Category: Research

Prado Downgrades Salvator Mundi

November 11 2021

Image of Prado Downgrades Salvator Mundi

Picture: Christie's

Posted by the Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has published news that the Salvator Mundi has been downgraded in an upcoming exhibition catalogue published by the Prado Museum in Madrid. A new exhibition dedicated to Leonardo and the copy of the Mona Lisa will open at the museum in January 2022. The work has been catalogued as part of the section entitled 'attributed works, workshop or authorised and supervised by Leonardo.' More specifically, the catalogue essay by curator Ana Gonzáles Mozo states that there is 'no painted prototype' by Leonardo.

According to the article:

Mozo proposes that another copy of Salvator Mundi, the so-called Ganay version (1505-15), is the closest to Leonardo’s lost original. Acquired by the marquis de Ganay in 1939, it was sold at Sotheby’s in 1999 and is now in an anonymous private collection. Mozo argues that the skilled workshop artist who painted the Ganay Salvator Mundi was also responsible for the Prado’s early copy of the Mona Lisa (1507-16). Although the catalogue includes a full-page image of the Ganay Salvator Mundi, the Cook version [the Christie's version that sold in 2015] is not even illustrated.

Jacob Backer's Euterpe Identified

November 10 2021

Image of Jacob Backer's Euterpe Identified


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the Netherlands that a music historian has identified the sitter in a painting by Jacob Backer (1608-1651). Long described as being a representation of the Muse Euterpe, scholar Thiemo Wind has managed to identify the sitter as Adriana van den Bergh. Adriana, a flute player, had a booklet of music dedicated to her as a young girl. Wind's explorations into the seventeenth century archives managed to find a specific reference to Backer's painting of the girl found in a document relating to the estate of her brothers. She eventually married a merchant Jan Verstegen, bore him nine children, and ended up bankrupt.

The painting survives in an unknown private collection having been sold from the Albert Vandervelden Foundation in the past.

Dostoevsky and the Old Masters

November 5 2021

Image of Dostoevsky and the Old Masters

Picture: Apollo

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apollo have published a short article online regarding the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky's interest in Old Master Paintings. The piece by Rosamund Bartlett explains the various paintings that held great significance for the writer, including works by the likes of Raphael, Holbein and Claude Lorrain.

Back of the Night Watch on View

November 5 2021

Image of Back of the Night Watch on View


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Ever been curious about what the back of Rembrandt's The Night Watch looks like? Well, The Rijksmuseum's latest phase of 'Operation Night Watch' has seen the arrangement of a new display to show the back of the canvas and stretcher. This rare opportunity is due to work by conservators to study the rear of the painting.

If you really want to see the back of the picture, then you only have until the 23rd November to do so!

Lecture: 'More perfect and excellent than men' - The Women Artists of Bologna

November 5 2021

Image of Lecture: 'More perfect and excellent than men' - The Women Artists of Bologna

Picture: NGA

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This year's Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art, hosted by the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., will feature the topic of “‘More perfect and excellent than men’: The Women Artists of Bologna presented by Babette Bohn. The live free lecture, broadcast via. Zoom, will be premiered today (5th November 2021) at 1pm (Eastern Time). Registration is required.

According to the blurb:

Early modern Bologna was exceptional for its many talented women artists. Thanks to a long-standing tradition of honoring accomplished women, several attentive artistic biographers, strong local interest in collecting women’s work, and permissive attitudes toward women studying with male artists who were not family members, Bologna was home to more women artists than any other city in early modern Italy. Bolognese women artists were unusual not only for their large numbers but also for their varied specializations and frequent public success. They painted altarpieces, nudes, mythologies, allegories, portraits, and self-portraits, creating sculptures, drawings, prints, embroidery, and paintings. This lecture challenges some common assumptions about women artists, suggesting productive approaches for future research.

Paul Mellon Centre Photo Archive Online 8th November

November 3 2021

Image of Paul Mellon Centre Photo Archive Online 8th November

Picture: PMC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Paul Mellon Centre has announced that its new online digitized Photo Archive, which includes the The Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive and The Tate Photographic Archive, will be launched on Monday 8th November 2021. These archives contain roughly 150,000 reference photographs of British paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints.

Another Leiden Collection Rembrandt Catalogued

November 3 2021

Image of Another Leiden Collection Rembrandt Catalogued

Picture: The Leiden Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Leiden Collection have announced that they have added another full catalogue for one of their paintings to their website.

Lara Yeager-Crasselt's note for Portrait of a Young Woman (“The Middendorf Rembrandt”) (pictured) is particularly interesting due to the discussion regarding the various changes in attribution over the years. The painting had been rejected by the Rembrandt Research Project in 1986 and was relegated to a work by an assistant working in the artist's studio. However, the note also goes on to explain the evolution in views surrounding the painting and Rembrandt's working method. The oil on panel has since been given back to Rembrandt in full.

