Category: Research

AI Recreates Destroyed Velázquez

April 23 2024

Image of AI Recreates Destroyed Velázquez

Picture: El Pais

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting story which I failed to spot earlier on this month. A project, undertaken by the artist Fernando Sánchez Castillo, has recreated Velázquez's Expulsion of the Moriscos which was destroyed by a fire in 1734. Essentially, detailed descriptions were used, alongside a rediscovered sketch, to build up the image produced on the right.

According to the article linked above:

Armed with Palomino’s text and the preliminary sketch that Velázquez would use as a starting point for his larger painting, Sánchez turned next to Paula García, a student at the Complutense University of Madrid who wrote her thesis on AI applied to contemporary sculpture. Using a blend of history and technology, the two spent over 100 hours reconstructing Velázquez’s Expulsion of the Moriscos. They say 80% of the result is derived from artistic creations and 20% is due to AI. “People always have this natural suspicion about artificial intelligence,” said Sánchez.


Well, from what I can see the image does look a bit stiff and odd! However, I suppose it's a good start of sorts.

Upcoming Release: Gesina ter Borch

April 22 2024

Image of Upcoming Release: Gesina ter Borch


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Lund Humphries will be publishing a new book by MET curator Adam Eaker on the seventeenth century artist Gesina ter Borch in October 2024. The publication claims to be the first major biographical, in any language, on the artist.

According to the blurb:

Gesina ter Borch (1631-1690) was a Dutch watercolourist and draughtswoman whose work survives primarily in the form of three albums of watercolours and calligraphy, now held at the Rijksmuseum. Despite the fact that her oeuvre is securely attributed and thoroughly catalogued, Ter Borch has surprisingly never been the subject of a dedicated monograph, until now. For the first time, this book highlights Ter Borch’s watercolours and calligraphy in their own right, as well as her work as an art teacher, an archivist, and an artist’s model, and questions a historiography of women’s art that frequently values oil painting over other media, and work for the market over 'amateur' production.

Adam Eaker revisits Gesina ter Borch’s role in the genesis of Dutch 'high-life' genre painting and its construction of gender and social class, comparing her art with that of her brother Gerard, and in so doing allows for a more nuanced understanding of the ideologies and achievements of Dutch genre painting.

The book will be released on 15th October 2024 and is available for pre-order.

Free MET Talk on Mistakes, Fakes, and Second Takes

April 18 2024

Image of Free MET Talk on Mistakes, Fakes, and Second Takes

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

In case any readers in the US are looking for something to do in New York tomorrow evening, the Metropolitan Museum of Art are hosting a free talk with the fascinating title The Michael and Juliet Rubenstein Lectures on Connoisseurship—Drawing Connoisseurship from the Art Market to the British Museum: Mistakes, Fakes, and Second Takes.

According to the museum's website:

In the second Michael and Juliet Rubenstein Lecture on Connoisseurship, Hugo Chapman [Simon Sainsbury Keeper of Prints and Drawings, The British Museum] discusses how he fell under the spell of Raphael's drawings as a student, the ups and downs of working in an auction house, and the challenges of putting a name to every Italian drawing in the British Museum when the collection was digitized. Learn how connoisseurship has become a more collaborative exercise and how close looking can still yield surprising discoveries.

The talk will take place tomorrow (19th April 2024) between 6pm - 7pm local time.

Free Turner Lecture

April 17 2024

Image of Free Turner Lecture

Picture: Paul Mellon Centre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Paul Mellon Centre and the Turner Society are hosting a free lecture later this month on the subject of The City “Anchored in the Deep Ocean” Dickens, Turner and Venice

Here's a summary of the talk which will be presented by Professor Malcolm Andrews:

This lecture argues for affinities between Dickens’ prose evocation of Venice and Turner’s oils and watercolours of the city. In 1844, writing from there to a friend, Dickens confided that “I never saw the thing before that I should be afraid to describe. But to tell what Venice is, I feel to be an impossibility”. The same letter also invoked the Venetian paintings of Canaletto, Stanfield and Turner. Accordingly, in composing his Pictures from Italy (1846) Dickens gave a separate chapter to Venice, titled “An Italian Dream”, which shows a radical stylistic rupture from the broadly conventional travel narrative in the rest of the book.

