Previous Posts: December 2021

UK Export Ban placed on William IV Portrait

December 23 2021

Image of UK Export Ban placed on William IV Portrait

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Government has placed a temporary export ban on Benjamin West's portrait of the future King William IV. Sold at Sotheby's earlier this summer, cultural institutions who might be interested to acquire the work will now have to find £314,880 by 16th March 2022 to keep it in the country.

Committee Member Professor Mark Hallett is quoted: 

This is a highly original and visually striking portrait of a royal prince by one of the leading painters working in Georgian Britain. Showing the future King William IV standing alone on the deck of a warship, dressed in his midshipman’s uniform, looking steadfastly out to sea and resting his hand on a sword, the portrait highlights both his youth and bravery. The work’s significance lies not only in its exceptional quality and interest as a painting; the portrait also provided the basis for a widely disseminated engraving that served to promote the modest, heroic virtues of the prince and his family at a time of profound national crisis. For all these reasons, this is a painting of great historical and art-historical importance.

La Pinacoteca di Cento acquire Painting by Guercino's Brother

December 23 2021

Image of La Pinacoteca di Cento acquire Painting by Guercino's Brother

Picture: finestresullarte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Bologna that the local La Pinacoteca di Cento have acquired a Still Life of Church Vestments and Silver by Paolo Antonio Barbieri (1603-1649). Barbieri, who was brother to the more widely known Guercino, painted the work in c.1647 and was later descended with the great-grandchildren of Guercino. The work appeared at an antiques exhibition in Florence in 2019 where it was spotted by members of the 'Friends of the Pinacoteca'.

Rembrandt House Museum - 360 Experience

December 23 2021

Image of Rembrandt House Museum - 360 Experience

Picture: Rembrandthuis

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I forgot to point out last week that the Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam have published a new 360 virtual tour of their building and collections. This online tour is free to use and at the present you'll have the opportunity to be toured around by the museum's director Lidewij de Koekkoek (more guides to be uploaded soon, it seems).

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

December 23 2021

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

Picture: museabrugge.be

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

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

According to the website:

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

The symposium will be held in the English language.

Louvre Acquire Two Panels by Matteo Giovannetti

December 23 2021

Image of Louvre Acquire Two Panels by Matteo Giovannetti

Picture: @MuseeLouvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre in Paris have announced their acquisition of two panels by Matteo Giovannetti (c.1322-1368). The two works of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Anthony the Abbot (pictured) were created around 1345 and are now some of the oldest examples of fourteenth century paintings preserved in the national collection of France.

Robert B. Simon Defends Salvator Mundi Attribution

December 23 2021

Image of Robert B. Simon Defends Salvator Mundi Attribution

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published a letter by the dealer Robert B. Simon defending the attribution of the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo. In particular, Simon explains that nowhere in the recent Prado exhibition catalogue Leonardo y la copia de Mona Lisa del Prado is an opinion expressed on the attribution of the picture.

To quote the piece:

It should be mentioned at the outset that in the catalogue no curator, conservator or official of the Museo del Prado expresses any opinion on the attribution of the painting, let alone downgrades it. Rather, as quoted in the article, Ana González Mozo, one of the five authors of the catalogue, reports, “Some specialists consider there was a now lost prototype, while others think the much debated Cook version is the original.”

The Art Newspaper have responded by quoting curator Ana González Mozo:

In her subsequent brief discussion about a Youthful Christ image, included in the same Salvator Mundi paragraph, she writes: “Once again [our emphasis] there is no painted prototype.” It is also notable that the Gulf (Cook) version is not among the 75 illustrations in the catalogue.

Virtual Veronese at the NG for March 2022

December 23 2021

Image of Virtual Veronese at the NG for March 2022

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London have announced a virtual reality research and development project for March 2022. Virtual Veronese will allow visitors to virtually see Veronese's The Consecration of Saint Nicholas housed in its original setting of San Benedetto al Po, near Mantua, Italy.

According to the gallery's website:

Virtual Veronese is a research and development (R&D) project looking at how we can share research with a wider audience by using immersive technologies to explore new ways of telling stories. The project will enable us to understand how immersive storytelling can add depth of information, meaning, and emotion to Gallery visitors’ experiences of our paintings. 

For two weeks, we are inviting visitors to experience Veronese’s painting The Consecration of Saint Nicholas as it would have been seen in 1562 by using augmented and virtual reality headsets. This is a working prototype that will allow us to collect audience feedback to inform the development of this and other projects.

Click here to read more on the tech developer's own website.

