Previous Posts: January 2022

The Courtauld Institute Teams up with Kings College London

January 20 2022

Image of The Courtauld Institute Teams up with Kings College London


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Courtauld Institute of Art in London have announced a new ten-year strategic relationship with Kings College London (KCL). Both institutions, which share occupancy of Somerset House on the Strand, will initiate new collaborations with Masters courses, undergraduate module sharing, co-supervision of postgraduate research and interdisciplinary research opportunities.

Which areas will this new collaboration touch upon? Here's a quotation from KCL's Principal & President, Professor Shitij Kapur:

The Courtauld, as a specialist institution with a global reputation, distinguished history and founding principle of “art for all”, has a deep-rooted commitment to make change for the better, to be progressive, relevant, and resilient, and to push forward the understanding of the visual arts at a time when the arts have never been more important.  King’s, a large multi-Faculty Russell Group institution, has strengths in all areas from the Arts & Humanities through to Medicine and Health Sciences, Psychiatry and Psychology, the Social Sciences and Natural & Mathematical Sciences, and is committed to excellence, inclusion, and service to society in making the world a better place.

€12m - €15m Chardin coming up for sale in Paris

January 20 2022

Image of €12m - €15m Chardin coming up for sale in Paris

Picture: Artcurial

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News is just breaking that Artcurial, through the expertise of Cabinet Turquin, will be offering Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin's The Basket of Wild Strawberries at auction in March. The painting, emanating from the Eudoxe Marcille collection, will be sold with an estimate of €12m - €15m.

The painting will be sold on 23rd March 2022.

The National Gallery send 3D Printed Painting to Winchester Cathedral

January 19 2022

Image of The National Gallery send 3D Printed Painting to Winchester Cathedral

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London have sent a 3D printed copy of Jan Gossaerts's Adoration of the Kings to Winchester Cathedral for a special exhibition called Sensing the Unseen: Step into Gossaert’s ‘Adoration'.

According to the exhibition's website:

The exhibition is a multisensory experience, transporting you into the world of Jan Gossaert’s ‘Adoration of the Kings’. The 3D perfect facsimile of the painting (produced by Factum Arte) showcases the depth of the paint, the vivid colours and exquisite details of this 16th century masterpiece. It is complemented by a soundscape, the squawking of birds, the chink of the bridles and the voice of King Balthasar.     

Using digital technology, you can experience one of the National Gallery’s most popular paintings like never before. The exhibition space will comprise of the full scale facsimile painting, spot lit and flanked by three yurt-like pods. Inside each pod, you will encounter a digital image of the painting, which has been ‘sonified’ using soundscapes, spoken words, music and a poem. As you step into the experience you can discover and navigate previously unseen elements.


Regular readers might know that I'm not a fan of 3D printed artworks. See - (1) (2).

The NFT and 'Metaverse' phenomena are but only recent examples that our world is giving up on the idea of what is real. Paintings show us things and places that our eyes will never see, but, they are still living objects. For me, I adore historic artworks because they are a refuge from the never-ceasing mundanity of the modern world. They were made by human hands, flesh and blood. This is why going to see art in the flesh can be such a magical experience and why vast sums of money are spent on otherwise worthless bits of canvas, wood and marble.

Why didn't they send the actual Jan Gossaert to Winchester? 'Conservation reasons' will surely be the reply. However, I can imagine that more hearts would be won by showing visitors the original painting than a lifeless plastic fake, especially housed in such a sublime setting as Winchester Cathedral. I'm sure a way could have been found to bring the original there, if enough resources were focused on such a worthy task.

Instead, eyes and attentions will go along with the novelty value of this experiment. 'You can't tell the difference', they will say. The day we start having regular cues lining up to watch a machine sing Schubert Lieder will be the day I will give up this line of thought.

Update - A reader has been in touch with the following:

I went to London a decade ago for a Gossaert exhibition at the NG, but I wouldn’t go around the corner to see a 3-D printed copy. The Adoration of the Kings is a major work and the original deserves to be shown in Winchester. 

Prado acquires work by Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina

January 19 2022

Image of Prado acquires work by Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Prado Museum in Madrid have announced their acquisition of a painting of Christ by Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina (c.1475-1536). As you might imagine, the Spanish press have particularly picked up on the fact the artist had been an assistant to Leonardo da Vinci. The acquisition was revealed in an Instagram post by Prado Medieval art specialist Joan Molina with further details that the painting cost the museum €30,000. It seems that the panel painting will now undergo a research project to find out more about its creation and provenance.

