixture of in-depth socio-economic, cultural and material analysis.

Burlington Magazine - Current Issue

January 4 2022

Image of Burlington Magazine - Current Issue

Picture: Burlington Magazine

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

January's edition of The Burlington Magazine focuses on Italian Baroque Art. As ever, the publication is full of interesting pieces of research alongside a free-to-read editorial and review of the exhibition By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women.

Here is a list of this month's contents:

Carlo Dolci’s Inscriptions 1 – Dolci’s signatures and prices in context BY RICHARD E. SPEAR

Carlo Dolci’s Inscriptions II – Diligence and devotion in Dolci’s ‘The Adoration of the Kings’ in the National Gallery, London BY LETIZIA TREVES

New light on the colossal statues on the façade of St Peter’s, Rome BY FERNANDO LOFFREDO

Caravaggio’s ‘Entombment of Christ’ and the birth of Christian archaeology BY SILVIA DANESI SQUARZINA

Edith Coulson James, Francesco Francia and ‘The Burlington Magazine’, 1911–17 BY MARIA ALAMBRITIS

The Italian Caravaggio, among others BY SHEILA MCTIGHE

New Release: The Sun King at Sea

January 3 2022

Image of New Release: The Sun King at Sea

Picture: Yale Books

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Yale Books have just this month released their latest title The Sun King at Sea - Maritime Art and Galley Slavery in Louis XIV's France by Meredith Martin and Gillian Weiss.

According to the book's blurb:

Mediterranean maritime art and the forced labor on which it depended were fundamental to the politics and propaganda of France's King Louis XIV (r. 1643-1715). Yet most studies of French art in this period focus on Paris and Versailles, overlooking the presence or portrayal of galley slaves on the kingdom's coasts. By examining a wide range of artistic productions-ship design, artillery sculpture, medals, paintings, and prints-Meredith Martin and Gillian Weiss uncover a vital aspect of royal representation and unsettle a standard picture of art and power in early modern France. With an abundant selection of startling images, many never before published, The Sun King at Sea emphasizes the role of esclaves turcs (enslaved Turks)-rowers who were captured or purchased from Islamic lands-in building and decorating ships and other art objects that circulated on land and by sea to glorify the Crown. Challenging the notion that human bondage vanished from continental France, this cross-disciplinary volume invites a reassessment of servitude as a visible condition, mode of representation, and symbol of sovereignty during Louis XIV's reign.

Rijksmuseum Upload 717-gigapixel Image of The Night Watch

January 3 2022

Image of Rijksmuseum Upload 717-gigapixel Image of The Night Watch

Picture: Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam have uploaded a 717-gigapixel image of Rembrandt's The Night Watch onto their website. The digital image, which allows you to zoom in with unbelievable depth, is four times sharper than the picture uploaded last year and is absolutely free to use.

'A Photo Archive Changed my Life'

December 31 2021

Image of 'A Photo Archive Changed my Life'

Picture: PMC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Bendor has written a short piece for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art on how a photo archive changed his life. In short, the article celebrates how important photo archives are for art history and connoisseurship in general. Brilliant resources such as the recently published online Paul Mellon Centre Photo Archive makes the process of research easier than ever before.


Indeed, instead of shedding tears of frustration into the stacks and boxes often held within London basements, we can now do so from the comfort of our own armchairs at home. Is this progress? I think so.

Recent Release: Thomas Robins and the Art of the Georgian Garden

December 30 2021

Image of Recent Release: Thomas Robins and the Art of the Georgian Garden

Picture: Stephen Morris

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a recent release that I missed a month ago. Cathryn Spence's latest book entitled Nature’s Favourite Child: Thomas Robins and the Art of the Georgian Garden has recently been released by Stephen Morris.

According to the blurb published by

Thomas Robins the Elder (1716-1770) recorded the country estates of the Georgian gentry – their orchards, Rococo gardens and potagers – like no other, with both topographical accuracy and delightful artistry, often bordering his gouaches with entrancing tendrils, shells, leaves and birds. His skill was honed by the delicacy required for his early career as a fan painter and is shown too in his exquisite paintings of butterflies, flowers and birds. This ravishing and scholarly study emerges from many years’ research by Dr Cathryn Spence, the curator and archivist at Bowood House who has also worked for the V&A, the American Museum, the Bath Preservation Trust and the National Trust. This is the first full study of Thomas Robins since John Harris’s Gardens of Delight, published in 2 vols in 1978; Harris in fact made over all his research notes to Spence in 2005 when she embarked on her work. Chinoiserie is everywhere – a wooden bridge over the Thames, delicious kiosks in a garden, a view of Bath with sampans and Chinese fishermen on the river. There are also fascinating views of Sudeley Castle and other great houses that incorporated more or less ruined monastic structures, destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Spence has tracked down many previously unknown paintings by Robins, and sets his elusive life and work in the framework of his patrons.

