Previous Posts: November 2021

Plautilla Bricci (1616-1690) Exhibition

November 11 2021

Image of Plautilla Bricci (1616-1690) Exhibition

Picture: Galleria Corsini

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Galleria Corsini in Rome have recently opened a new exhibition dedicated to the female architect Plautilla Bricci (1616-1690), who was supposedly was 'the first female architect in pre-industrial Europe'. The exhibition is the first time pictorial, graphic and documentary evidence has been brought together to celebrate Bricci's life and career. It also includes this rather interest painting which is said to represent Bricci as an Allegory of Architecture (pictured).

The exhibition will run until 19th April 2021.

Jacob Backer's Euterpe Identified

November 10 2021

Image of Jacob Backer's Euterpe Identified


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the Netherlands that a music historian has identified the sitter in a painting by Jacob Backer (1608-1651). Long described as being a representation of the Muse Euterpe, scholar Thiemo Wind has managed to identify the sitter as Adriana van den Bergh. Adriana, a flute player, had a booklet of music dedicated to her as a young girl. Wind's explorations into the seventeenth century archives managed to find a specific reference to Backer's painting of the girl found in a document relating to the estate of her brothers. She eventually married a merchant Jan Verstegen, bore him nine children, and ended up bankrupt.

The painting survives in an unknown private collection having been sold from the Albert Vandervelden Foundation in the past.

€600, €13,500 and finally €130,000

November 10 2021

Image of €600, €13,500 and finally €130,000

Picture: artcurial

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

@AuctionRadar on Twitter has posted a rather interesting observation regarding a previous 'Sleeper' he has been following over the past year. The following portrait, then unidentified and described as 'Dutch School 18th Century', realised €13,500 over its €600 estimate in a regional auction house earlier in March. The same painting, now given to Jan de Bray (1626-1698) in full, realised a total of €169,000 (inc. commission) at Artcurial in Paris yesterday. A good example what a difference the right attribution can make!

Equally, the aforementioned Mona Lisa copy made a respectful €210,000 (hammer price) over its €150k - €200k estimate in the very same sale. Have we finally seen the end of bonkers prices for these Leonardo copies?! 

Update - I've been informed that the painting had in fact been sold as a Jan de Bray as recently as 1922. Here's a Twitter thread which explains more.

The National Gallery Probes Slavery Links

November 10 2021

Image of The National Gallery Probes Slavery Links

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London have made news headlines over the past few days for a report they have published investigating the links of paintings and individuals with slavery. This includes an examination of John Julius Angerstein (pictured), a key figure in the gallery's history who owned shares in a company that had in part profited from slave ships.

According to an article published in the The Art Newspaper:

The initial data, mainly covering the period between 1824 and 1880, records no fewer than 67 people with some connection. The links are either direct or through a professional encounter (such as the portrayal of a sitter involved in slavery) or someone owning a painting formerly belonging to a collector involved in the slave trade. 

A further 27 named people had links to the abolitionist movement; another 27 had links to both slavery and abolition, an indication of the complexity of the issues.

The National Gallery’s website states that “our project has started to find out about what links to slave-ownership can be traced within the gallery, and to what extent the profits from plantation slavery impacted our early history”. It stresses, however, that “inclusion on this list should not be understood to imply a direct connection with slavery”—many of the links are indirect.

The article has also pointed out the many and various references to slavery included within the Tate's current Hogarth exhibition. A particular mention is made of the printed caption for Hogarth's Self-portrait painting the Comic Muse (NPG):

Tate’s caption points out that “the chair is made from timbers shipped from the colonies, via routes which also shipped enslaved people”, arguably a rather tenuous link between Hogarth and slavery.


There are of course many various ways at looking at art. Although the prevailing fashion is to see absolutely everything through the often narrow lens of contemporary politics and morals, there surely must be room to argue the aesthetic case too?

MET Masterpieces to open in Japan

November 10 2021

Image of MET Masterpieces to open in Japan

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's travelling European Masterpieces exhibition will be opening in Osaka Japan this week. The Osaka leg will last until January and will then move on to Tokyo.

