Previous Posts: December 2021

Baroque Brilliance: Drawings and Prints by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

December 10 2021

Image of Baroque Brilliance: Drawings and Prints by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

Picture: @KunsthausZurich

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Kunsthaus Zurich have just opened their latest exhibition entitled Baroque Brilliance: Drawings and Prints by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione.

According to the exhibition's blurb:

Castiglione embodies everything that makes the Baroque so enduringly fascinating: its celebration of inspired artistic brilliance, opulent magnificence and a striving to enrapture the viewer’s senses. Yet Castiglione, who hailed from Genoa and was also dubbed ‘Il Grechetto’, has been overshadowed by Italy’s more celebrated artists. The last comprehensive exhibition to focus on his graphic works called him a ‘lost genius’. He carved out a path of his own between Titian, Bernini and Poussin – artists whom he greatly admired – and left behind a highly individual body of work that curators Jonas Beyer and Timothy J. Standring have condensed into a representative exhibition of some 80 works on paper. It is the first monographic presentation of Castiglione’s graphic oeuvre in a German-speaking country.

The show will run until 6th March 2022.

Christie's £10.41m vs. Sotheby's £18.86m

December 10 2021

Image of Christie's £10.41m vs. Sotheby's £18.86m

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This week saw the major Old Master Paintings sales in London.

Christie's Evening Sale on Tuesday realised £10.41m (all figures inc. commission) with roughly 70.22% of lots sold.*

The two lots that soared away in the Christie's sale were Peter Brueghel the Younger's Massacre of the Innocents which realised £2,422,500 (all amounts inc. commission) over its £1m - £1.5m estimate and a Florentine School c.1500 tondo (pictured) which made £500,000 over its £80k - £120k estimate.

Sotheby's Evening Sale on Wednesday realised £18.86m with roughly 81.82% of lots sold.**

Van Dyck's two portraits of Jacob de Witte and Maria Nutius managed to hit the top end of their estimate by achieving £6,172,800 over their £4m - £6m estimate. Quite a few of the Sotheby's pictures that sold managed to break through their high estimates, including Rubens's The Abduction of Ganymede which realised 716,800 over its £300k - £400k estimate; Turner's Cilgerran Castle which realised £1,043,500 over its £300k - £500k estimate; A marine by Constable which realised £813,600 over its £200k - £300k estimate and one of a pair of Boucher and Studio scenes which realised £195,300 over its £60k - £80k estimate.

The standout picture of the day sale, the aforementioned Portrait of an Old Man 'Attributed to Frans Hals', smashed through its estimate of £80k - £120k to realise £1,951,000.

Perhaps the most disappointing results were the two major Constables of Salisbury Cathedral and the rediscovered Glebe Farm that failed to find buyers. This was despite the large amount of press both pictures received in the press.

The Art Newspaper run a piece on the sales with the title that 'There are too many auctions and not enough collectors.' The articles places the blame on sluggish sales on the lack of supply of good pictures, the rising infection rate and the difficulties encountered due to Britain leaving the EU.

* - This amount is calculated by missing lot numbers.

 ** - This % does not include 3 missing lot numbers.

MET Removes Sackler Name from Exhibits

December 10 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York are the latest cultural institution to reconsider who they receive donations from. The museum have decided to remove the Sackler family name from their exhibits due ongoing lawsuits relating to the family "being blamed for fueling the deadly opioids crisis in America..."

According to the article linked above:

The museum’s decision follows several years of hundreds of civil lawsuits and civil and criminal investigations into some members of the Sackler family who own the Connecticut-based company Purdue Pharma, which makes the powerful painkiller OxyContin.


The Met announced that the families of the late Mortimer Sackler and the late Raymond Sackler “have mutually agreed to take this action” in order to allow the museum to further its “core mission”. 

A statement from the descendants of the two brothers said: “Our families have always strongly supported The Met, and we believe this to be in the best interest of the Museum and the important mission that it serves.” 

The statement added: “The earliest of these gifts were made almost 50 years ago, and now we are passing the torch to others who might wish to step forward to support the Museum.”

Zaganelli Acquisition Celebrated with Exhibition

December 10 2021

Image of Zaganelli Acquisition Celebrated with Exhibition

Picture: Museo Civico Luigi Varoli

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museo Civico Luigi Varoli, Palazzo Sforza, in Cotignola, Italy, will be opening a special exhibition tomorrow to celebrate their recent acquisition of Bernardino and Francesco Zaganelli's Christ Carrying the Cross (pictured). The picture, dating to c.1510, was produced by the brothers who were born in the town. Three of the nine variations of the work will be on display for visitors to compare and contrast along with other works including contemporary interpretations of the picture.

The show will run until 6th March 2022.

Rijksmusem Set to Pay €175m for Rembrandt?

December 10 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems that the Dutch government is ready to assist the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in purchasing the Rothchild Standard Bearer by Rembrandt for €175m. The museum itself is reportedly ready to put forward €10m while the Dutch State (and taxpayers) will put up the rest. The painting, which has been with the Rothchild family since 1844, will complete a tour of the Netherlands before being hung in the Rijksmuseum.

