Previous Posts: May 2021

Private Tour of the Hyacinthe Rigaud Exhibition

May 10 2021

Video: Scribe Accroupi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For those of us who will not be able to make it to the Hyacinthe Rigaud exhibition at Versailles, a brilliant private tour has been published online! The tour is taken by Ariane James-Sarazin, conservatrice générale du Patrimoine française and directrice adjointe du musée de l’Armée et commissaire scientifique de l’exposition.

Sotheby's Mid-Season NY Sale

May 8 2021

Image of Sotheby's Mid-Season NY Sale

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's New York have published the online catalogue for their upcoming mid-season Master Paintings Sale. The sale will take place on 20th May 2021.

Amongst the many interesting top lots are An early re-discovered Canaletto View of the Grand Canal and Rialto bridge estimated at $400k - $600k; An Italianate Landscape by Jan Both estimated at $400k - $600k; An interesting set of Bird Still Lives from the Marion Collection including this fine Hondecoeter estimated at $200k - $300k; A portrait of a Lady by Allesandro Allori (pictured) estimated at $150k - $200k; A Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia of St. Elizabeth of Hungary estimated at $250k - $350k and a Juan de Espinosa Still Life estimated at $150k - $250k.

Leonardo Bear Drawing Coming up for Sale at Christie's

May 8 2021

Image of Leonardo Bear Drawing Coming up for Sale at Christie's

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news today that Christie's will be offering a drawing of a Head of a Bear by Leonardo da Vinci in their upcoming July sale in London. The drawing has a distinguished British provenance as it was in the collection of the painter Thomas Lawrence PRA and was later purchased by the dealer Samuel Woodburn. It is believed to be only one of eight drawings by Leonardo left in private hands.

Reports suggest the the rare drawing will carry an estimate of £8m - £12m.

More news when it appears!

Update - Here is the official press release from Christie's.

BPER Banca Host Emilian Baroque Exhibition

May 7 2021

Image of BPER Banca Host Emilian Baroque Exhibition


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

BPER Banca in Modena, Italy, opened a new exhibition today dedicated to Emilian Baroque paintings of the seventeenth century. The exhibition entitled Corrispondenze barocche will draw heavily from the bank and Civic Museum's collection of works by the likes of Lucio Massari (Bologna, 1539-1633), Alessandro Tiarini (Bologna, 1577-1668) (pictured), Giovanni Francesco Barbieri detto il Guercino (Cento, 1591 - Bologna, 1666), Ludovico Lana (Codigoro, 1597 - Modena, 1646), Jean Boulanger (Troyes, 1608 - Modena, 1660), Michele Desubleo (Maubege, 1602 - Parma, 1676), Luca Ferrari (Reggio Emilia, 1605 - Padua, 1654) and Francesco Stringa (Modena, 1635-1709).

The exhibition will run till 22nd August 2021.

Horace Walpole's Catherine de Medici Family Portrait Accepted in Lieu

May 7 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News broke today of a monumental portrait of Catherine de’ Medici and Her Children, attributed to the Workshop of François Clouet, being accepted as part of the UK lieu of tax scheme. The portrait had been in the possession of the eighteenth-century collector Horace Walpole and will now return to his former residence Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham.

According an article published by The Guardian:

Dr Silvia Davoli, the curator at Strawberry Hill House, said Catherine’s gestures are highly symbolic, as she simultaneously presents the young monarch and protectively keeps him close to her, reflecting the substantial influence she held over the political life of France and the control and guidance she exercised over her son’s rule. It also shows the bond between members of the family – they are close and look alike.

The portrait settled £1m in tax and was brokered by the auction house Sotheby's. Visitors will be able to see the painting when the house reopens later this month.

Caravaggio Sweatshirts & Shorts

May 7 2021

Image of Caravaggio Sweatshirts & Shorts

Picture: Defaultclub

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Instagram must be harvesting too much information regarding my interests, as it's decided to bombard me with adverts for Default Club's new range of Caravaggio 'streetwear' clothing.

