Previous Posts: April 2021

The Duke of Grafton's Van Dyck Coming up For Sale

April 20 2021

Image of The Duke of Grafton's Van Dyck Coming up For Sale

Picture: artscouncil.org.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has alerted me to news that the Duke of Grafton's portrait of Thomas Wentworth by Sir Anthony Van Dyck has been posted on the UK Arts Council Website. It explains that the work is due to be sold at Christie's London on 8th July 2021 carrying a guide price of £5m. The painting has been in the Grafton collection since the late seventeenth century and has been kept at the family's ancestral seat at Euston Hall.

A notice of intention to sell the painting had appeared in 2019 but was pulled before the catalogue was published for reasons unknown.

The painting is an outstanding example of Van Dyck's armoured portraits, showing a great debt to Titian in the painterly execution. The composition recalls Dosso Dossi's Portrait of St William in the Royal Collection, a picture which Van Dyck must have known as it was in King Charles I's collection at the time. Curiously, the Dossi portrait must have been rather special as the Duke of Buckingham was also painted in this guise by Balthasar Gerbier (notice the same fluted armour and helmet).

Update - Amusingly, here's Cromwell in exactly the same composition.

More Works from American Museums at Auction

April 20 2021

Image of More Works from American Museums at Auction

Picture: artnet.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Artnet.com have published an interesting article on news that more American Museums are selling valuable paintings at auction this season.

This includes the New-York Historical Society, the city's oldest museum, who have decided to auction off Childe Hassam's Flags on 57th Street, Winter 1918 (1918) at Sotheby's carrying an estimate of $12m - $18m. They're not alone however, as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Newark Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum will all be offering works for sale this season. The article suggests that the ongoing virus crisis is to blame, and that the majority of works are in the American category.

The article ends with this quote from the art lawyer Nicholas O'Donnell who said:

If you view the collection as a revenue source, will you keep managing a nonprofit institution as carefully as you should? If, in the back of your mind, you know that if things don’t work out, you can make up the difference here and there by selling a painting?

Bode Museum Finally Describes their 'Leonardo' as 'Manner of'

April 20 2021

Image of Bode Museum Finally Describes their 'Leonardo' as 'Manner of'

Picture: Bode Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Bode Museum in Berlin have finally come round to re-cataloguing a dubious sculpture in their collection as 'In the manner of Leonardo Da Vinci'.

The above sculpture of Flora was purchased as a Leonardo in full in 1909 by the then director of Prussian art collections, Wilhelm von Bode. However, recent analysis by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) has concluded that the piece must be a nineteenth century imitation. Scientific analysis has shown that the majority of the sculpture is made from spermaceti wax, a type of wax harvested for candles during the nineteenth century. Strong comparisons have been made with several works by the sculptor Richard Cockle Lucas (1800-1883), who has been suggested as the likely creator of the piece.

Update - A reader has kindly alerted me to the fact the sculpture is included within a new exhibition on the museum's history entitled Klartext (Plain Talk). A free virtual tour of the exhibition, plus audio guides, can be accessed here.

'Cranach' to be Returned to Liechtenstein Collection

April 19 2021

Image of 'Cranach' to be Returned to Liechtenstein Collection

Picture: The Art Newspaper

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has reported on the latest development regarding the 'Cranach' caught up in the Ruffini forgery scandal. The Parisian court of appeal has ruled that the painting should be returned to the Prince of Liechtenstein on the grounds that the examinations on the work have taken place and there were no further grounds to keep it as evidence. The painting was seized in 2016 and the investigation officially closed in 2018. A 213-page report has suggested that the pigments were not consistent with Cranach's workshop and that artificial ageing had been employed.

The alleged mastermind of the forgery scandal, Ruffini, is still undergoing an investigation for fraud in Italy.