France Pulls out of Rembrandt Purchase

December 8 2021

Image of France Pulls out of Rembrandt Purchase

Picture: @mweilc

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for the slow service, I'm currently away lecturing. I'll share some news as and when I can.

However, very interesting news from France that the French State (i.e. the Louvre) have pulled out of buying Rembrandt's The Standard Bearer (pictured). The painting was put up for sale by the Rothchilds two and a half years ago and had been declared a national treasure by the French ministry of culture. This means the painting can now be placed back onto the art market and thus leave France.

Christopher Walken Destroys Banksy

December 7 2021

Video: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for missing this rather amusing story last month. The BBC's new tv drama / comedy The Outlaws made the headlines for showing Hollywood actor Christopher Walken destroying a genuine Banksy mural. Walken's character, who was serving community service in the show, painted over and destroyed a graffiti rat painted by the world-famous artist. As it turns out, Banksy seems to have created the mural especially for the series. I wonder if anyone has been searching for set location to chip the painting off the wall and remove the overpaint!

Treating Frescos with Light?

December 6 2021

Image of Treating Frescos with Light?


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from Italy that scholars from the University of Bologna and the Spanish firm CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) have invented and patented a new technique to treat painted frescos. The technique involved coating frescos with a certain solution that is then subjected to light of a specific wavelength that helps dissolve calcium carbonate crystals. Such crystals are said to be one of the main causes for frescos to deteriorate. This method, it seems, can be used in a very precise way and is equally rather cost effective too.

The image pictured purports to show frescos treated using this very technique.

Drawing of Velázquez's Funeral (?) up for Sale

December 6 2021

Image of Drawing of Velázquez's Funeral (?) up for Sale


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Spanish Press (spotted via. @Boro_RR) have shared news of a curious drawing of Diego Velázquez's funeral that is coming up for sale at auction in Spain. The work on paper was created by Antonio González Velázquez (1723-1793), no relation, 112 years after Diego Velázquez's death in 1660. It is not clear whether the drawing is a copy of some source, since lost, or is just a work of pure imagination. The bidding for the 'unique' drawing will start at €25,000.

New Release: Rembrandt's Hundred Guilder Print

December 6 2021

Image of New Release: Rembrandt's Hundred Guilder Print

Picture: Lund Humphries

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Lund Humphries will be releasing Amy Golahny's latest book later this month entitled Rembrandt's Hundred Guilder Print: His Master Etching.

According to the book's blurb:

Always recognised as a master print from the moment of its appearance around 1649, the Hundred Guilder Print is one of Rembrandt's most compositionally complex and visually beautiful works. 

This book gives a full overview of the fascinating story surrounding this print, from its genesis and market value to attitudes towards it in the present day. Focusing on the tradition of printmaking as well as the reception of the print in Rembrandt's time, Golahny explores the ways the artist made visual references to the work of such masters as Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci, while uniquely combining aspects of Christ's ministry.

CFP: Fat Bodies in the Early Modern World

December 6 2021

Image of CFP: Fat Bodies in the Early Modern World

Picture: @hrfletcher_

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting summer conference which is taking shape for Summer 2022. A group of scholars from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester and the Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, are putting together a conference on Fat Bodies in the Early Modern World. A call for papers has been published with lots of possibilities for art historians too it seems.

According to the CFP:

In the emerging field of Fat Studies, historical overviews about the perception and  representation of fat and dieting tend to focus on the 19th and 21st centuries. An early exception was Elena Levy-Navarro’s The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late  Modernity (2008) which sought to situate the beginnings of ‘modern’ fat hatred in the early modern period. Inspired by Mikhail Bakthin and Norbert Elias, Levy-Navarro  argued that the premodern period was a ‘time before fat’, as she suggested it was only with the development of a ‘civilized elite’ that the individualized, self-contained body  could be ‘violated by fat flesh’.

More recent studies, however, such as Georges Vigarello’s Les  métamorphoses du gras. Histoire de l’obésité du Moyen Âge au  XXe siècle (2010) or Christopher E. Forth’s Fat. A Cultural  History of the Stuff of life (2019) have demonstrated that the slim silhouette could already be an ideal for European elites in the Medieval period and that the fat body could be viewed as socially  inferior from Roman Antiquity onwards. Moreover, scholars such as Michael Stolberg and Maria-Carla Gadebusch Bondio, have shown how physicians’ advice manuals containing instructions on how to avoid fatness were printed as early as the 1480s, and that the treatment of obesity became part of the university medical curriculum in the later sixteenth century.

Abstracts should be submitted by 15th January 2022.

Anna Dorothea Therbusch Exhibition in Berlin

December 6 2021

Image of Anna Dorothea Therbusch Exhibition in Berlin


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Berlin's Gemäldegalerie have just this weekend opened a new exhibition dedicated to the artist Anna Dorothea Therbusch (1721-1782).