Recent Release: Rembrandt, Vermeer, and the Gift in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art

December 27 2021

Image of Recent Release: Rembrandt, Vermeer, and the Gift in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art

Picture: Amsterdam University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Since it is the time of gift-giving, here's a recent release from the Amsterdam University Press that I missed earlier in the Autumn. Rembrandt, Vermeer, and the Gift in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art is the latest book by Michael Zell.

According to the blurb:

Rembrandt, Vermeer, and the Gift in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art offers a new perspective on the art of the Dutch Golden Age by exploring the interaction between the gift's symbolic economy of reciprocity and obligation and the artistic culture of early modern Holland. Gifts of art were pervasive in seventeenth-century Europe, and many Dutch artists, like their counterparts elsewhere, embraced gift giving to cultivate relations with patrons, art lovers, and other members of their social networks. Rembrandt also created distinctive works to function within a context of gift exchange, and both Rembrandt and Vermeer engaged the ethics of the gift to identify their creative labor as motivated by what contemporaries called a "love of art," not materialistic gain. In the merchant republic’s vibrant market for art, networks of gift relations and the anti-economic rhetoric of the gift mingled with the growing dimension of commerce, revealing a unique chapter in the interconnected history of gift giving and art making.

New Release: Pre-Raphaelites in the Spirit World

December 24 2021

Image of New Release: Pre-Raphaelites in the Spirit World

Picture: Peter Lang

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a curious new release for December 2021. Peter Lang have just published a scholarly book entitled Pre-Raphaelites in the Spirit World. In particular, the edition focuses on a séance diary kept by William Michael Rossetti, one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood.

According to the blurb:

William Michael Rossetti’s séance diary is a remarkable document in both the history of Pre-Raphaelitism and nineteenth-century spiritualism. In this previously unpublished manuscript, Rossetti meticulously recorded twenty séances between 1865 and 1868. The original motive was the death, in 1862, of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wife, Elizabeth Siddal. He felt a profound sense of guilt about her and began these séances to reassure himself that she was happy in the afterlife. Messages came from many spirits within the Pre-Raphaelite circle and provide an unprecedented record of spiritualist activity in the late nineteenth century. Questions and answers fill the pages of the diary, many of them communicating uncannily accurate information or details that could be known only to the participants.


As it happens, I accidentally rediscovered some transcripts of Victorian séances while researching for my PhD (click the link to watch a short video if you'd like to hear more about that). The short stories of M.R. James have proved that Christmas and Ghost Stories really do go together.

Symposium for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting - March 2022

December 23 2021

Image of Symposium for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting - March 2022


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (Curators Network for Dutch and Flemish Art) have drawn attention to the upcoming Symposium for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting held in Bruges in March 2022.

According to the website:

The theme of next year’s symposium is ‘Alla Maniera: technical art history and the meaning of style in fifteenth to seventeenth century painting’. The symposium focuses on how technical research can provide additional insights or challenges concerning the style of an individual painter, a workshop or a group of painters. Stylistic similarities might indicate cultural, social, geographical or chronological connections in paintings, drawings, prints, applied arts, etc. as well as across artistic media.

The symposium will be held in the English language.

2022 Release: Sebastiano and Michelangelo

December 15 2021

Image of 2022 Release: Sebastiano and Michelangelo


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an upcoming release that will surely be interesting. Following on from the National Gallery's 2017 exhibition on Michelangelo and Sebastiano del Piombo, curator Matthias Wivel has edited a collection of essays reflecting on the themes of the show. The edition will be published by Brepols in January 2022.