New Release: Sofonisba Anguissola

April 5 2024

Image of New Release: Sofonisba Anguissola

Picture: Getty Publications

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Getty Publications have just released a new monograph on Sofonisba Anguissola. The publication is written by Cecilia Gamberini, an independent scholar who has focused a lot on the artist's work at the Spanish court.

According to the blurb on the website:

Sofonisba Anguissola (ca. 1532–1625), an Italian Renaissance painter born in Cremona to a relatively poor noble family, was one of the first women artists to establish an international reputation during her lifetime. This stunningly illustrated monograph explores the evolution of Anguissola’s art from her youth in Cremona through her service as a lady-in-waiting to the Spanish queen Elisabeth of Valois to her later years as a married woman in Sicily and Genoa. Alongside discussions of Anguissola and her work, author Cecilia Gamberini offers a tantalizing exploration of Renaissance court life, detailing how the circles of influence and power operated.

This volume highlights the social, political, and cultural preconditions surrounding Anguissola’s role in the court of King Philip II of Spain and her ascent to becoming an internationally acclaimed painter. Gamberini draws on archival documentation, as well as her own original research, to shine a new light on Anguissola’s life, career, and work in this tribute to a truly groundbreaking artist.

Trinity College Dublin are Hiring!

April 3 2024

Image of Trinity College Dublin are Hiring!

Picture: National Gallery of Ireland

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Trinity College Dublin at the University of Dublin are hiring an Associate Professor in History of Renaissance Art.

According to the job description:

The School of Histories and Humanities at Trinity College Dublin seeks to appoint an Associate Professor in the History of Renaissance Art, based in the Department of History of Art and Architecture. Candidates can have expertise in any area of Renaissance art and must demonstrate an ability to incorporate collections in Ireland in their teaching and research. It is also desirable that candidates should have experience of working with museum collections.

The primary purpose of this post is to contribute to teaching and research in history of art and to administrative activities in the Department and School. The successful applicant will have a proven record of research and publication in the History of Renaissance Art commensurate to the role and will be expected to contribute to both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in this field and to interdisciplinary curricular teaching, supervision, and mentoring.

The job comes with an annual salary of between €85,675 and €110,635 and applications must be in by 10th April 2024.

Good luck if you're applying!

Study Prints at The British Library!

April 3 2024

Image of Study Prints at The British Library!

Picture: The British Library

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Birkbeck, University of London, and the British Library are advertising a fully-funded PhD Studentship on RE-EVALUATING THE STATUS OF PRINTS AT THE BRITISH LIBRARY.

According to the description on their website:

The focus of this project is on identifying, researching and analysing the provenance, changing status and visibility of about 500 books of prints in the British Library’s collection, using an 1812 unpublished finding list as a starting point.

This project will be jointly supervised by Kate Retford at Birkbeck (Professor of History of Art, School of Historical Studies) and Felicity Myrone at the British Library (Lead Curator, Western Prints and Drawings). The student will spend time with both Birkbeck and the British Library and will become part of the wider cohort of AHRC CDP funded PhD students across the UK.  

The studentship comes with the National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for the academic year 2024/25, which is £19,237 per annum, plus an additional £2,000 and £550 per year due to London weighting and CDP maintenance payments respectively. Applications must be in by 29th April 2024.

Good luck if you're applying!

British Art for the April Burlington Magazine

April 2 2024

Image of British Art for the April Burlington Magazine


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

April's edition of the Burlington is dedicated to British Art, and appears to contain the usual very interesting selection of research and discoveries (including the Hilliard pictured above!).