Printing Plates Masterclass

November 2 2021

Image of Printing Plates Masterclass

Picture: Twitter via @chiara_beta

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Weston Library and Ashmolean Museum will be hosting a rather interesting masterclass next February on the subject of printing with copper plates. The masterclass features lectures by respected scholars in the field and looks to be a must for those fascinated by prints. The masterclass will be held on 21st February 2022 and more details can be found here.

2020 Release: Rembrandt: Studies in His Varied Approaches to Italian Art

November 2 2021

Image of 2020 Release: Rembrandt: Studies in His Varied Approaches to Italian Art

Picture: Brill

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Historians of Netherlandish Art have published an interesting online review of Amy Golahny's 2020 publication entitled Rembrandt: Studies in His Varied Approaches to Italian Art (Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History).

To quote the opening paragraph of the review:

Constantijn Huygens’s oft-cited remarks about the young Rembrandt’s (and Lievens’s) disinterest in traveling to Italy, justified in part by the wealth of Italian art that could then be found in the Dutch Republic, have anchored a multitude of studies addressing Rembrandt’s engagement with the work of his predecessors and contemporaries south of the Alps. Over the course of more than three decades, Amy Golahny has contributed numerous publications to this literature.[1] Her latest book, Rembrandt: Studies in His Varied Approaches to Italian Art, encapsulates and builds on her previous studies to offer a comprehensive treatment of the subject.

Hogarth's Repainting to Halt Productions of Fakes

November 1 2021

Image of Hogarth's Repainting to Halt Productions of Fakes

Picture: The Sunday Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Sunday Times published a story yesterday on new research which shows how William Hogarth often repainted his famous pictures in order to halt the production of unofficial knock-off prints.

According to the article:

X-rays and infrared scans of Hogarth’s best-known works, A Rake’s Progress, show he changed some of the eight paintings in the series after completion, when knock-off prints started appearing before he had published his own.

After creating his originals, Hogarth would have smaller engravings made to be printed and sold. Plagiarism was rife, however, and pirate copies of his previous work, A Harlot’s Progress, had appeared a little over a week after prints had been delivered to his subscribers.

This new research will appear in the forthcoming Tate exhibition Hogarth and Europe which opens on 3rd November 2021.

New Release: Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings at Wilton House

October 30 2021

Image of New Release: Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings at Wilton House


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

If any readers are stuck for Christmas present ideas this year, this recent release looks like catnip to any art lover.

Archaeopress Publishing Ltd have recently published a new Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings at Wilton House. This fabulous looking catalogue has been written by Francis Russell, Deputy Chairman at Christie's and author of several books on art and travel.

To quote the book's blurb:

The collection of pictures at Wilton has been celebrated since the seventeenth century; and its historic arrangement is uniquely well documented in a series of catalogues of which the first, issued in 1731, was the earliest such publication about any private collection in England. Of successive owners of the house, three made significant contributions: William, 4th Earl of Pembroke, who commissioned van Dyck’s monumental portrait of his family that dominates the Double Cube Room he had created; his grandson, Thomas, 8th Earl of Pembroke who assembled what was in some respects a pioneering collection of old master pictures for the house; and his grandson, Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke, patron of Reynolds and Wilson, among others. Such masterpieces as Lucas van Leyden’s Card Players, Cesare da Sesto’s Leda – long attributed to Leonardo – and Ribera’s Democritus are matched by remarkable portrait drawings by Raphael and Holbein. These are complemented by a substantial deposit of family portraits and other pictures that attest to the tastes and interests of successive generations of the Herbert family.

The Enigma of the Virgen de Belén

October 22 2021

Image of The Enigma of the Virgen de Belén


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

An exhibition attempting to unlock the mystery of a curious Virgin and Child has opened in The Hospital de la Caridad in Seville, Spain. La Virgen de Belén (pictured) had carried a traditional attribution to Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, however, the exact details have always been rather murky.

New research and conservation has been revealed to suggest that this painting is indeed the work of Murillo. Furthermore, it is a copy Murillo made of a Virgin and Child made by José de Ribera dated 1646 (now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art). Murillo would have had a chance to study Ribera's canvas when it was in a neighbouring Sevillian town.

New Release: Painted out of History: Ellen and Rolinda Sharples

October 22 2021

Image of New Release: Painted out of History: Ellen and Rolinda Sharples


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a new release that might be of interest. Painted out of History: Ellen and Rolinda Sharples is the latest publication of the author Hazel Gower for Redcliffe Press in Bristol.

According to the book's blurb:

Daughter of a Lancashire blacksmith, Ellen Sharples was the driving force behind a remarkable family of artists.  Based in Bath and Bristol, she sailed to America twice, was imprisoned during the French Revolution and painted the first five US presidents.  She supported the family financially, educated her daughter Rolinda and trained her to become a painter of contemporary events.  Though her life and her legacy are little known, Ellen was a Georgian era pioneer.   She created one of the early Academies of Art, where for the first time women could study on equal terms with men. 

