Previous Posts: May 2021

The National Gallery are hiring two Curatorial Fellows

May 25 2021

Image of The National Gallery are hiring two Curatorial Fellows

Picture: FT

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London are hiring two curatorial fellows.

The Vivmar Curatorial Fellow and the The Harry M. Weinrebe Curatorial Fellow are both full time 22-month fixed term contract positions within the European paintings departments at the gallery. Furthermore, both positions come with an annual salary of £32,445.

Applications must be in by 6th June 2021.

Good luck if you're applying!

Velázquez's Saint Thomas in Orleans

May 25 2021

Image of Velázquez's Saint Thomas in Orleans

Picture: Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans will be opening their latest exhibition next month dedicated to Diego Velázquez's Saint Thomas. The show will chart the painting's interesting history, including the change of attribution from Murillo to Velázquez made in 1920 by the Italian art historian Robert Longhi. Two other apostles from the same series have also been loaned in from museums in Barcelona and Seville.

The exhibition will run until 14th November 2021.

NGA Acquires other half of Dosso Dossi Painting

May 25 2021

Image of NGA Acquires other half of Dosso Dossi Painting

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC have announced their acquisition of a Landscape by Dosso Dossi (also known as The Trojans Building the Temple to Venus at Eryx and Making Offerings at Anchises’s Grave) from the recent Christie's Old Master Paintings Sale in New York. Indeed, the gallery already owned the other half of the painting Aeneas and Achates on the Libyan Coast. This sixteenth century masterpiece was originally part of the decorations made for Duke Alfonso d’Este’s study in Ferrara. It is believed that work had been separated into two during the later nineteenth century.

Fortunately, Christie's spliced the two images together for their catalogue note, which makes for very interesting reading:

Restoration reveals Silver Eyes of Cellini Bust

May 25 2021

Image of Restoration reveals Silver Eyes of Cellini Bust

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Museum of Bargello in Florence, Italy, have shared news that a recent campaign of restoration has revealed the original silver eyes of Benvenuto Cellini's bust of Cosimo I de' Medici. The silver foil, which was an original part of Cellini's work dating to 1545-48, had become obscured by centuries of grime and a dark coating which may have been applied to the sculpture in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. The delicate process of removing the later layers was undertaken by conservator Ludovica Nicolai.

For those wanting to see the results of this interesting project, the newly restored bust will be heading to the MET's upcoming exhibition on Medici Portraits.

Jacobus Vrel Catalogue Raisonné

May 25 2021

Image of Jacobus Vrel Catalogue Raisonné

Picture: Hirmer

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news today regarding the publication of a new monograph and catalogue raisonné dedicated to the elusive Dutch Golden Age painter Jacobus Vrel (fl. 1654-1662). The publication has been edited by scholars Bernd Ebert, Cécile Tainturier and Quentin Buvelot and was originally planned to coincide with an exhibition which has been pushed back to 2023.

According to the write up from CODART:

His pictures look rather odd, his figures introverted and his street scenes curiously stage-like. Jacobus Vrel appears to record everyday life in the Dutch Republic during the 17th century, yet creates miraculous worlds at the same time. The painter himself is like a phantom. In spite of years of research, the mystery surrounding his identity remains unsolved. We only know his name from a single contemporary inventory and from the signatures on his 50-surviving works, which can scarcely be compared with those of his contemporaries. Vrel was a pioneer in his field. In their austerity and sometimes oppressive silence, his paintings seem unexpectedly modern, and it is for that reason that they are compared with the work of Vilhelm Hammershøi. 

With detective-like investigations from the authors, and extensive technical examinations of the paintings, this monograph explores the enigmatic pictures of an artist whose works were once thought to have been created by Vermeer. The volume’s three editors, Bernd Ebert, Cécile Tainturier and Quentin Buvelot (all CODART members) present a monograph-cum-catalogue raisonné that examines Vrel’s oeuvre from different angles and contributes significantly to our understanding of this elusive painter. The present publication is the result of an international research project that brought together the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich, the Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection in Paris and the Mauritshuis in The Hague, working in close cooperation with numerous international specialists from a variety of disciplines.

As is the custom on AHN, the publication of a new catalogue raisonné will earn Ebert, Tainturier and Buvelot a place in the highly coveted Heroes of Art History section of this blog.

Robilant+Voena Reunite Portraits of Napoleon and Josephine after 200 Years

May 24 2021

Image of Robilant+Voena Reunite Portraits of Napoleon and Josephine after 200 Years

Picture: Robilant+Voena

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

London art dealers Robilant+Voena have reunited two portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine for the first time in 200 years for a special exhibition at their Dover Street premises (finishes 27th June 2021). Both pictures were completed in 1796 by Italian artist Andrea Appiani to celebrate their marriage. The paintings were eventually split up during the course of the next century. To make this reunion possible, the portrait of Napoleon has been loaned by the Earl of Rosebery and joins the painting of Josephine which the dealers have been offering for sale.

