Previous Posts: October 2021

Yale Center Seeks Identity of Black Child in Painting

October 7 2021

Image of Yale Center Seeks Identity of Black Child in Painting

Picture: TAN

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published an interesting piece of research being undertaken by the Yale Center for British Art Studies into the identity of a black child. The boy appears in A portrait of Elihu Yale with Members of His Family and an Enslaved Child (around 1719), attributed to John Verelst, from the center's collection.

According to the article:

Homing in on the depiction of the enslaved child, the YCBA’s research team enlisted a pediatrician to estimate the boy’s likely age, which was determined to be around 10, says Martin. Drawing on records from the early 1700s, the curatorial investigators note that it was then routine to ship boys of African descent under 10 years of age to Britain to serve as domestic servants in affluent households. The child would probably have served as a so-called page in the household of one of the men depicted.

Regularly readers might remember this brief story I published last October, showing results from a similar piece research into a seventeenth century picture from Warwick Castle.

MBS Spends more on Leonardo than Newcastle United

October 7 2021

Image of MBS Spends more on Leonardo than Newcastle United

Picture: Christie's / Newcastle United

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I was bemused to see that some of the English Press have been pointing out that Newcastle United's new prospective owner Mohammed bin Salman spent more money on buying Leonardo's Salvator Mundi than the Premier League Football Club Newcastle United. The club is set to be purchased in a £305m deal whilst the painting was purchased for £342m (inc. commission) at Christie's in 2017. A rather interesting comparison that puts things into perspective, I suppose.

Hunting for Butterflies at the Galleria Carlo Orsi

October 7 2021

Image of Hunting for Butterflies at the Galleria Carlo Orsi

Picture: Galleria Carlo Orsi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Galleria Carlo Orsi in Milan have recently opened a curious sounding exhibition on the reasons that people collect works of art. A caccia di Farfalle. Lo spirito del collezionista (Hunting for Butterflys - The Spirit of a Collector) features works by Pompeo Batoni (Lucca, 1708 - Roma, 1787) (pictured) Lorenzo di Credi (Firenze, 1456/1459 - 1536) and Giorgio Gandini del Grano (Parma, inizi XVI secolo - 1538) and reflects on themes such as joys, obstacles, stumbles, passions, loves and mistakes.

Although the exhibition will run only till 5th November 2021 the exhibition catalogue has been published online for free (in Italian).

MET Conserve Cosway's Mrs. Dalrymple

October 6 2021

Image of MET Conserve Cosway's Mrs. Dalrymple

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Conservators of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have recently restored Richard Cosway's portrait of Marianne Dorothy Harland (1759–1785), Later Mrs. William Dalrymple.

According to the museum's catalogue note:

When this portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1779, an art critic decried Cosway’s “painful and minute attention to little Circumstances,” which gave his work “a coxcomical and ridiculous air.” Indeed, the painting does reveal Cosway’s minute attention to the furnishing of a fashionable, feminine interior, emphasizing such features as the dressing table bearing a pincushion, scent bottles, and powder puff. 

Here is what the picture looked like before conservation treatment:

Old Master Drawings at the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis

October 6 2021

Image of Old Master Drawings at the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis

Picture: @museunacionalsoaresdosreis

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis in Porto, Portugal, has recently opened their latest exhibition Drawings by European Masters in Portuguese Collections. The exhibition contains 100 works loaned from private and national collections including 'the only Leonardo existing in Portugal'.

The show will run until 31st December 2021.

First Reviews of Poussin Exhibition

October 6 2021

Video: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The first reviews have arrived for the National Gallery's upcoming exhibition Poussin and the Dance.

The Guardian's Jonathan Jones has given the show 5/5 stars, expressing that:

The National Gallery has cracked art’s most elitist code. Its liberating new exhibition unleashes a Poussin who is human, passionate and high on ancient history. This it achieves with a razor-sharp focus on his first 10 years living in Rome and feasting on its pleasures.

Alaistair Sooke in The Daily Telegraph has gone the other way giving the show a mere 2/5 stars, explaining:

Well, check out these wild and naughty pagan pictures filled with drunkenness and dacing and sex: they demonstrate that Poussin, as a young man at least, could let his hair down. For all his formality, Poussin was also "fun". I'm not buying it (...) But if this exhibition makes him come off as anything, it is as a colossal nerd.

Laura Freeman in The Times is more positive:

Poussin, the classicist’s classicist, has a reputation for chilliness, for pictures more intellectual than instinctive, for a certain Latin-primer formality. Not so, say the curators who have borrowed more than 20 paintings and drawings that show Poussin at his riotous, bibulous best. You know how millennials talk about going out-out? Well, this is Poussin out-out, Poussin in his toga glad-rags, Poussin on the town with “the lads”, the lads being Bacchus, Silenus and that old goat-god Pan. This is the Poussin of satyrs and maenads, of boozy putti and Priapic worship.

