Category: Research

Dieric Bouts - Creator of Images

October 20 2023

Image of Dieric Bouts - Creator of Images


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This autumn the M Leuven are celebrating the creative genius of the early Netherlandish artist Dieric Bouts (c.1415–1475). This is being marked by both an exhibition and a new publication on the artist (pictured) as part of the 'New Horizons | Dieric Bouts Festival'.

According to the museum's website:

The concept of this exhibition is definitely radical: we are not allowed to look at Bouts as an artist. The image we have today of the artiste peintre did not exist in the 15th century. Dieric Bouts was not a romantic genius or brilliant inventor, he was an image-maker. He painted what was expected of him and excelled at it, just think about master pieces such as ‘The Last Supper’ and ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus’. That is why it makes sense to confront him with today's image-makers of sports photographers, filmmakers and game developers. M places them side-by-side with the old master.

The exhibition opened today and will close on 14th January 2024.

Free Lecture: Women, Water, and Materiality in the Early Modern Genoese Garden

October 19 2023

Image of Free Lecture: Women, Water, and Materiality in the Early Modern Genoese Garden


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Lovers of Rubens' and Van Dyck's Italian period might find the following free lecture of great interest. In a few days time the Warburg Institute in London will be hosting a free online lecture on A Material World - 'Women, Water, and Materiality in the Early Modern Genoese Garden', which is presented by Ana Howie of Cornell University.

According to the talk's blurb:

Early Modern Genoa was renowned for its pleasure gardens, filled with fountains, scherzi d’acqua, artificial lakes, and grottoes, which celebrated the wonders of water. In the early seventeenth century, Flemish painters Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck sojourned in the wealthy port city and painted magnificent portraits of the city’s noblewomen embedded in garden settings. In these portraits, water splashes across the canvas and threatens to soak their sitters and beholders; this lifelike substance is at once erotic, affective, visionary, and poetic. This paper investigates the aesthetics of water in Rubens’ and van Dyck’s portraits to uncover the plurality of meanings that water, in all its forms, held for an elite Genoese audience. 

The free talk will be held online on 23rd October 2024, although booking is essential.


Although I am by no means an expert in this area, fountains appear constantly in and around Van Dyck's English period too (1) (2), and it taken on later by Sir Peter Lely also (1). A most interesting topic, it seems.

Ancient Acheulean handaxe Identified in Melun Diptych

October 19 2023

Image of Ancient Acheulean handaxe Identified in Melun Diptych


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I recently came across an article promoting this fascinating research paper that was published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal earlier this summer. The article by Alastair Key, James Clark, Jeremy DeSilva and Steven Kangas discusses their identification of an ancient Acheulean handaxe in Jean Fouquet's Melun Diptych in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.

Here's the paper's abstract:

Handaxes have a uniquely prominent role in the history of Palaeolithic archaeology, and their early study provides crucial information concerning the epistemology of the field. We have little conclusive evidence, however, of their investigation or societal value prior to the mid seventeenth century. Here we investigate the shape, colour and potential flake scarring on a handaxe-like stone object seen in the Melun Diptych, painted by the French fifteenth-century artist Jean Fouquet, and compare its features with artefacts from diverse (including French) Acheulean handaxe assemblages. Commissioned by a high-status individual, Étienne Chevalier, Fouquet's work (Étienne Chevalier with Saint Stephen) depicts an important religious context, while the handaxe-like object points to the stoning to death of an important Christian saint. Our results strongly support the interpretation that the painted stone object represents a flint Acheulean handaxe, likely sourced from northern France, where Fouquet lived. Identifying a fifteenth-century painting of a handaxe does not change what we know about Acheulean individuals, but it does push back the evidence for when handaxes became a prominent part of the ‘modern’ social and cultural world.

The article is free to read via the link above.

Conference: Women in Art and Music

October 18 2023

Image of Conference: Women in Art and Music


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news that in two days time a conference will be taking place on the subject of Women in Art and Music: An Early Modern Global Conference. The two-day conference will be held on Friday 20th October 2024 at The Julliard School in New York, and on Saturday 21st October at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

According to the conference's blurb:

Presentations and performances will think more broadly about early modern women as creators, as part of the cultural and global economy, and as experts in their chosen fields of art.

The entire conference is free and will be livestreamed via the website above (registration is required).