I wonder if Caravaggio could have ever imagined his religious masterpieces being reused for printed clothing centuries after his death. Sweatshirts, t-shirts, backpacks and shorts can all be purchased with his paintings plastered over them, with prices ranging from €25 - €55 (excluding shipping).

Personally, I feel rather obliged to purchase this particular sweatshirt for myself.

Center for Netherlandish Art to Celebrate Van Dyck's Icarus

May 7 2021

Image of Center for Netherlandish Art to Celebrate Van Dyck's Icarus

Picture: Van Otterloo Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, are running a special program of online lectures to celebrate Van Dyck's Self-Portrait as Icarus with Daedalus. The painting, dating to 1618, is a promised gift from the Van Otterloo Collection to the gallery.

The program of lectures will be broadcast online on 8th July 2021 12.00pm - 13.30pm EDT.

Here's the program in full:

Opening remarks: Yves Wantens, General Delegate of Flanders to the USA 

Introduction to the art of Anthony van Dyck at the MFA: Christopher Atkins, Van Otterloo-Weatherbie Director, Center for Netherlandish Art

In-depth investigation of Anthony van Dyck’s Self-portrait as Icarus: Katlijne Van der Stighelen, professor of Early Modern Art History, KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium 

Icarus as a subject in Flemish art, from Bruegel to Van Dyck and beyond: Larry Silver, James and Nan Wagner Farquhar Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania 

Roundtable conversation: Moderated by Antien Knaap, assistant curator, Art of Europe, MFA

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Acquires a Sofonisba Anguissola

May 7 2021

Image of Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Acquires a Sofonisba Anguissola

Picture: Bilbao Fine Arts Musuem

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum have announced their acquisition of The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine by Sofonisba Anguissola.

According to the museum's press release:

This painting by Sofonisba Anguissola was recently discovered, making it an extraordinary new addition to her small known body of religious works. Signed and dated by Anguissola herself, it is in an outstanding state of conservation and only required a slight intervention to participate in the exhibition A Tale of Two Women Painters: Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana, curated by Leticia Ruiz and held at the Museo del Prado in 2019, the first time the painting was seen in public.


The date of the work, 1588, indicates that it was painted in Genoa, the city where Sofonisba Anguissola lived between 1580 and 1615, when she enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle that enabled her to devote herself fully to painting. This leads us to believe that this was where she directly encountered the work by the same name by Luca Cambiaso—one of the top representatives of the Genoese school—which she faithfully reproduced on the canvas that now joins the collection of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. The artist may have been interested in this new iconography, which shows a Christ Child grown and very strongly resembling his mother, which humanises his figure and gives him a more important role in the scene.

Here's the write up from La Tribune de l'Art.

NPG send Richard III home to York

May 7 2021

Image of NPG send Richard III home to York

Picture: NPG

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

As the The National Portrait Gallery in London is currently closed due to a refurbishment project, the gallery are sending their celebrated sixteenth century portrait of King Richard III to York for a special exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum entitled Richard III Coming Home.

According to the museum's website:

The painting, which has become synonymous with the depiction of Richard III, is on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, London, and will be displayed alongside the museum’s outstanding collections associated with the King such as the magnificent Middleham Jewel, The Ryther Hoard and the Stillingfleet Boar Badge worn by one of his supporters. 

The loan to the Yorkshire Museum is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s  nation-wide COMING HOME project, that will see some of its most iconic works travel to the place they are most closely associated with.

The exhibition will run from 9th July - 31st October 2021.

Sala degli Avori in Bargello Museum Reopens after Six year Renovation

May 7 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Sala degli Avori in Florence's Bargello Museum has reopened after being closed for six years. More specfically, the newly renovated room holds the museum's collection of ivory sculpture including rare Etruscan and Roman objects to 19th-century artefacts. Many of the objects presented in the room were gifted by the Lyonnaise antique dealer Louis Carrand on his death in 1888. New glass cabinets have been installed alongside information displays bearing English translations for the first time in the museum's history.