Author Hazel Gower quotes from Ellen’s journal to explore this unusual mother daughter relationship, presenting an inspiring portrait of the pair.   Chronicling their passion, commitment and resourcefulness, this is the forgotten story of two women artists and their adventurous lives on both sides of the Atlantic.

Results from Conservation and Treatment of the Ghent Altarpiece

October 21 2021


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting video giving some further details about discoveries made during the conservation and treatment of Jan van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece. Amongst the research conducted was identifying the hand and work of Hubert van Eyck.

Here's a link from CODART which gives more details of the conservation and the recently published book on the subject.

Symposium on Italian Drawings at the Teylers Museum

October 14 2021

Image of Symposium on Italian Drawings at the Teylers Museum

Picture: Teylers Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Teylers Museum in Haarlem are hosting a free online symposium on The Italian Drawings of the 17th and 18th Centuries in the Teylers Museum on 27th October 2021. 

According to the event's blurb:

The Italian drawings in the collection of the Teyler Museum are world-famous. They belong to the most important acquisition in the museum's history: the purchase in 1790 of several albums of drawings from the collection of Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689) and Roman nobleman Livio Odescalchi (1658-1713). Overnight, the brand-new museum came into possession of over 1700 drawings. 

The seventeenth and eighteenth-century drawings, with sheets by Bernini, Carracci, Guido Reni, Gercino, Salvator Rosa and many others, are now described in a new catalogue by Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken. Van Tuyll, former chief curator of Teylers Museum and head of the department of prints and drawings in the Louvre, spent over twenty years researching this part of the collection, which consists of 900 drawings. In this online symposium, he will present the most significant findings of his research, and three international experts will respond.

Attendance is free although registration is required.

Curator Talks on Vermeer

October 14 2021

Image of Curator Talks on Vermeer

Picture: Dresden Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (Network of Curators of Dutch and Flemish Art) have drawn attention to a series of online lectures (in various languages) presented by leading curators on various subjects relating to Vermeer. These lectures will be scheduled between October and December, coinciding with Dresden's current Vermeer exhibition.

Among the lecturers included will be the likes of Uta Neidhardt, Gregor Weber, Betsy Wieseman, Silke Gatenbröcke, Xavier Salomon, Friederike Schütt, Katja Kleinert, Bart Cornelis and Uta Neidhardt.

Attendance is free although registration is required.

Fondation Custodia Upload Rembrandt and Circle Drawings

October 13 2021

Image of Fondation Custodia Upload Rembrandt and Circle Drawings

Picture: Fondation Custodia

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News has arrived via. Twitter that the Fondation Custodia in Paris have uploaded 166 sheets by Rembrandt and his Circle onto their fantastic online collections database. Their collection contains no less that 21 examples by Rembrandt himself. 

I do recommend heading over to their site to browse for yourself, where you'll find beautiful examples like this Samuel van Hoogstraten in high definition. It will surely be an exciting day when the institutions full collection is uploaded online.

Mystery Room and Painting

October 7 2021

Image of Mystery Room and Painting

Picture: David Adler Archive

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A small fun piece of detective work this, the Country Houses of the UK and Ireland Facebook Group have posted the following photograph of an interior. Unfortunately, both the room and painting are unidentified and an academic is trying to track down the identity of both. If you happen to recognise the room or picture, do get in touch via. my email address above.

Update - The knowledge of the readers of AHN has prevailed once again! Mattia Biffis has been in touch to explain the painting seems to be Giuliano Bugiardini's portrait of Leonardo de' Ginori, c. 1528 held at the NGA in Washington D.C. Curiously, the provenance starts at the turn of the century, suggestion perhaps that this photograph is evidence of a previous unknown ownership (?)

Yale Center Seeks Identity of Black Child in Painting

October 7 2021

Image of Yale Center Seeks Identity of Black Child in Painting

Picture: TAN

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published an interesting piece of research being undertaken by the Yale Center for British Art Studies into the identity of a black child. The boy appears in A portrait of Elihu Yale with Members of His Family and an Enslaved Child (around 1719), attributed to John Verelst, from the center's collection.

According to the article:

Homing in on the depiction of the enslaved child, the YCBA’s research team enlisted a pediatrician to estimate the boy’s likely age, which was determined to be around 10, says Martin. Drawing on records from the early 1700s, the curatorial investigators note that it was then routine to ship boys of African descent under 10 years of age to Britain to serve as domestic servants in affluent households. The child would probably have served as a so-called page in the household of one of the men depicted.

Regularly readers might remember this brief story I published last October, showing results from a similar piece research into a seventeenth century picture from Warwick Castle.

Arnold Houbraken text Translated and Digitized

October 6 2021

Image of Arnold Houbraken text Translated and Digitized

Picture: abebooks

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (Dutch and Flemish Art Curators Network) has shared news that the RKD (Netherland's Institute for Art History) have translated into English and digitized Arnold Houbraken's Groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en -schilderessen. This important eighteenth century text, which provides a history of Dutch painters, will feature on the RKD's Study Series. The online publication will be celebrated with a lecture (in Dutch) on 14th October 2021.

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