New Journal for Irish Heritage Studies

October 17 2023

Image of New Journal for Irish Heritage Studies


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news from Ireland that a new journal called Irish Heritage Studies has been established by the Office of Public Works there. This look like a brilliant opportunity for any scholars or enthusiasts interested in the historic collections and patronage connected with the country.

According to the OPW's press release:

Published in association with Gandon Editions, the journal will showcase original critical research rooted in the substantial portfolio of material culture in the care of, and managed by, the OPW: built heritage; historical, artistic, literary and scientific collections; the national and international histories linked to these places and objects; and its own long organisational history. Journal articles will contribute to a deeper understanding of this remarkable collection of national heritage, and investigate new perspectives on aspects of its history.

The journal is currently inviting submissions for the first volume, and deadlines for abstracts is 15th December 2023.

Online Database: Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture at the Louvre

October 13 2023

Image of Online Database: Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture at the Louvre


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

There are few more exciting things for me in than browsing online paintings databases, especially ones with good images. The DFK in Paris (Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte) have just published a free-to-use online database of the collections of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. Based on the inventories of Nicolas Guérin (1715) and Antoine-Nicolas Dezallier d'Argenville (1781), this resource will be of great interest to anyone studying or researching French art of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

PhD Scholarship: Medieval Painting and the End of Life: From the Monumental to the Personal

October 13 2023

Image of PhD Scholarship: Medieval Painting and the End of Life: From the Monumental to the  Personal


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

North Eastern University, London and the University of Kent are advertsing a fully-funded PhD scholarship on the subject of Medieval Painting and the End of Life: From the Monumental to the Personal. The supervisors for candidates will be Dr Niamh Bhalla (Northeastern University London) and Dr Emily Guerry (University of Kent), and will focus heavily on themes relating to medieval visual and material culture.

According to the advert:

Areas identified as being of particular interest by the supervisors are:

- The monumental: Medieval wall paintings concerning death and judgement in Europe – an area of great interest that is currently underdeveloped in scholarship. A comparative approach concerning wall paintings of judgement in eastern and western Europe from the tenth to the fourteenth century may be beneficial to exploring the movement of people and the exchange of ideas in the Middle Ages, specifically shared understandings and uses of images that were implicated in the end-of-life process across various regions.

- The personal: Images pertaining to death and the afterlife in manuscripts and on other portable objects where the encounter with the imagery was more personal and the theological treatment of death sometimes different to that of public images. Again, a culturally comparative approach between East and West would be encouraged in this regard. Preference should be given to objects that facilitate access to the experiences of persons often omitted from mainstream historical record.

Applications for the scholarship must be in by 31st October 2023.

Good luck if you're applying!

Mona Lisa Ground Layer given the Scientific Treatment

October 12 2023

Image of Mona Lisa Ground Layer given the Scientific Treatment


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

There have been a few articles floating around this week regarding an article published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The research paper focuses on some new analysis of the materials used in Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, suggesting that 'a rare compound, plumbonacrite' was found in its ground layer. Its authors suggest that the artist had been experimenting whilst preparing this iconic portrait (I suppose the easier question should be, what did Leonardo not do during his lifetime).

Here's the abstract, in case any one would like to delve further:

An exceptional microsample from the ground layer of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was analyzed by high-angular resolution synchrotron X-ray diffraction and micro Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, revealing a singular mixture of strongly saponified oil with high lead content and a cerussite (PbCO3)-depleted lead white pigment. The most remarkable signature in the sample is the presence of plumbonacrite (Pb5(CO3)3O(OH)2), a rare compound that is stable only in an alkaline environment. Leonardo probably endeavored to prepare a thick paint suitable for covering the wooden panel of the Mona Lisa by treating the oil with a high load of lead II oxide, PbO. The review of Leonardo’s manuscripts (original and latter translation) to track the mention of PbO gives ambiguous information. Conversely, the analysis of fragments from the Last Supper confirms that not only PbO was part of Leonardo’s palette, through the detection of both litharge (α-PbO) and massicot (β-PbO) but also plumbonacrite and shannonite (Pb2OCO3), the latter phase being detected for the first time in a historical painting.

New Release: Women in Arts, Architecture and Literature: Heritage, Legacy and Digital Perspectives

October 12 2023

Image of New Release: Women in Arts, Architecture and Literature: Heritage, Legacy and Digital Perspectives


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Last month Brepols published the following book, a collection of papers presented in Rome in 2021 on the subject of Women in the Arts. The publication was edited by Consuelo Lollobrigida and Adelina Modesti, and contains no fewer than 21 articles.