The Battle of San Romano as a Cartoon

January 19 2022

The Battle of San Romano from Georges Schwizgebel on Vimeo.

Video: Georges Schwizgebel

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems that the fascination for animating paintings has taken another bold leap forward with this piece by the Swiss filmmaker Georges Schwizgebel. The above video, which takes scenes from Paolo Uccello's three paintings of The Battle of San Romano, premiered last December on Vimeo. Schwizgebel has won prizes at various international film festivals in the past.

Click here to read more about the video and the process behind making it.

Jonathan Brown (1939-2022)

January 19 2022

Image of Jonathan Brown (1939-2022)

Picture: impactolatino

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sad news to report that the art historian Jonathan Brown passed away this week at the age of 82. Brown will be remembered for his scholarship on seventeenth-century paintings and particularly the works of Diego Velázquez. His resume includes many scholarly publications on the likes of Velázquez and Spanish Art, alongside his pioneering exhibitions held at the Frick, Princeton and Prado museums.

For those who can read Spanish, the Prado Museum has shared the first two chapters of a set of essays dedicated to Jonathan Brown's career which were published in 2012.

Damages to Stately Homes from Period Dramas

January 18 2022

Image of Damages to Stately Homes from Period Dramas

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

If you're like me, then tv period dramas are actually just an excuse to peer inside great stately homes and their collections.

The Daily Telegraph published an article today giving an interview with location manager Mark Ellis who has worked on shows such as Downtown Abbey. The piece shows how important such filming has become in supporting the incomes of British stately homes who regularly need big bags of cash to re-lead old roofs etc.

Ellis also details some of the damages to houses and properties that have occurred in the past including:

For filming to be a positive experience, you as the owner need to be clear about what the crew can and cannot do and where they have access, warns the Countess of Carnarvon. The rule at Highclere is that the crew never touches anything; if a piece of furniture or a painting needs to be moved it must be done by the Countess’s staff – Ellis suspects this is because of an incident on the inaugural day of filming Downton, when a turquoise chest belonging to the Countess was knocked onto the floor and broken. “It turned out to be one of her prized possessions and had to be sent to Sotheby’s for repair,” he recalls…

All breakages and damage are, of course, covered by the film crew’s insurance but Ellis dreads owning up. “It’s a tense, high-pressure situation but we talk it through, I never bluff, I apologise and we get it sorted out.” He remembers a crew member at a different stately location enthusiastically stapling blackout curtains to 15th-century beams, costing the film crew £15 per staple in repair bills, and another occasion where a crew security guard knocked a piece of timber through an oil painting. “Would I let a film crew in my house? Never,” he laughs.

No one wants the Villa Aurora?

January 18 2022

Image of No one wants the Villa Aurora?

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Today's auction of the aforementioned Villa Aurora failed to find a buyer. The asking price had been in the region of €471m (with bidding set to start at €353m).* The sale has been rescheduled to April with a 20% price reduction.

According to the article linked above:

Alessandro Zuccari, a history professor at Sapienza University in Rome who oversaw the valuation of the mural, said: “I’m not surprised there were no bids, in fact I would have been amazed if a buyer had come forward. The price is too high. Let’s see what happens in April, but I doubt anyone will come forward then – what would someone like Bill Gates do with Villa Aurora, especially with all the extra costs?”

* - I'm grateful to a reader who has corrected me on this point.

Update - A reader has been in touch with the following idea:



Do you remember how Lillie Langtry dealt with that old warship that she was gifted? She divided it up and sold it off in bits and pieces, by category. So, all the hardware/doorknobs/etc in one auction/sale; all the furniture in another; all the armaments in yet another. And she made quite a profit out of that 'white elephant'. THAT is how we would have stage-managed this Villa Aurora business.  Those two ceiling paintings can be detached so as to be sold and then viewed in a museum-like setting. (That is exactly what NG/London did with the Tiepolo ceiling painting rediscovered in the Egyptian Embassy in Mayfair in the 1960s).

That is one way to do it, I suppose.

Odesa Museum still waiting for its Restored 'Caravaggio'

January 18 2022

Image of Odesa Museum still waiting for its Restored 'Caravaggio'

Picture: Kyiv Post

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I've spotted this rather curious article from Ukraine regarding the strange fate of a version of Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ belonging to the Odesa Museum.