According to the exhibition's website:

This exhibition presents 65 great works, 46 of which are being shown in Japan for the first time, representing gems of art selected from the collection of more than 2,500 items in the possession of the Department of European Paintings, one of the Museum's 17 curatorial departments. It brings to Japan in a single group masterpieces from celebrated artists, the works of whom constitute the colorful pageant of Western painting over the 500 years from the fifteenth-century early Renaissance to the nineteenth-century Post-Impressionists. From Fra Angelico, Raphael, Cranach, Titian, and El Greco, to Caravaggio, Georges de La Tour, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Rubens, Velázquez, Poussin, Watteau, and Boucher, on to Goya, Turner, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Cézanne, some of the greatest treasures that are the pride of The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be displayed for the enjoyment of visitors.

Recreate Van Gogh's Potato Eaters

November 10 2021

Image of Recreate Van Gogh's Potato Eaters

Picture: Vangoghmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a rather bizarre new gallery experience that has recently opened at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. A full-sized replica of the interior of Van Gogh's The Potato Easters has been recreated in the museum. Visitors will be able to recreate the scene with their friends and family, or, just take a selfie whilst posing and smiling.

Private View of Versailles Animals Exhibition

November 9 2021

Video: Scribe Accroupi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A private tour of the current Versailles exhibition Les Animaux du Roi has been published online. The video, which is in French, features interviews with Versailles and Louvre curators Alexandre Maral and Nicolas Milovanovic.

Constable Oil Sketch at Christie's

November 9 2021

Image of Constable Oil Sketch at Christie's

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's London have shared news that they will be offering a £2m - £3m oil sketch by John Constable in their December sale. Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds is the last known version of the scene in private hands and will be auctioned for the first time in its history (although it had been with dealer Simon Dickinson in the past).

According to the article linked above:

Constable first did a pencil sketch of this view in 1811 and then made an en plein air oil sketch in 1820. As Clementine Sinclair, the head of Old Masters Evening Sale at Christie’s London, says: "The bishop [of Salisbury] commissioned a finished painting of that view on the basis of the oil sketch, and that finished painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy [of Arts in London (RA)] in 1823." It now resides in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, while the oil sketch is in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. "The bishop's daughter gets engaged and she requests a version of this painting, so Bishop Fisher commissions a second version from Constable," Sinclair says. "But Constable being Constable doesn't just do a slavish copy, he actually wants to improve on his initial exhibition painting. So he executes this sketch as a full scale compositional sketch." Two years later, Bishop Fisher commissioned a third version of the subject, the sketch for which is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the finished painting in the Frick Collection, New York.

Vatican Opens New Contemporary Art Gallery

November 9 2021

Video: Vatican News

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Vatican have recently opened a contemporary art exhibition in the Vatican Apostolic Library. The space, featuring historic decorated interiors, is usually only accessible to scholars.

According to press reports:

The inaugural show, titled “Tutti. Umanità in cammino” or “Everyone: Humanity on Its Way,” features work by Italian artist Pietro Ruffo inspired by the most recent papal encyclical, an open letter released to the Catholic clergy and laity that expresses the pope’s views on a particular aspect of church doctrine. The document, titled Fratelli Tutti and published last October, includes the pope’s thoughts on brotherhood and “social friendship”, based on the writings of Saint Francis of Assisi.

£7.5m Sargent at Risk of Leaving UK

November 5 2021

Image of £7.5m Sargent at Risk of Leaving UK

Picture: Wikipedia

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK's Department for Culture, Media and Sport have issued a press release regarding the risk of John Singer Sargent's 1899 portrait of The Earl of Dalhousie leaving the country. An export bar has been placed on the picture until 3rd March 2022 allowing a British Institution a few months to find £7.5m to keep the painting in the country.

To quote reviewing committee member Christopher Baker:

Sargent’s The Earl of Dalhousie evokes a brilliant transitional moment in British portraiture, being late Victorian in date but strikingly modern in appearance. The artist injected a new dynamism into such paintings; he had a profound knowledge of both the grandest traditions of portraiture and recent innovations and combined here a nod to the achievement of Van Dyck (in terms of pose and setting) with energised, bravura brushwork and incisive characterisation. Such skills were to prove irresistible to a generation of British patrons. 