Sotheby's New York January Sale

December 23 2021

Image of Sotheby's New York January Sale

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's New York have uploaded their January Old Master Paintings sale online. The auction will take place on 27th January 2022.

Amongst their top lots are Botticelli's The Man of Sorrows estimated in excess of $40m; Giovanni Bellini's The Madonna and Child estimated at $3m - $5m; Correggio's Saint Mary Magdalen Reading estimated at $4.5m - $5.5m; Artemisia Gentileschi's Portrait of a Lady estimated at $2m - $3m; Andrea Del Sarto's Portrait of a Man estimated at $2m - $3m; A Still life of fraises-de-bois by Adriaen Coorte estimated at $1.5m - $2m; Nicolas de Largillierre's portrait of a Lady as Pomona estimated at $1m - $1.5m; Pieter van Mol's Diogenes with his lantern looking for an honest man estimated at $2m - $3m and Jacobus Vrel's Old Woman Seated with a Young Girl estimated at $300k - $500k (pictured). 

___________________

With 57 lots in the evening sale alone, this auction might well be one to watch.

The Royal Collection is Hiring!

December 16 2021

Image of The Royal Collection is Hiring!

Picture: RCT

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Royal Collection Trust are hiring an Assistant Curator of Drawings and Prints.

According to the job description:

The Royal Collection contains an internationally important collection of 40,000 drawings and watercolours and 120,000 prints, from the fifteenth century to the present day. 

Taking on a wide range of curatorial activities, you’ll ensure that the collection is accessible to all, through study and group visits, public enquiries, learning events, loans and exhibitions. 

You’ll develop your expertise and in-depth knowledge, and uncover the stories behind our collection. And you'll share your knowledge through a wide range of platforms, creating and delivering talks and social media content that aim to inspire and engage with the broadest audience possible. 

You'll help make sure the records of the collection are expertly maintained and enhanced. And you’ll bring this knowledge to a worldwide audience, keeping our online database up to date and easy to use.

The salary on offer is between £24,000 - £26,000 per annum and applications must be in by 9th January 2022.

Good luck if you're applying!

Forgeries? Forgeries!

December 16 2021

Image of Forgeries? Forgeries!

Picture: ngprague.cz

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery Prague opened an exhibition last month at the Sternberg Palace on Forgeries? Forgeries! 

According to the exhibition blurb:

The exhibition Forgeries? Forgeries! mounted in Sternberg Palace on Hradčanské náměstí square will show imitations of medieval paintings, sculptures and drawings. It will present forgeries executed in the style of the Dutch Old Masters of the 17th century, as well as fake works allegedly by prominent Czech painters of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition, there will be objects imitating non-European works of art, such as Oriental carpets and arts-and-crafts objects. Works on paper will also be displayed. The exhibition will include a number of iconic vases from foreign collections that brought worldwide fame to their creators and it will acquaint visitors with forgeries that are in the National Gallery’s holdings. Attention will also be devoted to famous masters’ signatures on paintings, which are no proof whatsoever that the artists had actually painted them. 

Visitors to the exhibition will learn in an intriguing way about the methods used to verify the authenticity of works of art. This will give them the opportunity to acquire further knowledge about the “behind-the-scenes” work of the National Gallery’s whole team of specialists ⁠–⁠ from curators, to conservators-restorers, to chemists in the laboratory. The exhibition will explain to visitors the difference between a replica, copy, imitation and forgery, executed for purposes of financial gain.

The show will run until 1st May 2022.

Only 10% of Italy's State Owned Art is on Display

December 16 2021

Image of Only 10% of Italy's State Owned Art is on Display

Picture: TAN

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has published a piece on Italy's continuing efforts to get more of their state-owned art on view. The most recent project in this vein is the so-called 'One Hundred Works Return Home' initiative, which sees one hundred artworks from fourteen museums head off to lesser-known public museums. Planning for the initiative began in 2015 and €1m has been allocated for conservation, transportation and display costs.

Apologies...

December 16 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for the slow service this week. I'm currently away travelling and it seems that there isn't much news breaking this week. As always, I'm most grateful for all readers who get in touch with stories and other related materials!

