Previous Posts: April 2022

Smell this Brueghel at the Prado

April 5 2022

Image of Smell this Brueghel at the Prado

Picture: Prado

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Prado in Madrid is the latest museum to explore the subject of smell in paintings. In particular, the museum will be bringing to life Peter Brueghel the Elder's (in collaboration with Rubens) Sense of Smell (pictured) in a small exhibition entitled The Essence of a Painting. An Olfactory Exhibition.

According to the website:

On display until 3 July in Room 83 of the Villanueva Building, The Sense of Smell, a painting by Jan Brueghel and Rubens, is the focus of The Essence of a Painting. An Olfactory Exhibition, curated by Alejandro Vergara, Chief Curator of Flemish Painting and the Northern Schools at the Museo Nacional del Prado, and Gregorio Sola, Senior Perfumer at Puig and an academician of the Perfume Academy, who has created ten fragrances associated with elements in the painting. 

Brueghel’s work, which evokes the garden of rare trees and plants belonging to Isabel Clara Eugenia and her husband in early 17th-century Brussels, depicts more than 80 species of plants and flowers, as well as various animals associated with the sense of smell, such as the scent hound and civet, and a range of objects relating to the world of perfume, including scented gloves, vessels  holding fragrant substances, a perfume burner warmed in a sumptuous brazier, and vessels for distilling essences.

The show will run until 3rd July 2022.

Botticelli on a Bra

April 5 2022

Image of Botticelli on a Bra

Picture: Peach John

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Regular readers will know that Old Masters can be found on all sorts of clothing these days, including jumpers, shortssocks and shoes. It was only a matter of time before a lingerie brand decided to stitch them onto women's underwear. Here we can see Peach John's latest Botticelli bra, which will set you back a mere 4,378 yen (the equivalent of £29.34).

According to the article linked above:

These pieces are part of the Peach John line of lingerie called “Kyosho no Bra”, or “Master’s Bras”, which include lingerie embroidered with other famous works of art like Monet, Alphonse Mucha, Pieter Bruegel, Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, and even Hokusai. We’re looking forward to finding out what work of art they’re going to recreate next.

Christina, Queen of Sweden's Titian Coming up for Sale

April 5 2022

Image of Christina, Queen of Sweden's Titian Coming up for Sale

Picture: Dorotheum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Dorotheum auction house in Vienna have announced that they will be offering a rediscovered Titian later in May. The painting of The Penitent Magdalen, of which many versions are known, was in the collection of Christina (1626-1689), Queen of Sweden during the seventeenth century. The provenance of the work is rather intriguing, as it later passed into the collections of Pierre Crozat and later Philippe II Duke of Orleans. It finally arrived in Britain during the 1790s. The attribution has been supported by Professor Paul Joannides and the exact provenance was researched and established by Dr Carlo Corsato.

The painting will be offered for sale on 11th May 2022 carrying an estimate of €1m - €1.5m.

Oh, and a pair of Kauffmans too!

April 1 2022

Image of Oh, and a pair of Kauffmans too!


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

They are coming thick and fast these days! Apologies, I forgot to spot last week's announcement that a pair of group portraits by Angelica Kauffman have also been subject to a temporary export bar by the UK Government.

The pair of Group Portraits of Mr and Mrs Joseph May and their Children have been valued at £1.5m. They were sold several times during the nineteenth-century and have descended with various families during the twentieth.

According to Committee Member Professor Mark Hallett:

Angelica Kauffman was one of the most important painters working in late eighteenth-century Britain and this is an especially interesting example of her output. Though the artist is justly celebrated for her subject pictures, Kauffman’s portraits are equivalently complex and ambitious in character. This double portrait of the May family, in which Mary May is pictured with her daughters, and Joseph May with his sons, is extremely unusual in splitting up its male and female subjects in such a direct way. At the same time, Kauffman’s adept handling of composition ensures that the two pictures elegantly complement each other. As well as having a powerful aesthetic appeal, the paintings offer a sensitive pictorial meditation on parental and sibling relationships, and on the different stages of childhood. For all these reasons, they make a powerful contribution to our understanding of Georgian portraiture.

Any interested institutions will have until 24th July 2022 to find £1.5m to keep the works in the country.

Temporary Export Bar on £10m Courtauld Cézanne

April 1 2022

Image of Temporary Export Bar on £10m Courtauld Cézanne


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The UK Goverment has placed a temporary export bar on a £10m Cézanne. The painting of Ferme Normande, Été (Hattenville) (1882) was acquired by Samuel Courtauld in 1937 for £2,500 and was later bequeathed to Christabel McLaren, Lady Aberconway. It seems that the work had been on loan to the gallery since the 1990s.

According to Committee Member Christopher Baker: 

“Paul Cézanne’s (1839-1906) status as a bridge between the traditions of 19th-century painting and modernism is unrivalled. In his delightful ‘Farm in Normandy, Summer (Hattenville)’ the artist employed intense, free brushstrokes to evoke the dappled light, shadows and myriad green hues of trees and a meadow, anticipating later, key developments in his artistic evolution, when the abstract structures underpinning nature were gradually given greater prominence. The picture is also significant in the context of the artist’s career, as the farm depicted was acquired in the year Cézanne painted it by Victor Chocquet (1821-1891), his first important patron and a key champion of impressionism. 