Here is a list of the essays that will be included:

Matthias Wivel — The Compass and the Mirror 

Elena Calvillo — Friendship, Medium and the Diverging Lives of Sebastiano del Piombo and Michelangelo   

Piers Baker-Bates — Copies and Versions in Sebastiano’s Art? The Christ Carrying the Cross 

Sheryl E. Reiss — A Word Portrait of a Medici Maecenas: Giulio de’ Medici (Pope Clement VII) as Patron of Art 

Arnold Nesselrath — Raphael: Of Heirs and Pretenders 

Matthias Wivel and Rachel Billinge — Sebastiano’s Vich Triptych 

Carlo Piga — Da Michelangelo a Sebastiano: antiche suggestioni e moderne invenzioni nel ciclo decorativo della Cappella Borgherini in San Pietro in Montorio a Roma 

Stefania Pasti — Aperietur in tempore: Sebastiano del Piombo and the Borgherini Chapel in the Light of Prophetic Readings 

Paul Joannides — A New Drawing by Sebastiano del Piombo for the Semi-Dome of the Borgherini Chapel 

Costanza Barbieri — Sebastiano as Portraitist and a Case Study: The Portrait of Michelangelo Pointing at His Drawings 

Oriana Sartiani — A Portrait of Michelangelo Attributed to Sebastiano del Piombo: Technical Examination, Discoveries, and Treatment 

Simonetta Antellini — L’originalità compositiva della Nascita della Vergine di Sebastiano del Piombo 

Daniela Luzi — ‘Il bel secreto’: La pittura sperimentale sulla pietra di Sebastiano nella Cappella Chigi 

Morten Steen Hansen — The Readings of Angels: Sebastiano del Piombo and the Politics of the Immaculate Conception 

Andrea Donati — Marcello Venusti, Michelangelo and the Legacy of Sebastiano del Piombo 

Charles Robertson — Michelangelo’s Last Judgement: Sebastiano del Piombo’s Contribution

Latest Edition: Jordaens Van Dyck Journal

December 13 2021

Image of Latest Edition: Jordaens Van Dyck Journal

Picture: JVDPPP

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Jordaens Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project (JVDPPP) have published the latest edition of their journal for free online. As you'll see, this particular edition is filled with some fascinating new research by the group including several discoveries.

Here are the contents:

Ingrid Moortgat: Close family and guild ties: the Gabron dynasty of panel makers in seventeenth-century Antwerp

Justin Davies: Van Dyck’s use of panels made by the Gabron family: occurrences and new findings

Joost Vander Auwera: The 1660–1661 Antwerp court case about a series of Van Dyck’s Apostles: two new documents and some reflections on the course of justice and the potential for new discoveries

Joost Vander Auwera: The 1660–1661 court case on the Apostles series by Van Dyck: A Who’s Who of the Antwerp artistic scene in the post-Rubens and post-Van Dyck era

Andrea Seim: The Remigius van Leemput series in the Royal Collection: its importance for dating small panels

Justin Davies: The impact of JVDPPP’s dendrochronological findings for the dating and attribution of the small panels related to Van Dyck’s Iconography

Justin Davies: Anthony Van Dyck, his panels and panel makers: identifications and patterns

Joost Vander Auwera: Jordaens’s re-use and enlargement of panels in light of the studio practices and art theory of his day: the example of The Adoration of the Shepherds in Bristol

Justin Davies: The Adoration of the Shepherds: now found to have hung in Jordaens’s house in Antwerp

Alexis Merle du Bourg & Rafaella Besta: Reflections on the history of Van Dyck’s “Böhler Apostles”

Joost Vander Auwera: An Old Woman in the Fitzwilliam Museum: Jordaens not Van Dyck

Lead White to help Date Dutch Paintings?

December 13 2021

Image of Lead White to help Date Dutch Paintings?

Picture: Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For those who love the scientific geekery of art history, then here's another interesting article which has appeared this month. The journal Science Advances have just published an article penned by Paolo D’Imporzano, Katrien Keune,  Janne M. Koornneef, Erma Hermens, Petria Noble, A. L. S. Vandivere and Gareth R. Davies entitled Time-dependent variation of lead isotopes of lead white in 17th century Dutch paintings.

Here's the abstract:

This study investigates how lead isotopes in lead white pigment can be used as an additional diagnostic tool to constrain the production time of 17th century Dutch paintings. Analysis of 77 well-dated paintings from 27 different Dutch artists reveal significant change in the source of lead used in lead white at the start, middle, and end of the 17th century. Isotopic shifts are related to major historical and socioeconomical events such as the English Civil War and Anglo-Dutch-French conflicts. These observations offer the prospect that lead isotope analysis of lead white could aid attribution and authentication of Dutch 17th century paintings and provide insights into artists’ international travels as well as lead production and trading.