A list of the articles featured in this edition:

A newly discovered cabinet miniature by Nicholas Hilliard - BY ELIZABETH GOLDRING,EMMA RUTHERFORD

Phillipo: an Ottoman merchant painted by George Stubbs - BY THEODORE MOULD

A portrait by Richard Westall of the poet Eleanor Porden - BY BARBARA BRYANT

The decoration of the ballroom wing at Buckingham Palace, 1850–56 - BY PETER T.J. RUMLEY

Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Martha Carr - BY FÁTIMA BETHENCOURT PÉREZ,ERNEST KOWALCZYK

Show me the Wilkies, says Catalogue Raisonné writer to Tate

April 2 2024

Image of Show me the Wilkies, says Catalogue Raisonné writer to Tate

Picture: Tate

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Telegraph have published an article on the plea of a scholar to be allowed more generous and timely access to paintings at Tate Britain in order to complete a catalogue raisonné project. Alex Kidson, the compiler of the Paul Mellon Centre's catalogue on George Romney, has been completing a catalogue raisonné on the Scottish Artist David Wilkie (1785–1841), a project begun by the late Hamish Miles (d. 2017). The article focuses on Kidson's requests to see many Wilkie kept in storage at Tate Britain, which has been a gargantuan task.

According to the piece:

“I haven’t succeeded in seeing the Wilkie paintings”, Mr Kidson said. “The Tate says, ‘You can go on a Tuesday morning for one hour and you’re limited to looking at five works’. If the next visit is full up, you have to wait until there’s a free spot. That’s usually about six or seven weeks ahead.

“The last time I tried they said they can make three of these works available, but a further one was not allowed to be seen at all. They didn’t say why not. I originally approached them to see these Wilkies in late November. I returned the application form on Dec 1 and in response to that was offered Feb 3. ‘The public own these works’

“That’s waiting months. I took that spot and then found I couldn’t attend for personal reasons. They said, the next available date is mid-April, but that was too late for my deadlines.”

He added: “The situation is ridiculous because the public own these works. The Tate is playing God with them.”

The piece includes quotes from other curators and scholars who are calling on Tate to be more helpful, alongside the long-standing calls for more works to be loaned out to museums where they can be placed on view. Click on the link above to read more.

New Release: The Art of Naval Portraiture

March 29 2024

Image of New Release: The Art of Naval Portraiture


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Royal Museums Greenwich have just released a new book entitled The Art of Naval Portraiture. This publication was written by Katherine Gazzard, one of the museum's curators.

According to the book's blurb:

From elite officers to ordinary sailors, the portrayal of naval personnel has been a significant branch of British art for over 500 years. The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich holds the largest collection of naval portraits in the world, including over 600 paintings and many more prints and drawings, spanning from the sixteenth century to the present day.

These portraits reveal how the Royal Navy was viewed at different moments in history and grant us access to individual stories, revealing the concerns and aspirations of people and families caught up in naval affairs. Many are also innovative and important works of art. For centuries, naval portraits have forged, reinforced and challenged ideas of gender, heroism and loyalty. They have functioned as icons of empire, demonstrations of professionalism and personal mementos for loved ones.

While charting the historical evolution of the Royal Navy’s image and explaining the meaning of common naval symbols – from anchors, cannons and swords to uniforms, medals and badges, this book also tells the stories of specific artists, sitters and collectors, and of the places where portraits were made and displayed, from private homes to public exhibitions and ultimately the museum itself.

Bendor on Rembrandt

March 28 2024

Image of Bendor on Rembrandt

Picture: The Art Newspaper

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Bendor's latest piece for The Art Newspaper focuses on the question of 'Who will rule Rembrandtland? Behind the search for an authority on the Old Master'. The text examines the scholarly and authoritative gap left after the passing of Ernst van der Wetering, alongside some of the claims of an attributional 'Wild West' published in the Dutch news outlet NRC earlier this year.

New Release: Giants and Dwarfs in European Art and Culture

March 28 2024

Image of New Release: Giants and Dwarfs in European Art and Culture

Picture: Amsterdam University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Amsterdam University Press released the following publication earlier this month (one that we've all been waiting for, I think). Giants and Dwarfs in European Art and Culture, ca. 1350-1750: Real, Imagined, Metaphorical was edited by Robin O'Bryan and Felicia Else and contains no less than 392 pages on the subject.