2022 Release: Sebastiano and Michelangelo

December 15 2021

Image of 2022 Release: Sebastiano and Michelangelo

Picture: brepols.net

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

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

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

Matthias Wivel — The Compass and the Mirror 

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

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

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

Arnold Nesselrath — Raphael: Of Heirs and Pretenders 

Matthias Wivel and Rachel Billinge — Sebastiano’s Vich Triptych 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Late Caravaggio (?) on Display in Camaiore

December 15 2021

Image of A Late Caravaggio (?) on Display in Camaiore

Picture: Finestresullarte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a curious story from Italy. The Museo di Arte Sacra in Camaiore, Italy, are exhibition a painting of Saint John the Baptist from a Maltese private collection. Some scholars suggest that the work could be one of the paintings Caravaggio had in his workshop right at the end of his life. The painting was very badly damaged in the past and various restorations have left areas (particularly the face) looking rather disfigured. Scholars Roberta Lapucci and Mina Gregori have been in favour of an attribution to Caravaggio, however, Pietro Di Loreto and Vittorio Sgarbi have been against.

Click on the link above to read the full story.

The painting will be on display until 31st December 2021, in case any readers of AHN want to go and have a look to make up their own minds.

Pontormo Drawings Exhibition in Rome

December 15 2021

Image of Pontormo Drawings Exhibition in Rome

Picture: grafica.beniculturali.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new exhibition of drawings by Pontormo opened at the Istituto Centrale per La Grafica in Rome yesterday. This is the first time all of the institute's drawings by the artist have been on display at the same time. Many, due to their state of preservation, have never been on public display before.

The show will run until 20th March 2022.

Lead White to help Date Dutch Paintings?

December 13 2021

Image of Lead White to help Date Dutch Paintings?

Picture: Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

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

Here's the abstract:

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

Angelica Kauffman's Self-Portrait in Bregenzerwald Costume

December 13 2021

Video: finestresullarte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Finestresullarte have teamed up with the director of the Tiroler Landesmuseen, Peter Assmann, to create this video (in Italian) describing Angelica Kauffman's Self-Portrait in Bregenzerwald Costume. This cosutme reflects the dress from the area in which she was born, and the painting itself is now preserved in the Tiroler Landesmuseen, Innsbruck.

Latest Edition: Jordaens Van Dyck Journal

December 13 2021

Image of Latest Edition: Jordaens Van Dyck Journal

Picture: JVDPPP

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

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

Here are the contents:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UK Export Ban on Rare Portrait

December 10 2021

Image of UK Export Ban on Rare Portrait

Picture: Trevanion Auctions

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Government has placed a temporary export ban on a rare seventeenth century double portrait highlighted on this blog earlier in the summer. The painting, depicting two ladies with kabbalistic symbols glued to their faces, achieved £220,000 (hammer price) at auction over its top estimate of £4,000.

Cultural institutions are being asked whether they'd like to make a bid to keep it in the country.

According to committee members Pippa Shirley and Christopher Baker:

This anonymous painting is a great rarity in British art, as a mid-seventeenth-century work that depicts a black woman and a white woman with equal status. It is not a portrait of real people, as far as we know, but the inscription reveals that it is in fact a sternly moralising picture that condemns the use of cosmetics, and specifically elaborate beauty patches, which were in vogue at the time. 

Although not distinguished artistically, its imagery relates in fascinating ways to contemporary stereotypes of women, fashion, and, through the juxtaposition of the figures, race. The fact that it has only recently emerged, and only one other related painting is known so far, and that it could be used to explore important aspects of black culture in seventeenth-century Britain, makes it particularly important that it remains in this country so that its meaning can be widely studied and understood. 

Further research could reveal how the picture connects with contemporary print culture and texts, and the contexts and purposes for which it might have been created and displayed.

Interested parties have until 9th March 2022 to find £272,800 to save the work for the nation.

Conserved Van Gogh Self-Portrait to be Exhibited in London

December 10 2021

Image of Conserved Van Gogh Self-Portrait to be Exhibited in London

Picture: Kröller-Müller Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published an interesting article on news that a recently conserved Self-Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh will be included within the Courtauld Gallery's upcoming Van Gogh Self-Portraits exhibition (opening in February 2022). The work in question is the 1887 Self Portrait owned by the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands (pictured).

According to the article:

The self-portrait was varnished in the mid-20th century and this coating eventually became yellowed and dirty, obscuring much of Van Gogh’s detail and deadening its full impact. A photograph of the work nearly half completed, in November, shows quite what a difference this makes. 

Although most of Van Gogh’s paintings are on canvas, this was done on cardboard. Hardly surprisingly, the edges of the board have become fragile, so earlier this year it was decided to mount the cardboard on a supportive backing.

...

Many of Van Gogh’s paintings have suffered colour changes, particularly with fading red pigments, due to light exposure. The Kröller-Müller self-portrait is no exception, and traces of the original stronger tones can be seen on the very edge of the board, where the image was protected by the framing.

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