New Release: Albert and the Whale

May 6 2021

Image of New Release: Albert and the Whale

Picture: Pegasus Books

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz: have produced an interesting write up of Philip Hoare's new book entitled Albert and the Whale: Albrecht Dürer and How Art Imagines Our World. The book is said to be a blend of "art history, biography, nature writing and memoir."

To quote the article linked above:

The book’s central figure — the one from which Hoare’s centrifugal energies radiate — is German artist Albrecht Dürer. The book’s marine angle, initially anyway, is a beached whale that Dürer traveled to see but never saw; perfectly indicative of the strange, seemingly spare ingredients that Hoare likes to turn into feasts. In Dürer’s time, whales “presented a great challenge and allure” to artists, because “they were so difficult to comprehend. Like God, no one could agree what they really looked like, or what they might be capable of.”


This book requires patience, and a mild tolerance for passing clouds of pretension or obscurity; but these hazards are just residual effects from the forceful weather system that is Hoare’s imagination...

Lecture: Mathematics and Art Conservation

May 6 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has kindly informed me of this rather intriguing free online lecture being broadcast by St Cross College at the University of Oxford. Professor Ingrid Daubechies of Duke University will be giving The 7th Lorna Casselton Memorial Lecture on the subject of Mathematics and Art Conservation. Prof. Daubechies has previously been involved in using image-processing algorithms to digitally restore paintings and has also worked with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to create digital processes to identify forgeries.

The lecture will be broadcast on 13th May 2021 at 17.00 GMT. The lecture is free to attend but you'll have to register with the University of Oxford's online system first.

New Virtual Tour: The Director's Choice

May 5 2021

Image of New Virtual Tour: The Director's Choice

Picture: The National Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London have uploaded a rather swish new virtual tour entitled The Director's Choice. As the name suggests, the virtual exhibition space has been specially arranged by the gallery's director Dr Gabriele Finaldi and includes recorded segments where he personally introduces each work of art. The tour was created with the firm Moyosa Media.

Florence's Accademia Gallery Reopens with Revamped Displays

May 5 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze will reopen to the public tomorrow (6th May). During the most recent lockdown the gallery has spent a great deal of time redisplaying artworks and sculptures within the Tribuna del David, Gipsoteca and the Sala del Colosso. One of the most radical changes includes new displays of busts by Lorenzo Bartolni (1777-1850), which had previously been placed up high and were often overlooked. (pictured) New displays have also been arranged for the Accademia's collection of historical musical instruments, including stringed instruments by Stradivarius.

Picasso's Guernica Recreated in Chocolate

May 5 2021

Video: Telemadrid

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Confectioners in Spain have been busy creating an enormous copy of Pablo Picasso's 1937 masterpiece Guernica. The recreation was produced to mark the 85th anniversary of of the bombing that inspired the work.

Although 1,102 pounds of chocolate was used to make this copy Lorena Gomez, president of the Basque Federation of Sweet Artisan Gastronomy, has answered the question we all want to know:

It cannot be eaten, as it has suffered a lot of temperature change and is gathering dust.

Divine Lightning: 900 Years of the Norbertines

May 5 2021

Image of Divine Lightning: 900 Years of the Norbertines


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Park Abbey, an ancient Premonstratensian abbey near Leuven, will be opening a major retrospective exhibition this month to celebrate 900 years of the establishment of the order of Norbertines. This will include a specially devised route around their handsome historic interiors including rarely seen works of art from their collection. The exhibition will last until 1st August 2021.

The Neapolitan Lives and Careers of Netherlandish Immigrant Painters

May 5 2021

Image of The Neapolitan Lives and Careers of Netherlandish Immigrant Painters

Picture: Amsterdam University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Diplomatic Delegation of Flanders in Italy are hosting a free talk with the art historian Dr. Marije Osnabrugge to discuss her new book The Neapolitan Lives and Careers of Netherlandish Immigrant Painters (1575–1655).