New Release: Rembrandt's Hundred Guilder Print

December 6 2021

Image of New Release: Rembrandt's Hundred Guilder Print

Picture: Lund Humphries

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Lund Humphries will be releasing Amy Golahny's latest book later this month entitled Rembrandt's Hundred Guilder Print: His Master Etching.

According to the book's blurb:

Always recognised as a master print from the moment of its appearance around 1649, the Hundred Guilder Print is one of Rembrandt's most compositionally complex and visually beautiful works. 

This book gives a full overview of the fascinating story surrounding this print, from its genesis and market value to attitudes towards it in the present day. Focusing on the tradition of printmaking as well as the reception of the print in Rembrandt's time, Golahny explores the ways the artist made visual references to the work of such masters as Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci, while uniquely combining aspects of Christ's ministry.

CFP: Fat Bodies in the Early Modern World

December 6 2021

Image of CFP: Fat Bodies in the Early Modern World

Picture: @hrfletcher_

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting summer conference which is taking shape for Summer 2022. A group of scholars from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester and the Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, are putting together a conference on Fat Bodies in the Early Modern World. A call for papers has been published with lots of possibilities for art historians too it seems.

According to the CFP:

In the emerging field of Fat Studies, historical overviews about the perception and  representation of fat and dieting tend to focus on the 19th and 21st centuries. An early exception was Elena Levy-Navarro’s The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late  Modernity (2008) which sought to situate the beginnings of ‘modern’ fat hatred in the early modern period. Inspired by Mikhail Bakthin and Norbert Elias, Levy-Navarro  argued that the premodern period was a ‘time before fat’, as she suggested it was only with the development of a ‘civilized elite’ that the individualized, self-contained body  could be ‘violated by fat flesh’.

More recent studies, however, such as Georges Vigarello’s Les  métamorphoses du gras. Histoire de l’obésité du Moyen Âge au  XXe siècle (2010) or Christopher E. Forth’s Fat. A Cultural  History of the Stuff of life (2019) have demonstrated that the slim silhouette could already be an ideal for European elites in the Medieval period and that the fat body could be viewed as socially  inferior from Roman Antiquity onwards. Moreover, scholars such as Michael Stolberg and Maria-Carla Gadebusch Bondio, have shown how physicians’ advice manuals containing instructions on how to avoid fatness were printed as early as the 1480s, and that the treatment of obesity became part of the university medical curriculum in the later sixteenth century.

Abstracts should be submitted by 15th January 2022.

Rubens and His Global Enterprise

December 3 2021

Video: Getty Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a video I'll be trying to catch up with later (after I go and view some of the London OMP sales this afternoon). The Getty Museum have published this online lecture by curator Stephanie Schrader on Peter Paul Rubens and His Global Enterprise.

According to the blurb:

The 17th-century Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens worked in Antwerp, a bustling center of global trade where various cultures came into contact. To understand how this impacted his work, curator Stephanie Schrader investigates two of his drawings in the Getty Museum’s collection: Man in Korean Costume and Head Study for Balthazar. Both artworks provide important examples of the various misunderstandings that arose when Rubens depicted people of African and Korean descent. By viewing these works from religious, mercantile, and political perspectives, Schrader provides a nuanced examination of appropriation and cultural translation.

New Release: François Boucher and the Art of Collecting

December 1 2021

Image of New Release: François Boucher and the Art of Collecting

Picture: Routledge

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting new release that I missed last month. Routledge have recently published a book entitled François Boucher and the Art of Collecting in Eighteenth-Century France by Jessica Priebe from the Department of Art History and Theory at the National Art School, Australia.

According to the blurb:

While earlier studies have focused predominantly on artist François Boucher’s artistic style and identity, this book presents the first full-length interdisciplinary study of Boucher’s prolific collection of around 13,500 objects including paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, porcelain, shells, minerals, and other imported curios. 

It discusses the types of objects he collected, the networks through which he acquired them, and their spectacular display in his custom-designed studio at the Louvre, where he lived and worked for nearly two decades. This book explores the role his collection played in the development of his art, his studio, his friendships, and the burgeoning market for luxury goods in mid-eighteenth-century France. In doing so, it sheds new light on the relationship between Boucher’s artistic and collecting practices, which attracted both praise and criticism from period observers.

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