Fede Galizia to Receive First Monograph Exhibition

April 19 2021

Image of Fede Galizia to Receive First Monograph Exhibition

Picture: finestresullarte.info

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It really seems that 2021 is shaping up to be a bumper year for exhibitions on female artists. The Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento, Italy, will be presenting the first ever monograph exhibition dedicated to the Milanese artist Fede Galizia (c. 1578– c. 1630). Gailzia, who is likely to have learnt painting from her father Nunzio, achieved a reasonable fame for her still-lifes, portraits and religious works. Her art was so highly prized that it was collected by the likes of Rudolf II in Prague.

The exhibition will contain 80 works including paintings, drawings, engravings and medals, many of which have been loaned from institutions around Italy.

The show will run from 3rd July - 25th October 2021.

National Gallery of Umbria sending 40 Works to Russia

April 19 2021

Image of National Gallery of Umbria sending 40 Works to Russia

Picture: The Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria have announced that they will be sending 40 masterpieces from their collection to the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The works will feature in a special exhibition dedicated to the museum's collection. Preparations for the show have resulted in discoveries and new attributions, including to the Rimini masters Baronzio and Francesco da Rimini.

The exhibition will run from 18th May - 15th August 2021.

National Gallery Acquire Isaack Luttichuys

April 19 2021

Image of National Gallery Acquire Isaack Luttichuys

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a story that might be a little old, yet, this painting has been doing the rounds on social media today. The National Gallery in London have uploaded their recent acquisition of a Portrait of a Girl by the Dutch painter Isaack Luttichuys (1616-1673). The work seems to have been part of the acceptance in lieu scheme from the estate of George Pinto. This rather immediate and engaging portrait is the only picture by Luttichuys in the gallery's collection.

Portland Art Museum Acquire Portrait by Carlo Ceresa

April 19 2021

Image of Portland Art Museum Acquire Portrait by Carlo Ceresa

Picture: Portland Art Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Dawson W. Carr, outgoing The Janet and Richard Geary Curator of European Art at the Portland Art Museum, has announced the museum's acquisition of Carlo Ceresa’s Portrait of Baron Ignazio de Pizzis (pictured). The announcement was made last week on the day of Carr's retirement.

In the curator's own words:

Ceresa was the leading portraitist in the lovely North Italian city of Bergamo in the 1600s, but his reputation extended far beyond his native land. This portrait was commissioned by Baron de Pizzis, the lord of the town of Ortona, which lies about thirty miles south of Pescara on Italy’s Adriatic coast. In creating this swashbuckling image, Ceresa followed the tradition of depicting European rulers as Christian knights. The Baron is shown in partial armor with his sword at his side and his helmet resting on the table. The red sash indicates that he was a partisan of the Catholic cause in the religious wars of the period, but does not necessarily mean that he was a soldier. The rich silver velvet clothes and fashionable high boots signify that the Baron also wanted to project his wealth and status.

The painting adds a male ruler portrait to Felipe Diriksen’s full-length portrait of a Spanish princess, María Ana de Austria, which the Museum acquired in 2017. The canvases are nearly the same size and will beautifully interact with each other when Ceresa’s painting is installed in the Meier Gallery this summer after undergoing minor restoration. The Museum’s European collection includes few large-scale paintings and I am thrilled that this portrait will enhance the representation of seventeenth-century art in Portland. I owe a great debt to the people who made this purchase possible!

(Women) Artists Sale at Sotheby's

April 16 2021

Image of (Women) Artists Sale at Sotheby's

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's have unveiled a brand-new sale for May 2021 that they've called (Women) Artists. As the name suggests, the sale will contain works made by women across four centuries of art.

As the auction house's website explains:

Sotheby’s inaugural (Women) Artists auction celebrates contributions by women to art history across 400 years. Featuring a stand-out selection of works by the likes of Dorothea Tanning, Rachel Ruysch, Dame Elisabeth Frink, Dame Laura Knight and Helen Frankenthaler among others, the auction will offer original perspectives, initiate innovative dialogues and generate fresh appreciation for each work presented.