Jan Matejko's Copernicus at the National Gallery

May 24 2021

Image of Jan Matejko's Copernicus at the National Gallery

Picture: The National Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London have opened a small free exhibition on Jan Matejko's painting Copernicus. This masterpiece of nineteenth century Polish painting is on loan from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. To celebrate, the gallery are running a few free events including an online talk on 3rd June 2021.

The work will be on display for visitors until 22nd August 2021.

Sleeper Alert!

May 24 2021

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: Enchères Côte d'Opale

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

There was news on Twitter over the weekend (via. @autionradar) that the above painting catalogued as 'Dans le Goût de SAENRENDAM Pieter Jansz' realised €290,000 (hammer price) over its €300 estimate at Enchères Côte d'Opale on Saturday.

(Women) Artists at Sotheby's (ctd.)

May 24 2021

Image of (Women) Artists at Sotheby's (ctd.)

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Online bidding has opened for Sotheby's new (Women) Artists Sale which ends on 27th May 2021. On the old masters front, there are works by Lavinia Fontana, Rachel Ruysch, Catarina Ykens (pictured), Mary Beale (reserve already met), and a picture attributed to Jeanne Elisabeth Chaudet. As usual, the catalogue notes make for very interesting reading.

I'll report back once the sale ends!

Stolen Painting Found Hanging in Italian Restaurant

May 24 2021

Image of Stolen Painting Found Hanging in Italian Restaurant

Picture: dissapore.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A curious piece of news from Florence, Italy.

A member of the Italian Carabinieri discovered a stolen painting while sitting down to a meal at a local restaurant. The work in question was a fragment from the Madonna del Rosario which was stolen from the Church of SS. Salvatore di Calvanico, Salerno, in 1976. The officer, who is also an art expert, spotted the picture whilst at a meal and thought it may have originated from a larger work. A brief investigation was begun and a ring of art thefts relating to six stolen paintings was uncovered relating an organisation in Campania. As it turns out, the restaurant owner had purchased the work in good faith at an antiques market during the 1970s. The work has since been returned.

Here's an image that shows the stolen fragments that has been published in Italy:

Rosary Beads owned by Mary Queen of Scots Stolen

May 24 2021

Image of Rosary Beads owned by Mary Queen of Scots Stolen

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Extremely sad news emerged over the weekend that a set of Rosary Beads once owned by Mary Queen of Scots were stolen from Arundel Castle last Friday night. These treasures, owned by the Duke of Norfolk, seem to have been target alongside other precious metal objects.

According to reports:

Staff were alerted to the break-in at 22:30 BST on Friday after a burglar alarm went off. 

Sussex Police told the BBC the thieves entered through a window and smashed a glass cabinet to grab the items. 

Det Con Molly O'Malley said the force thinks a 4x4 saloon found abandoned and on fire in nearby Barlavington "was linked" to the raid. 

The castle spokesman said the rosary had "little intrinsic value as metal" but was "irreplaceable".

Fingers crossed that they will be recovered and that other private collections and stately homes will be as vigilant as ever.

'Fierce Looking Woman' on Display after 60 Years in Storage

May 21 2021

Image of 'Fierce Looking Woman' on Display after 60 Years in Storage

Picture: Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham have announced that they have redisplayed a Portrait of an Unknown Lady, a picture which has been in storage for the past sixty years. The work was originally purchased in the 1940s as a work by Francisco Goya. However, recent research has revealed that it might be a rare work by the Puerto Rican artist José Campeche (1751-1809).

According to the museum's catalogue entry online:

Acquired in 1940 as a portrait by the great Spanish artist Francisco Goya of his mother, this attribution has long been dismissed – along with the authenticity of two accompanying letters, also supposedly by Goya, that mention the painting. Recently, several specialists have suggested it is by José Campeche. A Puertorican artist whose father was a freed Black slave, Campeche is now acclaimed as the finest painter working in central America in the 18th century. The identity of the sitter remains unknown, but her brooch represents the Virgin of Solitude: she may have been a member of a specific lay religious society in Puerto Rico.

Upcoming Release: Illuminating Natural History

May 21 2021

Image of Upcoming Release: Illuminating Natural History

Picture: Yale University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Paul Mellon Centre have announced next month's new release written by the scholar Henrietta McBurney entitled Illuminating Natural History: The Art and Science of Mark Catesby.

According to the publication's blurb:

This book explores the life and work of the celebrated eighteenth-century English naturalist, explorer, artist and author Mark Catesby (1683–1749). During Catesby’s lifetime, science was poised to shift from a world of amateur virtuosi to one of professional experts. Working against a backdrop of global travel that incorporated collecting and direct observation of nature, Catesby spent two prolonged periods in the New World – in Virginia (1712–19) and South Carolina and the Bahamas (1722–6). In his majestic two-volume Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1731–43), esteemed by his contemporary John Bartram as ‘an ornament for the finest library in the world’, he reflected the excitement, drama and beauty of the natural world. Interweaving elements of art history, history of science, natural history illustration, painting materials, book history, paper studies, garden history and colonial history, this meticulously researched volume brings together a wealth of unpublished images as well as newly discovered letters by Catesby, which, with their first-hand accounts of his collecting and encounters in the wild, bring the story of this extraordinary pioneer naturalist vividly to life.