Here's a blurb discussing the content of the publication:

The seventeenth century was a time of exceptional mobility for Netherlandish artists. This mobility had a profound impact on artistic developments, stimulating innovation and creativity in the Netherlands as well as abroad. Whereas most artists undertook a relatively short study trip, others decided to settle down and shape their life in a new environment. This study traces the integration process — as artists and as migrants in general — of Aert Mytens, Louis Finson, Abraham Vinck, Hendrick De Somer and Matthias Stom in Naples between 1575 and 1655. Departing from the idea that the experience of every migrant is specific to their background and skills, The Neapolitan Lives and Careers of Netherlandish Immigrant Painters (1575-1655) examines the challenges each of these five artists faced, the choices they made and the opportunities they grasped. The dynamics of art and society in Naples, the bustling capital of the Spanish viceroyalty, forms the context for their lives and careers.

The talk will be broadcast on 6th May 2021 at 6 pm CET / 12 pm EDT. It is free to attend with registration.

New Release: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein

May 5 2021

Image of New Release: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The television producer and author Franny Moyle has a new book coming out later this month entitled The King's Painter: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein. The format of the book seems to look towards the many popular Tudor history books that have been published in recent times.

According to the book's blurb:

Hans Holbein the Younger is chiefly celebrated for his beautiful and precisely realised portraiture, which includes representations of Henry VIII, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Anne of Cleves, Jane Seymour and an array of the Tudor lords and ladies he encountered during the course of two sojourns in England. But beyond these familiar images, which have come to define our perception of the world of the Henrician court, Holbein was a protean and multi-faceted genius: a humanist, satirist, political propagandist, and contributor to the history of book design as well as a religious artist and court painter. The rich layers of symbolism and allusion that characterise his work have proved especially fascinating to scholars. 

Franny Moyle traces and analyses the life and work of an extraordinary artist against the backdrop of an era of political turbulence and cultural transformation, to which his art offers a subtle and endlessly refracting mirror.

Last week I featured one of the pieces of research, relating to Holbein the Younger's earliest portrait, which will be included within the book. Another piece of research was published by earlier this week, explaining Moyle's theory regarding a Holbein miniature in the Royal Collection.

John Russell's Female Portraits

May 5 2021

Video: The National Portrait Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Portrait Gallery in London have released the following video discussing artist John Russell's (1745-1806) Female Portraits. More specifically, the video features research presented by Gemma Haigh, Curatorial Assistant at Guildford Heritage Service and Understanding British Portraits Fellow (2021). It also features an interview with the pastels maestro Neil Jeffares.

400 Artworks Rediscovered in 'Abandoned' Castle Basement

May 4 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Bizarre news from Italy this evening.

400 artworks dating from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries have been rediscovered in an 'abandoned basement' of Maschio Angioino (Castel Nuovo), near Naples. It is believed that the works were moved there after the Iripina earthquake of 1980 and were simply forgotten. The basement and works were recently rediscovered after surveys were made of the building after a spell of bad weather.

The Italian press claim that works by Luca Giordano, Francesco De Mura, Paolo De Matteis, Giuseppe Bonito, Onofrio Avellino and Jacopo Cestaro are amongst the works that have been found. Alas, it also suggests that most are in a perilous state to due the poor conditions and humidity in the basement. This is said to include Luca Giordano's Madonna del Rosario with Dominican saints, a large work measuring 4 x 2.6 metres.*

Administrators in the region are currently working on a plan to have the works saved and conserved. Some members of the Italian Parliament have been calling for an enquiry into exactly why no inventory of the works existed and what can be done to remedy the sorry situation of the paintings.

* - Presumably not this version recorded in the Galleria Napoletana (Museo di Capodimonte) (?)

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.