_______________

This is the latest development of a growing trend for the reappreciation of previously neglected women artists. It is perhaps notable that over the past few years we've seen an increasing number of commercial arts organisations following this much wider trend established by the academic and museums sectors decades ago. The recent high prices achieved for works by the likes of Mary BealeJudith Leyster and Artemisia Gentileschi is a sign perhaps that it has had an effect on the market for old masters. We'll look forward to seeing how the sale fayres!

Amazon's Leonardo Drama "Cringe-inducing" and "Dull"

April 16 2021

Video: Amazon Prime

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Amazon Prime's new drama based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci, released today, has received less than favourable reviews from critics. The Guardian's Lucy Mangan gave the show 2/5 stars, describing it as "cringe inducing", and The Telegraph's Ed Power has described it as "worthy-but-dull – and stonkingly chaste" at 3/5 stars. It seems that not even the appearance of Aidan Turner could not salvage the script which has been described as "woeful".

It goes without saying that AHN welcomes reviews from its own readers too!

Update - A reader has written in:

I managed 1 minute 38 seconds of the Official Trailer. That was more than enough.

Online Exhibition: Women in Ancient Rome

April 16 2021

Image of Online Exhibition: Women in Ancient Rome

Picture: Uffizi Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence has published a free online exhibition of their recently finished exhibition Empresses, Matrons and Freed Women. The show had opened last November but had to close a day later due to lockdown restrictions. It features around 30 works from the gallery's collection supplemented by loans from the National Archaeological Museum and the National Central Library of Florence.

Henry Scott Tuke at the Watts Gallery

April 16 2021

Image of Henry Scott Tuke at the Watts Gallery

Picture: The Watts Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Watts Gallery in Surrey have announced more details about their upcoming exhibition on the late Victorian / Edwardian artist Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929). The show is due to run from 7th June - 12th September 2021.

According to the exhibition blurb:

Henry Scott Tuke explores the complexities that surround the life and art of this British painter, famed for his depictions of sun, sea, and bathing during a late Victorian and Edwardian golden age. Tackling questions of artistic influence, art practice and a varied reception history, the exhibition brings together some of Tuke's most significant works.  Having spent his early years studying at the Slade School of Art, Tuke first discovered the appeal of painting en plein air on his travels in Italy and France. On his return to Britain in the 1880s, like many of his generation, Tuke was drawn to Cornwall. He initially headed to Newlyn, while the emerging artists' colony was still in its infancy, before settling in Falmouth. Using both beach and boat as his studio, Tuke built his early reputation with ambitious sombre-coloured scenes of Cornish seafaring. He even converted an old French brigantine, the Julie of Nantes, into a colossal 60-foot floating studio. It was aboard this vessel that Tuke painted his most ambitious seafaring subject, All Hands to the Pumps! (Tate). 

Today – as in his lifetime – Tuke is best known for his distinctive depictions of nude male youths swimming, messing about in boats and sunbathing on Cornish beaches. Influenced by the colour and technique of the European avant-garde, Tuke strove to capture the chromatic effects of sunlight on skin, becoming a leading figure in the resurgence of the male nude in British art.

The exhibition will also be accompanied by the release of new major book on the artist by Yale University Press.

Giotto's Frescos Scanned

April 16 2021

Image of Giotto's Frescos Scanned

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Giotto's frescos in the The Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, have been scanned by the art imaging company Haltadefinizione. Fourteen thousand shots were made of 700 square metres of the interiors, allowing viewers to digitally fly through this building with incredible zooming capabilities. Furthermore, this resource is completely free to use via. their website.

Do Not Adjust Your Screens

April 16 2021

Image of Do Not Adjust Your Screens

Picture: smithsonianmag.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

"Why has AHN decided to utterly debase itself by using poor quality images?" - I know what you're thinking, but it's not my fault.

The picture above is a new piece of contemporary art by the Miaz Brothers in their upcoming show at the Maddox Gallery in London entitled The Past, Present & Imperceptible. The exhibition features blurred images of old master paintings by the likes of Caravaggio and Rembrandt.