According to the website blurb:

Not since Edward Wood’s Giants and Dwarfs published in 1868 has the subject been the focus of a scholarly study in English. Treating the topic afresh, this volume offers new insights into the vogue for giants and dwarfs that flourished in late-medieval and early modern Europe. From chapters dealing with the real dwarfs and giants in the royal and princely courts, to the imaginary giants and dwarfs that figured in the crafting of nationalistic and ancestral traditions, to giants and dwarfs used as metaphorical expression, scholars discuss their role in art, literature, and ephemeral display. Some essays examine giants and dwarfs as monsters and marvels and collectibles, while others show artists and writers emphasizing contrasts in scale to inspire awe or for comic effect. As these investigations reveal, not all court dwarfs functioned as jesters, and giant figures might equally be used to represent heroes, anti-heroes, and even a saint.

Update - A reader has also alerted me to the recent release of another book on dwarfs, entitled Körperwunder Kleinwuchs: Wahrnehmungen, Deutungen und Darstellungen kleinwüchsiger Menschen und die ›Zwergmode‹ in der Frühen Neuzeit.

MET Hires Head of Provenance Research

March 25 2024

Video: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have announced that they have hired Lucian Simmons for a newly created role as Head of Provenance Research. Lucian has been the worldwide head of restitution at Sotheby's for a great deal of time, having started at the company back in 1997.

According to the article linked above:

In a telephone interview, Max Hollein, the museum’s director and chief executive, said the volume of materials an auction house must review gave Simmons the background necessary to take on a review of the Met’s encyclopedic collection.

“He has a vast amount of experience understanding the level of research you need to apply and what timelines you need to set to get to a result,” Hollein said. “He probably had to deal with more issues at Sotheby’s than have many other institutions. You have to vet and scrutinize a huge number of objects. He’s someone who understands the theory but who also has a very practical attitude.”

Here's a video of Lucian describing a painting by Fernand Léger back in 2020.

Liverpool Museums asks for Clues for Unidentified Portrait

March 22 2024

Image of Liverpool Museums asks for Clues for Unidentified Portrait

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Liverpool Museums are appealing to the public, and presumably researchers and experts too, for clues and information as to the identity of this intriguing and unidentified portrait. The painting, undertaken by William Lindsay Windus in 1844, has a rather intriguing folkloric tale attached to it:

In 1891, nearly 50 years after the painting was created, a listing in a catalogue claimed the boy was a stowaway whom Windus had met on the steps of the Monument hotel in Liverpool. According to this narrative, Windus took pity on the boy’s condition, employed him as an errand boy and sent his portrait off to a frame-maker’s shop. Serendipitously, a passing sailor spotted it, realised the child was his missing relative – and reunited the boy with his parents.

This charitable tale, with its unlikely happy ending, would have made the portrait more appealing to wealthy Victorian art buyers.

“It’s a wonderful story, but I’m quite sceptical,” said [Kate] Haselden. “This child may have been a native Liverpudlian. Black people have been living in Liverpool since at least the 1730s.”

Click on the link above to read more.

Recent Release: Portraits du Maître de Dinteville

March 19 2024

Image of Recent Release: Portraits du Maître de Dinteville


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I failed to mention the publication of this interesting volume at the end of last year. Portraits du Maître de Dinteville is a new scholarly book by Camille Larraz and Rafaël Villa which focuses in on this sixteenth century master usually identified as the artist Bartholomeus Pons. Active in both Troyes and Auxerre between the years 1535 and 1541, this publication aims to draw attention to known and previously unpublished works given to the artist and places him alongside some of his close contemporaries.

Leemput's Copy of Van Dyck's Pembroke Family Reidentified

March 19 2024

Image of Leemput's Copy of Van Dyck's Pembroke Family Reidentified

Picture: State Hermitage Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The art historian James Innes-Mulraine has published a very interesting blog about a nifty piece of research into the Van Dyck and Lely copyist Remigius van Leemput (1607-1675). In particular, the piece focuses on what happened to Leemput's copy of Van Dyck's enormous group portrait of the family of the Earl of Pembroke, preserved today at Wilton House. Through an excellent piece of sleuthing and provenance research, with the assistance of the pastels art historian Neil Jeffares, both Neil and James have rather convincingly reidentified the following painting in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia, as almost certainly being Leemput's painting. Click on the link above to read more. 