The painting, which some believe might be a repetition of the painting in Dublin, was stolen from the museum in 2008. It was later recovered in 2010 during a police sting in Berlin. The canvas had been cut from the stretcher and was in a rather bad state. It took until 2018 for the go-ahead for a restoration project to be authorised, a campaign that was undertaken in Kiev and was due to end last year.

However, it seems the work is still incomplete and the painting remains in the capital. Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky is said to have recently met with museum officials in Odesa and discussed the eventual return of the painting to the museum.

New Entrance to the NPG

January 18 2022

Image of New Entrance to the NPG

Picture: AB

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I was walking past the National Portrait Gallery in London last week and decided to peer through the boarding covering the areas of construction work. As you can see, the new doors, which have been blasted through the old windows that look onto St Martin's Place, are starting to take shape. Will it be ready for Spring 2023, I wonder?

The Tudors: Passion, Power & Politics in Bath

January 18 2022

Image of The Tudors: Passion, Power & Politics in Bath

Picture: The Holburne Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Holburne Museum in Bath will be opening their latest exhibition in ten days' time entitled The Tudors: Passion, Power & Politics. The show will feature major loans from the National Portrait Gallery in London, which is currently closed for refurbishment.

According to their website:

Through the portraits, the exhibition explores this torrid period of religious conflict and political intrigue, the legacies of which continue to reverberate through contemporary British life. It features vivid likenesses of many of the most significant figures of the time, including Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, Thomas Cranmer, Thomas More, William Cecil and Thomas Cromwell, whose fame has recently been revived by Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy. 

Beginning with the oldest painting in the NPG’s collection, a 1505 portrait of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, the exhibition follows the family’s successive generations and their courtiers, including the Protestant spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham (c.1585) and Nicholas Hilliard’s dashing miniature portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh (c.1585).

The exhibition will run from 28th January until 8th May 2022.

Art on the BBC Series

January 18 2022

Video: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

BBC Four have started a new series of Art on the BBC, a programme which examines well known artists through sixty years of archival material. Yesterday evening's show was on Monet, the previous one was on Salvador Dali, and there is one more to go on JMW Turner.

The MET Acquires Van Gogh Lithographs and Etching

January 17 2022

Image of The MET Acquires Van Gogh Lithographs and Etching

Picture: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has announced its acquisition of a rare set of lithographs and one etching by Vincent Van Gogh. The works were acquired from a private collection in Minnesota and brokered by Christie's. None of the acquired works are found in any other museum in the US. It seems that all the works on paper had been purchased on the art market between the years 1999 and 2004.

Whistler at the Musée d'Orsay

January 17 2022

Image of Whistler at the Musée d'Orsay

Picture: The Frick Collection

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems that visitors to both Paris and London will soon have the chance to visit two large exhibitions of works by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The Musée d'Orsay will be opening their latest exhibition in February dedicated to Whistler's Masterpieces from the Frick Collection. Henry Clay Frick famously purchased eighteen pictures by Whistler, including the likes of Symphony in Flesh Colour and Pink: Portrait of Mrs. Frances Leyland (pictured). The exhibition will run from 8th February until 8th May 2022.

Coincidentally, the Royal Academy's show Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan will be running in London from 26th February until 22nd May 2022.

The Kingdom of Amphitrite or The Discovery of America ?

January 17 2022

Image of The Kingdom of Amphitrite or The Discovery of America ?

Picture: Galleria Borghese

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For those readers who enjoy attempts to solve mysteries, the Italian art news website finestresullarte have published an extended piece (in Italian) on the potential meanings of the above painting by Jacopo Zucchi (1541-1596) in Rome Galleria Borghese. The work, dating to c.1585, was produced for Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici (Florence, 1549 - 1609) and has always raised debate about its potential subject and meaning. Scholars have flip-flopped between The Kingdom of Amphitrite, The Treasures of the Sea or even The Discovery of America. Several versions of the work survive, including one in the Borys Voznytsky National Gallery in Lviv and two others in private collections. Click on the link to read more.

Recent Release: Through Vincent's Eyes

January 17 2022

Image of Recent Release: Through Vincent's Eyes

Picture: Yale University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Yale University Press have published Eik Kahng's new book Through Vincent's Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources this month. The publication is intended to compliment an exhibition of the same name held at the Columbus Museum of Art (November 12, 2021–February 6, 2022) and Santa Barbara Museum of Art (February 27–May 22, 2022).