Here's the blurb:

This collection of essays from the Annual International Women in Arts Conference sheds a new light on the female genius in literature, manuscript illumination, and architecture from the Middle Ages until the end of the 18th century.

In the last few decades, the study of women in the arts has largely increased in terms of scholars involved in research and investigation, with the reception of the outcomes especially acknowledged by museums which are dedicating part of their mission to organizing exhibitions and/or acquiring the works of women. The Annual International Women in Arts Conference seeks to advance contemporary discussions on how female creativity has helped shape European culture in its heterogeneity since the Middle Ages. This volume collects the proceedings of the first conference organised in Rome, in October 2021. It focuses on the role of women in literature, art, and architecture. Throughout history, these domains were often seen as very masculine. Yet, there have been many women who have made their mark as writers, illuminators, artists and architects, or have played a decisive role as patrons and supporters in these arts. This collection of essays aims to bring these women to the fore and sheds a new light on the heritage and legacy of women in the creative arts and architecture from the Middle Ages until the 20th century.

Catalogue Chinese Export Paintings at the Fitzwilliam

October 9 2023

Image of Catalogue Chinese Export Paintings at the Fitzwilliam

Picture: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge are hiring a Research Associate: Chinese Export Paintings (Fixed Term).

According to the job description:

The role holder will document and research our collection of export paintings from China, authoring catalogue records and research publications, and supporting wider public engagement with the collection. They will also seek to build collaborations with colleagues in the University and beyond.

The post-holder will be knowledgeable about, and have experience working with, 18th and 19th century Chinese paintings, particularly export arts, an understanding of the wider historical and cultural context, and be committed to developing new inclusive and diverse perspectives on these collections.

Applications must be in by 22nd October and the salary range is between £36,024 - 44,263.

Good luck if you're applying to this fascinating sounding role!

Holbein at the Tudor Court

October 9 2023

Image of Holbein at the Tudor Court

Picture: Royal Collection Trust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

One of the most anticipated exhibitions for Tudor fanatics will be opening at The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace next month. Holbein at the Tudor Court looks to be an extravaganza of the Royal Collection's most important Tudor works of art, including the famous Holbein drawings amongst other important paintings and portraits.

According to the Trust's website:

Hans Holbein was one of the most talented artists of the 16th century.  From his arrival in England in search of work he rose to royal favour, chosen to paint the portraits of Henry VIII, his family and leading figures, among them Anne Boleyn and Sir Thomas More. By his death, Holbein’s work was as admired by his contemporaries as it is today. His portraits inspired the next generation of artists in their depictions of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

This exhibition showcases one of the most important surviving collections of his work, and includes drawings, paintings, miniatures and book illustrations. Celebrating Holbein’s artistic skill, it explores the career of the artist and the lives of those who commissioned portraits from him, bringing us face-to-face with some of the most famous people of 16th-century England. 

I would also draw attention to the scheduled events, which also look very very compelling (book soon to avoid disappointment, I would say!).

The show will run from 10th November 2023 until 14th April 2024.

Upcoming Release: Bellini and Giorgione in the House of Taddeo Contarini

October 6 2023

Image of Upcoming Release: Bellini and Giorgione in the House of Taddeo Contarini


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director of the Frick Collection, has a new book coming out next month. Bellini and Giorgione in the House of Taddeo Contarini is the latest in the series of publications organised in association with the Frick Collection, which explores a theme in relation to one of the collection's masterpieces and accompanies a display which will open on 9th November 2023.

According to the book's blurb on the publisher's website:

The Three Philosophers by Giorgione (Italian, 1477–1510) in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and St. Francis in the Desert by Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1424/35–1516) in The Frick Collection are two of the most celebrated paintings of the Venetian Renaissance. Documentation exists to suggest that, between at least 1525 and 1556, the two paintings were displayed together in the same house in Venice, the palazzo of Taddeo Contarini (ca. 1466–1540), a member of one of Venice’s wealthiest patrician families. For the first time in more than four hundred years these two masterpieces will be reunited. Accompanying their display at the Frick, this book explores the origins of the paintings and re-evaluates their histories in the collection of Taddeo Contarini.