Dalhousie was a Scottish aristocrat and his portrait is one of the finest of all Sargent’s studies of male subjects; an image of hauteur perhaps tinged by uncertainty, it is a coming of age painting, created when the subject turned twenty-one, and, as recent research has shown, it was paid for by his tenants. Outstanding aesthetically and in terms of the study of the art and culture of the period, it would be a profound misfortune if this scintillating work were not secured for a British collection.

Louvre Acquires 25 Works of Art

November 5 2021

Image of Louvre Acquires 25 Works of Art

Picture: Louvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre in Paris has announced its acquisition of 25 works of art across four departments over the past few months. The paintings side of things includes works by the likes of Hyacinthe Rigaud (pictured), Louis II de Boullogne, Nicolas de Bar, Jean Daret and Frederik Ernst, known as Fritz, Petzholdt. Follow the link above to view the full list.

Antoine Watteau: Art - Market - Crafts

November 5 2021

Video: Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new exhibition dedicated to Antoine Watteau opened in the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin last month. The show is entitled ANTOINE WATTEAU. ART – MARKET – CRAFTS and will run until 9th January 2022.

According to the exhibition's blurb:

2021 is the 300th anniversary of the death of the French painter Antoine Watteau (1684-1721). The fame of the artist, who was already celebrated in his lifetime, extends down to this day, and his works are coveted collector’s items. After the Louvre in Paris, the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg has the most important collection of this artist’s paintings. Under the motto “Art – Market – Crafts” a special exhibition at Charlottenburg Palace will honour this outstanding 18th century painter. At the centre of the exhibition stands one of Watteau’s major works: the Shop Sign of the Art Dealer Gersaint. Purchased by Frederick the Great (1712-1786) in 1746, the painting has been considered a masterpiece since its creation. Originally designed as a means of commercial advertising and as the Parisian dealer’s “shop sign”, to this day the picture raises questions of contemporary relevance concerning the marketing, trading, and collecting of art, as well as our intellectual engagement with it.

Lecture: 'More perfect and excellent than men' - The Women Artists of Bologna

November 5 2021

Image of Lecture: 'More perfect and excellent than men' - The Women Artists of Bologna

Picture: NGA

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This year's Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art, hosted by the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., will feature the topic of “‘More perfect and excellent than men’: The Women Artists of Bologna presented by Babette Bohn. The live free lecture, broadcast via. Zoom, will be premiered today (5th November 2021) at 1pm (Eastern Time). Registration is required.

According to the blurb:

Early modern Bologna was exceptional for its many talented women artists. Thanks to a long-standing tradition of honoring accomplished women, several attentive artistic biographers, strong local interest in collecting women’s work, and permissive attitudes toward women studying with male artists who were not family members, Bologna was home to more women artists than any other city in early modern Italy. Bolognese women artists were unusual not only for their large numbers but also for their varied specializations and frequent public success. They painted altarpieces, nudes, mythologies, allegories, portraits, and self-portraits, creating sculptures, drawings, prints, embroidery, and paintings. This lecture challenges some common assumptions about women artists, suggesting productive approaches for future research.

Back of the Night Watch on View

November 5 2021

Image of Back of the Night Watch on View


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Ever been curious about what the back of Rembrandt's The Night Watch looks like? Well, The Rijksmuseum's latest phase of 'Operation Night Watch' has seen the arrangement of a new display to show the back of the canvas and stretcher. This rare opportunity is due to work by conservators to study the rear of the painting.

If you really want to see the back of the picture, then you only have until the 23rd November to do so!

Dostoevsky and the Old Masters

November 5 2021

Image of Dostoevsky and the Old Masters

Picture: Apollo

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apollo have published a short article online regarding the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky's interest in Old Master Paintings. The piece by Rosamund Bartlett explains the various paintings that held great significance for the writer, including works by the likes of Raphael, Holbein and Claude Lorrain.