In addition to these themes, it forms part of the very important story of British taste for international art in the 20th century. Cézanne’s landscape was purchased in 1937 by Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947), as the last of a remarkable group of twelve paintings by the artist Courtauld acquired: he played a seminal role in establishing an enthusiasm for impressionist and post-impressionist painting in Britain both through his own collecting and generous funding of major pictures secured for the National Gallery in the 1920s. 

Because of its beauty, significance in the artist’s career, and role in the wider appreciation of such artistic achievements, it would be a profound misfortune if this beguiling work could not be retained in this country.”

Any interested institution will have until 31st July 2022 to find the £10m to keep it in the country.

Louvre swoops in to block Chardin Sale

April 1 2022

Image of Louvre swoops in to block Chardin Sale

Picture: Artcurial

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The curious pre-emption system in France has once again swooped in to block the sale of a valuable work of art. The Art Newspaper has published news that the aforementioned €24.4m Chardin, purchased by New York dealer Adam Williams on behalf of an unknown client, has been blocked by a pre-emption from the Louvre. The French museum now has two and a half years to try and find the money to keep the painting in the country.

As it happens, the Louvre already has fourty paintings by the artist in its collection. A quick collections search shows that all of them, apart from four, are currently on public display. This is a most impressive statistic.

Rembrandt, not Flinck

April 1 2022

Image of Rembrandt, not Flinck

Picture: Gemäldegalerie

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Gemäldegalerie in Berlin have announced that their Landscape with Arched Bridge is by Rembrandt after all. A reassessment of the picture, instigated by a David Hockney exhibition it seems, has concluded that the work is by Rembrandt's own hand. The picture had been given to Govaert Flinck for many years until recent technical analysis has proven otherwise.

According to the article linked above:

X-rays showing changes and corrections that had been made to the work helped confirm Rembrandt as its creator. [Berlin curator Katja] Kleinert said experts were unanimous in their verdict. 

Comparisons were made with a very similar composition by Rembrandt, called Landscape with Stone Bridge at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which the Gemäldegalerie’s director, Dagmar Hirschfeld – herself a Rembrandt expert – said shared hallmarks typical for him. 

“You quite often get pairs of paintings, where you have the impression he is trying to do the same again, but in another style of painting or to optimise what he has already achieved,” she said. Analysis of the painting in Berlin, which the gallery acquired in 1924, showed how Rembrandt had made radical changes to the work during its creation, including shifting the position of a storm cloud, reducing the size of a hill and making changes to a group of trees. These processes in turn made the painting more compact and dense.

The landscape will be featured in the gallery's latest exhibition David Hockney – Landscapes in Dialogue.

The Art Newspaper is Hiring!

April 1 2022

Image of The Art Newspaper is Hiring!

Picture: TAN

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper's London office are looking for an Editorial Assistant.

According to the job advert:

The Art Newspaper looking for an Editorial Assistant who is full of ideas, energy and a passion for visual art to support our editorial teams in London and New York. They will work closely with the digital team to help source and publish daily news as well as assist with administrative tasks for the monthly print newspaper and additional supplements. Developing and publishing social media content will be a key task. Time management and organisational skills are essential to this busy role as is a basic understanding of both art history and the art industry.

Applications and CVs (accompanied by your own salary expectations) must be in by 6th April 2022.

Good luck if you're applying!

Religious Artworks Restored at the Museo de la Semana Santa de Cuenca

April 1 2022

Image of Religious Artworks Restored at the Museo de la Semana Santa de Cuenca

Picture: Museo de la Semana Santa de Cuenca

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museo de la Semana Santa de Cuenca (The Museum of Holy Week) in Spain have just opened an exhibition dedicated to a set of restored religious works of art. Jewels of the Passion features five works from various parishes that have been brought back to life through a vast conservation project.

Click here for an online catalogue (in Spanish) of the exhibition, which features quite a few interesting photos during the various stages of conservation.

The show will run from 31st March 2022 until 22nd May 2022.

I think this 'before and after' of a set of three anonymous sixteenth-century panels is rather striking! If only the revealed picture was of better quality:

Royal Albert Hall joins NFT bandwagon

April 1 2022

Image of Royal Albert Hall joins NFT bandwagon

Picture: Royal Albert Hall

Posted by Bendor

The Royal Albert Hall has decided to enter the NFT market. The disturbing news was revealed on their website today:

“Think MySpace squared,” said the Hall’s chief executive, Craig O’Follipar. “We’re talking Yahoo! in five dimensions. Our ultimate goal is to build a framework of millennial policy hardware featuring synchronised matrix approaches, in collaboration with the world’s leading performers. We’ve already got two of G4 on board, and the other two are interested.

”The NFTs depict a dozen unforgettable moments in the venue’s storied history, including on-stage appearances from the likes of Queen Victoria, Adele and Matt Goss.

Problematic Dave, who has previously worked with brands like Iowa Special Meat and Iowa Dog Track, said the chance to collaborate with one of the world’s most renowned venues was a dream come true. “Yeah, it’s been alright,” he said.

More here.

Update - this was of course an April Fools. But just day's later, the actual Treasury here in the UK has said it really is getting in on the NFT craze. Crazy. More here.

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