New Release: Ick soeck en vind – De schilderijen van Adriaen van de Venne

October 5 2023

Image of New Release: Ick soeck en vind – De schilderijen van Adriaen van de Venne


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Holland that a new volume on the important Dutch artist Adriaen van de Venne (1589–1662) has been published. Ick soeck en vind – De schilderijen van Adriaen van de Venne is the latest book by Edwin Buijsen, and promises to investigate the painter's entire oeuvre aided by vast amounts of illustrations [very good!].

Moreover, the publication compliments an extensive exhibition on the artist, curated by Buijsen, which has just opened at the Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg. The Inverted World of Adriaen van de Venne will run until 21 April 2024.

Free Online Talk: The Van de Veldes at the Queen’s House, Greenwich

October 4 2023

Image of Free Online Talk: The Van de Veldes at the Queen’s House, Greenwich


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Warburg Institute in London and the Association for Art History are hosting a free online talk later this month. Curatorial Conversation - The Van de Veldes at the Queen’s House, Greenwich will feature a ronudtable disucssion with curators Allison Goudie and Imogen Tedbury in conversation with Bill Sherman (Warburg Institute Director) and Gregory Perry (CEO, Association for Art History). 

According to the blurb on the institute's website:

For almost 20 years in the late 17th century the Queen’s House at Greenwich was the studio address of the marine painters Willem van de Velde the Elder and his son, Willem the Younger. Although the building itself bears little trace of the Van de Veldes’ presence, in the 20th century the Queen’s House once again became a home for their work, as the dedicated art gallery of the National Maritime Museum, custodian of the world’s largest collection of works by the Van de Veldes. Spanning scores of oil and pen paintings, a tapestry and some 1,500 drawings, the collection is unique in what it can tell us about how a 17th-century artist’s studio functioned. The physical evidence provided by this collection proved invaluable for the evocation of the Van de Velde studio that forms a centrepiece of the current exhibition, The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea, marking 350 years since the Van de Veldes moved to England from the Dutch Republic. Showcasing major conservation projects on important works in the Greenwich collection that have their origin point in the Queen’s House studio, and notwithstanding a select number very generous loans, the exhibition was also a pragmatic solution to some of the challenges facing museums as they emerged from Covid: how to make an event out of a permanent collection.

This online event will take place on Zoom on 17th October 2024. Attendance is free, although registration is required.

Burlington Magazine - October 2023

October 3 2023

Image of Burlington Magazine - October 2023


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The front page of October's edition of The Burlington Magazine focuses on the rediscovery of a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi in the Royal Collection (mentioned in a post below), and contains a fine extended piece on the research behind this extraordinary reappearance.

Alongside the Artemisia text are the following articles in October's edition:

A new attribution to Giovanni Bellini: the ‘Virgin and Child’ in Pag - BY BEATRICE TANZI

Rediscovered drawings by Bartolomeo Spani for sculpture and goldsmithery - BY MARCELLO CALOGERO

Girodet’s ‘Coriolanus taking leave of his family’ rediscovered - BY AARON WILE

Paolo Portoghesi (1931–2023) - BY ANDREW HOPKINS

John Newman (1936–2023) - BY SIMON BRADLEY

Free Lecture on Emma Sandys

October 2 2023

Image of Free Lecture on Emma Sandys

Picture: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For anyone passing Birmingham this weekend, the Pre-Raphaelite Society is hosting its Founder's Day Lecture on Saturday 7th October. This free lecture will be about the female artist Emma Sandys: The Drama of Womanhood and will be delivered by Dr. Serena Trowbridge.

According to the blurb on the society's website:

Emma, sister of the more famous Frederick, is rarely the focus of study, but her portraits of women from literature, myth and history offer a way into considering her approach to Pre-Raphaelite painting. The women Sandys depicted seen to resist a conventional interpretation, their eyes evading the viewer not through modesty but disinterest or preoccupation, their expressions often enigmatic or even challenging. In many of her painting, Sandys offers covert clues to her women's identity (an issue often further confused by the different titles used for the works), using symbolism, setting and facial expression. This illustrated lecture offers new readings of some of her paintings, and a look at some rarely-seen works by Sandys.

Dr. Serena Trowbridge is Chair of the Pre-Raphaelite Society, Senior Vice-President of the Birmingham and Midland Institute, and Reader in Victorian Literature at Birmingham City University. She has published widely on Pre-Raphaelite art and literature, and is currently working on 'Forgotten Women Pre-Raphaelites' (university of Delaware Press, 2024) and 'Pre-Raphaelite Women's Writing' (Routledge, 2025).