Constable to lead Sotheby's December Sale

November 5 2021

Image of Constable to lead Sotheby's December Sale

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's London have uploaded a few the highlights from their upcoming Old Master Paintings sale in December. The top lot seems to be John Constable's The Glebe Farm, estimated at £3m - £5m. Other lots featured include works by Rubens, Rachel Ruysch, Jacques Linard and Jacopo del Sellaio. The evening sale will be held on 8th December 2021.

NPG Acquire Isaac Oliver Miniature

November 5 2021

Image of NPG Acquire Isaac Oliver Miniature

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, has announced that the NPG has acquired Isaac Oliver's portrait miniature of Lucy Harington. Harington, a collection and patron of the artists and writers (including John Donne), will be on view once the gallery reopens. The work was acquired with assistance from Sir Harry Djanogly and had appeared for sale at Sotheby's in September of this year.

Female Power at Schiphol Airport

November 4 2021

Image of Female Power at Schiphol Airport

Picture: Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Visitors of Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands will be able to enjoy a new display dedicated to the portrayal of women and pictures by women artists from the 17th - 19th centuries. The Rijksmuseum Schiphol have recently installed a temporary exhibition entitled Female Power which will run for an entire year.

According to the press release:

The Rijksmuseum is keen to devote greater attention to the under-acknowledged part played by women in Dutch cultural history. As part of this process, this year we hung three works by female artists in the museum’s Gallery of Honour. The Rijksmuseum has also initiated multipronged research into the role of women in Dutch cultural history and the representativeness of the Rijksmuseum collection. As part of this research we are conducting a survey of the number of female makers and artists and tracing their life stories, while also finding more detailed information about the women depicted in the paintings. In addition, female collectors, patrons, donors and curators will be scrutinising the collection and the institutional history of the museum.


The works on display include paintings by the female artists Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750) and Cornelia van der Mijn (1709-1782), as well as portrayals of strong women such as Salome and Maria Magdalen. A particularly interesting story lies behind the double portrait of the two close friends Josina Clara van Citters and Anna Maria Gool, who are exemplary of women in Dutch history who dared to go off the beaten path; they lived together for a large part of their lives.


Frustratingly, I can't seem to find any pictures of the paintings in the airport itself. I'd be grateful to any reader who might be passing through it in the near future with a camera phone!

Recovered Painting Might be a Rembrandt?

November 4 2021

Image of Recovered Painting Might be a Rembrandt?


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published an article on a recently recovered painting from Schloss Friedenstein in Germany. The work was stolen in December 1979 and was only recovered last year. This means that the work had been unavailable to Rembrandt scholars for decades.

According to the article:

The portrait of the old man, which was the most damaged of the five in the theft and sustained deep scratches, has over the years been attributed to Jan Lievens and to Ferdinand Bol, a pupil of Rembrandt. But Timo Trümper, the curator of the exhibition, says analysis of the painting style has ruled out either artist as the author of the work. The attribution to Bol stems from the artist’s signature on the back, but Trümper says that may indicate that he owned the portrait, not that he painted it. He says Bol may have obtained the work after Rembrandt’s bankruptcy in 1656. 

The painting is very similar to a work at the Harvard Art Museums in the US. That work bears Rembrandt’s signature, although its attribution has also been a matter of debate. Trümper says that under-painting on the Gotha work indicates that it may have been the original, and that the Harvard painting is a later studio copy. 

“It’s a question of interpretation,” he says of the Gotha work. “We can be sure it originated in Rembrandt’s studio—the question is how much of it is Rembrandt and how much his pupils? We have already talked to a lot of colleagues. Half say: ‘No, it’s not Rembrandt, it’s one of his pupils.’ The other half say it’s an interesting theory and they can’t rule it out.”

The painting will be exhibited in an show at the castle entitled Back in Gotha! The Lost Masterpieces which will run until 21st August 2022.

Giovan Francesco Caroto Exhibition for 2022

November 4 2021

Image of Giovan Francesco Caroto Exhibition for 2022


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Italy that the Palazzo della Gran Guardia in Verona will be hosting a major exhibition dedicated to Giovan Francesco Caroto (c.1480-1555) in 2022. The exhibition will be organised into nine sections and will contain over 100 works in total by Caroto and his contemporaries. 

The show will run from 12th May 2022 - 2nd October 2022.

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