According to the exhibition's blurb:

Three hundred years ago, on 23 July 1721, Anna Dorothea Therbusch was born in Berlin, who would go on to become one of the most important women artists of the 18th century. To mark the tercentenary of her birth, in autumn of 2021 the Gemäldegalerie is honouring this extraordinary artist and forerunner of women’s emancipation with a focussed special exhibition featuring key works from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s own collections.

To mark this tercentenary, in autumn 2021, the Gemäldegalerie is gathering together almost the entire collection of Therbusch works in the holdings of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in a focussed special exhibition centred around this major work. Complemented by key works from contemporaries, the show provides a comprehensive overview of the oeuvre and professional milieu of Anna Dorothea Therbusch, and of the age in which she lived.

The show will run until 10th April 2022.

San Diego Museum Acquires Ribera

December 4 2021

Image of San Diego Museum Acquires Ribera

Picture: San Diego Museum of Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has been in touch with news (via. @sandiegomuseumofart) that the San Diego Museum of Art have recently acquired Jusepe de Ribera's Susanna and the Elders (pictured). The museum have published a short podcast on the picture which is free to listen here.

Andrew Graham-Dixon at Sotheby's

December 4 2021

Video: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's have teamed up with the television art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon once more to give a preview of their upcoming Old Master Paintings sale. The video ends with a discussion of Botticelli's The Man of Sorrows which is coming up for sale in New York next year.

Rubens and His Global Enterprise

December 3 2021

Video: Getty Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a video I'll be trying to catch up with later (after I go and view some of the London OMP sales this afternoon). The Getty Museum have published this online lecture by curator Stephanie Schrader on Peter Paul Rubens and His Global Enterprise.

According to the blurb:

The 17th-century Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens worked in Antwerp, a bustling center of global trade where various cultures came into contact. To understand how this impacted his work, curator Stephanie Schrader investigates two of his drawings in the Getty Museum’s collection: Man in Korean Costume and Head Study for Balthazar. Both artworks provide important examples of the various misunderstandings that arose when Rubens depicted people of African and Korean descent. By viewing these works from religious, mercantile, and political perspectives, Schrader provides a nuanced examination of appropriation and cultural translation.

Italy's BPER Banca Exhibits its Giuseppe Zola Landscapes

December 3 2021

Image of Italy's BPER Banca Exhibits its Giuseppe Zola Landscapes

Picture: BPER Banca

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

An Italian bank based in Modena, BPER Banca, are exhibiting their privately owned collection of landscapes by Giuseppe Zola (Brescia, 1672 - 1743). The bank owns no fewer than 24 works by the artist and owns a private collection of over 1,000 works dating from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries.

The exhibition will be on display between 10th December 2021 - 13th March 2022.

Prado Acquires Francesco Francia's Saint Francis

December 3 2021

Image of Prado Acquires Francesco Francia's Saint Francis

Picture: Prado

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News via. the Spanish that the Prado Museum in Madrid have acquired Francesco Francia's painting of Saint Francis of Assisi for the sum of €70,000. The picture is said to be the Bolognese artist's only picture in a Spanish public collection and was purchased from a Private Collection in Spain.

'Largest Ever' Vermeer Show for 2023

December 3 2021

Image of 'Largest Ever' Vermeer Show for 2023

Picture: The Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam have announced that they will be organising the 'largest ever' exhibition on Vermeer in Spring 2023.

The show will include loans from around the world, including the Girl with a Pearl Earring (Mauritshuis, The Hague), The Geographer (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main), Woman writing with maid (The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin) and Woman with the scales (The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.). Paintings which have not been exhibited in the Netherlands in recent times will also be loaned, including the recently restored Dresden picture. A project focusing on Vermeer's materials and practises is also currently underway.

Not Giovanni, but Giannino Arnolfino (?)

December 1 2021

Image of Not Giovanni, but Giannino Arnolfino (?)

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (International Network for Curators of Dutch and Flemish Art) have drawn attention to the new edition of Simiolous: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art which features an article on the male sitter of Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery, London. The article, by Jan Verheyen, claims that the painting actually depicts Gianinno Arnolfini and not his uncle Giovanni.

I'm yet to get my hands on a copy of the article, but I'd be interested to hear from any readers who have!

Burlington Magazine - Photography

December 1 2021

Image of Burlington Magazine - Photography

Picture: Private Collection via. The Burlington Magazine

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

December's edition of the The Burlington Magazine focuses on the art of Photography. As usual, there are many interesting pieces to be found, including articles on on the museum photographer Isabel Agnes Cowper, Maria Ponti Pasolini’s photographic archive, Nicéphore Niépce and the industry of photographic replication and Ilse Bing at Glyndebourne.

In fact, this month's edition contains my debut article for the magazine (please forgive the shameless plug). The article focuses on a photograph which fell out of a book whilst I was scouring through a private library. It turned out to be an unrecorded photograph of Ellen Terry by the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (pictured). Furthermore, it shows Terry in her wedding dress which was designed by William Holman Hunt. The photograph is, I believe, connected to George Frederic Watt's 1864 painting of Terry known as Choosing (NPG), which shows her in the same dress, necklace and profile pose. Find yourself a copy to read more.

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