The exhibition runs from 9th October 2021 till 2nd January 2022.

Bonhams October Sale

October 6 2021

Image of Bonhams October Sale

Picture: Bonhams

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Bonhams London have uploaded their October Old Master Paintings sale online. The auction will take place on 26th October 2021.

As usual with these mid-range sales, there are many interesting and curious pictures available with very tempting prices. I won't spoil the fun by pointing any out in particular!

Arnold Houbraken text Translated and Digitized

October 6 2021

Image of Arnold Houbraken text Translated and Digitized

Picture: abebooks

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (Dutch and Flemish Art Curators Network) has shared news that the RKD (Netherland's Institute for Art History) have translated into English and digitized Arnold Houbraken's Groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en -schilderessen. This important eighteenth century text, which provides a history of Dutch painters, will feature on the RKD's Study Series. The online publication will be celebrated with a lecture (in Dutch) on 14th October 2021.

Sotheby's Reveal another Botticelli

October 6 2021

Video: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's New York have announced that they will be offering a late work by Sandro Botticelli in their January 2022 sale. The work will be consigned with an estimate "in excess of $40 million."

According to the press release:

Executed in the late 15th/early 16th century, The Man of Sorrows is a masterful late period work by the artist, when Botticelli was greatly influenced by the fanatical Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola and adopted a style characterized by Christian symbolism and visionary spirituality. The portrait of the resurrected Christ reveals an important coda to Botticelli’s well-known earlier career, while also encapsulating the artist’s singular style with a stunningly modern and human portrayal of Christ.


The Man of Sorrows was first recorded in the collection of Mrs. Adelaide Kemble Sartoris (1814-1879), a famed English opera singer, who along with her husband, were two influential socialites in Victorian England and in Rome. The painting descended in the family to Adelaide’s great granddaughter, Lady Cunynghame, who sold it at auction in 1963 for £10,000 ($28,000). Since then, it has remained in the same distinguished private collection, practically unseen until its recent inclusion in the major monographic exhibition devoted to the Florentine master at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt in 2009–2010.

The picture will be toured around the globe, including stopping in at Hong Kong, Dubai, Los Angeles and London, before the sale in January.

The Dulwich Picture Gallery are Hiring!

October 1 2021

Image of The Dulwich Picture Gallery are Hiring!

Picture: Londonist

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Dulwich Picture Gallery in London are hiring a Curator.

According to the job description:


• To bring innovation and excitement to Dulwich Picture Gallery, drawing public attention and  developing new audiences through innovative displays, exhibitions and interpretation;

• To work with The Sackler Director, Deputy Director and Senior Leadership Team to  maximise the Gallery’s unique potential – its building, art, gardens, people and location.

• To take responsibility for the planning, supervision, delivery, documentation and monitoring of  conservation care, display, loans and storage to the highest collection management standards.

• To develop and deliver partnerships to further the understanding and reach of the Collection  through active networking, publication, lecturing, and communications.

• To act as an ambassador for the Gallery, and to contribute to fund-raising and income-generation activities.

The salary on offer is between £41,000 - £55,000 and applications must be in by 18th October 2021.

Good luck if you're applying!

'Remember Me' at the Rijksmuseum

October 1 2021

Image of 'Remember Me' at the Rijksmuseum

Picture: The Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rijksmuseum have a new exhibition of Renaissance Portraits at the moment. Remember Me: Stories about Portraiture in the Renaissance focuses on nine themes including Ambition, Admire Me, Pray for Me, This is Me, Learned, Authority, Cherish Me and Down the Generations.

The Guardian have picked up the story that the show contains some of the earliest European portraits of African men. The article suggests that recent political events have had an impact on how curators of the museum have approached the subject.

Artemisia at the Wadsworth Atheneum

October 1 2021

Image of Artemisia at the Wadsworth Atheneum

Picture: @TheWadsworth

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut opened their latest exhibition By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artist in Italy, 1500-1800 yesterday. 

According to the blurb on their website:

Women artists played a vibrant yet overlooked role in Italy around 1600. The first exhibition solely dedicated to Italian women artists at the Wadsworth, By Her Hand explores how important women artists succeeded in the male-dominated art world of the time. Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–after 1654), one of the most fascinating seventeenth-century Italian painters, takes center stage. 

The Wadsworth’s Self-Portrait as a Lute Player is compared with a related painting from the National Gallery, London—a rare opportunity to see these paintings side by side. Gentileschi’s pioneering depictions of strong women, such as her Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes from the Detroit Institute of Arts, will also be on view. 

Beyond Gentileschi, the accomplishments of a diverse and dynamic group—from the court painter Sofonisba Anguissola (1532–1625), to the Venetian pastel artist Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757), among other talented and virtually unknown Italian women artists—are introduced and celebrated.

The show will close on 9th January 2022.

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