Attribution! The Old Master Drawings Board Game

March 19 2024

Image of Attribution! The Old Master Drawings Board Game


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some terribly exciting news to report (spotted via @alexandrelafore) that the old master drawings website Trois Crayons are releasing a board game in the very near future. Entitled Attribution! The Old Master Drawings Board Game, this really does look like the perfect birthday or Christmas present we've all been waiting for.

There will be a launch later this week, so stayed tuned for further details.

Spend day with Conservators and Curators at Apsley House

March 18 2024

Image of Spend day with Conservators and Curators at Apsley House


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apsley House in London are running an interesting day-long event in April with their conservation and curatorial team. Attendees will be seemingly able to listen to various talks on recent conservation projects and curatorial research related to the house and its historic collection of art.

The day will be held 19th April 2024 and is free for English Heritage members.

Chirk Castle Servant Portrait

March 14 2024

Image of Chirk Castle Servant Portrait

Picture: The National Trust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Trust published a press release last week regarding a conservation and research project into a rare portrait at Chirk Castle. The painting depicts a former servant at the castle, John Wilton (c.1691-1751), who suffered from physical disabilities.

According to the trust's website:

John Chu, National Trust Senior Curator for Paintings and Sculpture explains: “We don’t know why Sir Richard Myddelton specifically gave John Wilton a home at the castle and why his cousin commissioned such a large portrait of him. The rarity of examples of full-length portraits of servants means we don’t know for sure how they were regarded at the time.

“While John Wilton is being celebrated as an individual, the gold inscription describing him as the ‘glory’ or ‘pride’ of the kitchen is in Latin. If there's a play on high and low forms of art and stations in life here, how fully could he have been in on the joke in this learned language?

"However, historic portraits typically record a relationship between at least three people; the artist, the sitter and the person who commissioned it. While this picture was painted for Robert Myddelton, a man of very high status, this is also an artistic document of one working man's encounter with another. We're seeing Wilton through Whitmore's eyes: and in that respect it provides an incredibly rare if not unique insight."

Click on the link to read more about this very intriguing work of art.

Free Talk: Cosmetics, Beauty and the Nature of Renaissance Women

March 13 2024

Image of Free Talk: Cosmetics, Beauty and the Nature of Renaissance Women

Picture: Detroit Institute of Arts

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Paul Mellon Centre are hosting a free talk next week on the subject of Cosmetics, Beauty and the Nature of Renaissance Women. The lecture will be presented by Professor Jill Burke and will be available online and in-person.

According to the blurb on the website:

In Caravaggio’s Martha and Mary (Detroit Institute of Arts, ca.1598), Mary’s vice-filled life is represented by a comb and cosmetic jar, set out on the table in front of her, as her sister Martha attempts to convert her to the virtuous path. The painting serves as a metaphor of the period’s starkly opposing attitudes to adornment of the female face and body. In 1575, the women of Cesena argued that if they were forbidden to beautify themselves, they might be forced to “wave goodbye to [their] families and break the chains of female servitude”. Other texts condemn women for their perceived love of clothing, cosmetics and jewellery – written both by early feminists such as Laura Cereta and by misogynistic churchmen who saw vanity as a particularly feminine sin. Men who used cosmetics were even more a focus for social disapprobation, decried for unaccountably behaving “like women”, the sex believed by many to be inferior in both physicality and intellect.

The relationship between cosmetic adornment and gender, between artifice and nature, is culturally and historically contingent. Focusing particularly on sources written and made by Italian Renaissance women, this talk will consider how this period was a flashpoint for discussions about gender and bodily ornamentation. Encompassing a wide range of objects, images and texts from “ladies at their toilet” paintings to witch trial narratives, it will also explore why this may be, showing how even seemingly intimate choices – body hair removal, skin treatments, hair dye – were bound up with larger social and cultural forces in an age of burgeoning colonialism, scientific experimentation, religious division and social turmoil.

The talk has been scheduled for 20th March 2024 between 5pm - 7pm (GMT).

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