Explaining these works in an article for the Smithsonian Magazine:

“[I]t is not possible to gaze passively. Instinctively, you are immediately prompted to engage on a physical level with what you see, moving closer or further away to decode what is before you,” say the brothers in a statement. “As memory begins to manifest and thoughts start taking form, emotions arise along with the possibility for reflection.”

Well, there it is.

Prado Acquire Goya's Earliest Recorded Work

April 16 2021

Image of Prado Acquire Goya's Earliest Recorded Work

Picture: Prado

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

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

According to press reports:

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

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

Online Lecture: Rembrandt's Orient

April 16 2021

Image of Online Lecture: Rembrandt's Orient

Picture: garyschwartzarthistorian.nl

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has kindly alerted me to a very interesting free online lecture on Rembrandt's Orient given by the exhibition's co-curator Gary Schwartz. Unfortunately I'm not able to post the video on here directly, so you'll have to scroll down the bottom of the page via. the link above to watch it.

Virtual Tour and Fragrance Boxes from the Mauritshuis

April 16 2021

Image of Virtual Tour and Fragrance Boxes from the Mauritshuis

Picture: Mauritshuis.nl

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For those who won't be able to make it to the Fleeting - Scents in Colour exhibition, the Mauritshuis have produced a rather fun virtual tour and accompanying 'fragrance box' which can be sent directly to your house. The fragrance box contains four different scents which accompany this sensory exhibition.

According to the museum's website:

After scanning a QR code Dutch culinary journalist Joël Broekaert and Mauritshuis Conservator Ariane van Suchtelen invite you for a tour behind the closed doors of the exhibition. Join them and discover the amazing paintings in the exhibition, using your eyes ánd your nose! 

The special scent pumps in your fragrance box allows you to actually smell the scents of the exhibition during your virtual tour. 

Curious to discover the smell of the Dutch bleaching fields of Jacob van Ruisdael'sView of Haarlem? Or the beautiful Grocer’s Shop by Willem van Mieris? Dare to sniff the stench of the foul-smelling canal of Jan van der Heyden's View of the Oudezijds Voorburgwal ?

Detroit's Artemisia Gentileschi Returned

April 15 2021

Image of Detroit's Artemisia Gentileschi Returned

Picture: Detroit Institute of Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Detroit Institute of Art have shared news on their Facebook page that their Artemisia Gentileschi of Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes has finally returned to their galleries. They explained that the painting was conserved last year. This was presumably before the work was exhibited in London last summer. They had posted these short videos last year showing the painting half cleaned and being revarnished.

I should also point out that the museum's YouTube channel has some rather interesting videos relating to their collection of old masters, in case it may be of interest to readers.

Conference: Dressing a Picture

April 15 2021

Image of Conference: Dressing a Picture

Picture: cam.ac.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Examining the fashion found in old master paintings has been a very popular trend in both the academic and art market spheres over the past decade or so. Who can't help but be seduced by the extravagant laces and textiles found in so many portraits of the early modern period.

If this interests you too, then The University of Cambridge are hosting what looks to be the history of dress conferences to end all history of dress conferences later in May.

Dressing a Picture: Reimagining the Court Portrait 1500 – 1800 is a virtual conference that will take place between 6th - 7th May 2021. This two-day event will feature no fewer than eighteen different presentations on subjects ranging from clothing in Cranachs to the White Ruffs and Red Cuffs in Van Dyck's Genoese portraits.

What's even better about these events are the fact that they are entirely free to attend!

Seurat Studies at Christie's

April 15 2021

Image of Seurat Studies at Christie's

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's New York have announced that they will be offering two rare studies by Georges Seurat in their upcoming 20th Century Art sale in May. Paysage et personnages (La jupe rose), 1884 (pictured) and Le Saint-Cyrien (1884) have been in private collections for over a century and are now being sold by the relatives of the Boston-based collector Robert Treat Paine II. The estimates for these works are $7m - $10m and $3m - $5m respectively.

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