Although the lecture is free to attend, booking is essential.

Lecture: Painting Conservation at Knole

September 29 2023

Image of Lecture: Painting Conservation at Knole

Picture: The National Trust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some readers might be able to make this fascinating lecture next week. Conservator Melanie Caldwell will be giving a talk next Tuesday 3rd October entitled Framing Knole, which focuses on recent campaigns to conserve and restore paintings at this important property.

According to the Trust's website:

Paintings Conservator Melanie Caldwell will talk about projects undertaken on paintings at Knole, including the Grotesque scheme in the Cartoon Gallery, the early Portrait of Sir Ralph Bosville from around 1600 and Sir Joshua Reynold’s Portrait of Huang Ya Dong.

Tickets cost a mere £7.

Free Conference: John Michael Wright | New Perspectives and Directions

September 28 2023

Image of Free Conference: John Michael Wright | New Perspectives and Directions


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Galleries of Scotland are hosting a conference on the seventeenth-century artist John Michael Wright (1617–1694). This free conference will be held in Edinburgh on Thursday 26th October 2023. Booking through the website is essential to secure a place.

A list of the presentations and panels:

Panel 1 - Beginnings: Influences and Environments

David AHB Taylor (Independent): Pictor Scotus: John Michael Wright and Scotland

Molly Ingham (University of Edinburgh): Covert Catholicism: John Michael Wright and the British Catholic Experience

Maria Hayward (University of Southampton): ‘elegant and richly dressed’: Exploring Fashion and Fabrics in the Female portraiture of John Michael Wright

Panel 2 - Identity: Selfhood and Society

Kate Anderson (National Galleries of Scotland): ‘Nothing can repair my loss’: Death, Mourning and Memorialisation in the Portraits of John Michael Wright PAUL MELLON CENTRE for Studies in British Art

Karen Hearn (University College London): ‘I could not hinder my self from making it curious and full of variety…’: John Michael Wright’s Portraits of the Bagot Family, 1675-6

Matthew Augustine (University of St Andrews) and Steven Zwicker (Washington University in St Louis): Patrons, Portraits and the Fashioning of Identity: John Michael Wright beyond the Restoration Court

Panel 3 - Practice: Approaches and Associations

Helen Pearce (University of Aberdeen): John Michael Wright: Prints and Proof(s)?

James Loxley (University of Edinburgh): The Literary Connections of John Michael Wright

Catriona Murray (University of Edinburgh): Childish Things: Children and Material Culture in the Work of John Michael Wright

Panel 4 - Endings: Reception and Relationships

Carol Richardson (University of Edinburgh): Courtier, Designer and Propagandist: John Michael Wright and the 1687 Embassy to Rome

Adam Morton (Newcastle University): Promoting Religion by Means of Arts? Anti-Catholicism, Catholic Culture and John Michael Wright

Jane Eade (National Trust): The Artist and his Nephew: New Evidence from Sale Inventories 

Upcoming Release: Scented Visions

April 10 2022

Image of Upcoming Release: Scented Visions

Picture: Penn State University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here is a September release that will be worth keeping an eye out for. Scented Visions: Smells in Art 1850-1914 is the upcoming publication by Christina Bradstreet, Courses and Events Programmer at the National Gallery in London.

According to the book's blurb:

Smell loomed large in cultural discourse in the late nineteenth century, thanks to the midcentury fear of miasma, the drive for sanitation reform, and the rise in artificial perfumery. Meanwhile, the science of olfaction remained largely mysterious, prompting an impulse to “see smell” and inspiring some artists to picture scent in order to better know and control it. This book recovers the substantive role of the olfactory in Pre-Raphaelite art and Aestheticism.

Christina Bradstreet examines the iconography and symbolism of scent in nineteenth-century art and visual culture. Fragrant imagery in the work of John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Simeon Solomon, George Frederic Watts, Edward Burne-Jones, and others set the trend for the preoccupation with scent that informed swaths of British, European, and American art and design. Bradstreet’s rich analyses of paintings, perfume posters, and other works of visual culture demonstrate how artworks mirrored the “period nose” and intersected with the most clamorous debates of the day, including evolution, civilization, race, urban morality, mental health, faith, and the “woman question.”

The book will be released in September 2022.

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!

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