Sotheby's Results

May 21 2021

Image of Sotheby's Results

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Yesterday's Master Paintings sale at Sotheby's New York realised a total of $6,936,618 with 69.7% of lots sold.

Many of the top lots managed to hit their estimates. Amongst the pictures that exceeded their estimates were Allori's Portrait of a Lady which made $315,000 over its $150k - $200k estimate; Paris Bordone's Portrait of a Woman which made $75,600 over its rather tempting $15k - $20k estimate; a 'Workshop of Botticelli' Madonna and Child which realised $239,400 over its $100k - $150k estimate; Jan Brueghel II and Francken II's floral Madonna which made $63,000 over its $20k - $30k estimate and Rudolph von Alt's view of the Doge's Palace which made $132,300 over its $40k - $60k estimate.

A Dubious 'Rembrandt' in South Africa

May 21 2021

Image of A Dubious 'Rembrandt' in South Africa

Picture: theconversation.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Scholar Gerard de Kamper and Conservator Isabelle McGinn of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, have penned a short blog giving an account of their recent research into a painting owned by the University. Indeed, the painting was gifted to the institution in 1976 and bore a traditional attribution to Rembrandt. The picture's provenance too, which could be traced in publications by the likes of Hofstede de Groot, seemed to suggest that the painting was taken seriously in the past. However, all of this was dashed after zinc white and barium sulphate were found in the work, materials which were only started to being produced in the mid nineteenth-century.

Update - A reader has pointed out that they could have saved themselves a lot of bother if they had simply spotted the work was a much later copy of this picture in the Leiden Collection.

Rescheduled TEFAF Maastricht Cancelled

May 21 2021

Image of Rescheduled TEFAF Maastricht Cancelled

Picture: TEFAF

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It has been announced that TEFAF Maastricht 2021 (The European Fine Art Foundation) has been cancelled for this year. The in-person fair had already been rescheduled for September, however, 'careful consideration of current global circumstances' has put an end to that. As per 2020, the organisation will be hosting another online fair this year instead. Special plans seem to be afoot for March 2022 when the fair will be celebrating its 35th Anniversary.

Traces of Gold uncovered on Donatello Sculpture

May 20 2021

Image of Traces of Gold uncovered on Donatello Sculpture

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Traces of gilding have been uncovered on a recently conserved marble statue of San Marco by Donatello kept by the Museum of Orsanmichele in Florence. The discovery was made during a recent conservation and scanning project, indicating that the hair, beard and robes of the figure were once a golden colour. The statue was completed in 1411 when Donatello was a mere twenty-five years old.

Restored Mattia Preti Fresco unveiled in Naples

May 20 2021

Image of Restored Mattia Preti Fresco unveiled in Naples

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A recently restored fresco by Mattia Preti (1613-1699) on the Porta San Gennaro in Naples has been revealed to the public. This latest campaign of restoration was begun in September 2019, by the company AReN, and continued throughout the pandemic. It was during the 1990s when the fragile wall painting was last conserved, a ritual that must be undertaken every few decades as this area of the city suffers greatly from pollution from fumes.

Medici Portraits at the MET

May 20 2021

Image of Medici Portraits at the MET

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's something to look forward to next month.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will be opening their latest old master paintings exhibition on 26th June 2021 entitled The Medici: Portraits & Politics, 1512-1570.

According to the exhibition description:

Through an outstanding group of portraits, this major loan exhibition will introduce visitors to the new and complex ways artists portrayed the elite of Medicean Florence, representing the sitters' political and cultural ambitions and conveying the changing sense of what it meant to be a Florentine at this defining moment in the city's history. The exhibition will feature over 90 works in a wide range of mediums, from drawings, medals, and engravings to sculptural busts, paintings, books, and manuscripts. Included are works by the period's most celebrated artists, from Raphael, Jacopo Pontormo, and Rosso Fiorentino to Benvenuto Cellini, Agnolo Bronzino, and Francesco Salviati.

For those unable to make it to New York this summer, one hopes that the museum will be producing some of its excellent free YouTube videos for us all to enjoy.

The show will run until 11th October 2021.

Sleeper Alert!

May 19 2021

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: Millon

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News on Twitter (via. @Mweilc) that the following marble sculpture catalogued as 'ECOLE ITALIENNE DU XIXÈME, DANS LE GOÛT DU BERNIN' smashed through its €6k - €8k estimate to realise €110,500 (inc. fees) at the auction house Millon in Paris. The name of Filippo Parodi (1630-1702) has been whispered by some online.

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