According to the publisher's blurb:

A revelatory resituation of Van Gogh’s familiar works in the company of the surprising variety of nineteenth-century art and literature he most revered.

Vincent van Gogh’s (1853–1890) idiosyncratic style grew out of a deep admiration for and connection to the nineteenth-century art world. This fresh look at Van Gogh’s influences explores the artist’s relationship to the Barbizon School painters Jean-François Millet and Georges Michel—Van Gogh’s self-proclaimed mentors—as well as to Realists like Jean-François Raffaëlli and Léon Lhermitte. New scholarship offers insights into Van Gogh’s emulation of Adolphe Monticelli, his absorption of the Hague School through Anton Mauve and Jozef Israëls, and his keen interest in the work of the Impressionists. This copiously illustrated volume also discusses Van Gogh’s allegiance to the colorism of Eugène Delacroix, as well as his alliance with the Realist literature of Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Although Van Gogh has often been portrayed as an insular and tortured savant, Through Vincent’s Eyes provides a fascinating deep dive into the artist’s sources of inspiration that reveals his expansive interest in the artistic culture of his time.

Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias acquire 6 Lorenzo Tiepolo Pastels

January 14 2022

Image of Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias acquire 6 Lorenzo Tiepolo Pastels

Picture: Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for missing this story at the end of last year. The Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias in Oviedo, Spain, have announced their acquisition of six pastels by Lorenzo Tiepolo (Venice, 1736 – Somosagua, Madrid, 1776). Lorenzo, the son of Giambattista Tiepolo, began his activity as a pastel portraitist in Spain and completed several likenesses of the children of the monarch. The works acquired are a set of pictures depicting 'portraits of popular Spanish types.'

The pastels were acquired through legacies left by Mrs. María Dolores Fuente González, widow of the Hon. Mr. Eugenio Rodríguez Pascual, Marquis of Valdecilla y Pelayo and a private donor.

Pier Francesco Foschi Exhibition at Georgia Museum of Art

January 14 2022

Image of Pier Francesco Foschi Exhibition at Georgia Museum of Art

Picture: University of Utah

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia, USA, will be opening their latest Renaissance art exhibition at the end of this month (spotted via. @Mweilc). Wealth and Beauty: Pier Francesco Foschi and Painting in Renaissance Florence will run from 29th January 2022 till 24th April 2022.

According to the museum's website:

This is the first exhibition dedicated to Pier Francesco Foschi (1502 – 1567), a highly prolific and fashionable Florentine painter whose career spanned nearly five decades. Despite his success among the contemporary public, he fell into nearly complete obscurity after his death. The exhibition offers a timely and critical reevaluation of this versatile and innovative Renaissance master with exceptional works of art from world-renowned museums including the Gallerie degli Uffizi (Florence), the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid) and the Royal Collection Trust (London) that have never been presented in the United States. 

“Wealth and Beauty” will feature paintings and drawings by Foschi and his contemporaries, along with decorative arts objects that provide insight into the world of wealthy 16th-century Florentines. Born in Florence to a family of painters (his father was a member of Botticelli’s workshop), Foschi trained with Andrea del Sarto, one of the most influential artists of the Renaissance. He received commissions from numerous prominent families of Florence, including the Medici, Pucci and Torrigiani. His assignments included small devotional images and large church altarpieces and frescoes, but he is best known today for his portraits. In his own lifetime he became one of the most sought-after portraitists in his city, celebrated for his ability to convey the gravitas of his subjects and represent the objects that connoted their social and economic status.

It looks like the museum will also be running some very interesting events and workshops alongside the exhibition, in case any readers happen to be in the area!

More on the Leicester 'Casta' Paintings

January 14 2022

Image of More on the Leicester 'Casta' Paintings

Picture: Leicester Museum & Art Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Readers might remember last December's story regarding a set of eighteenth-century Mexican 'Casta' paintings from the Leicester Museum & Art Gallery that are at the centre of a new research project. An article in The Guardian had claimed that the pictures had been marked for destruction at some point in the recent past.

I decided to contact the gallery to ask for a little more information regarding the works and what evidence they had for this proposed fate.

Thankfully, a spokesperson from the gallery has kindly replied to my enquiry with the following information:

During their 170 years in Leicester the Casta paintings have not been on public display, they have been subject to trial and test conservation techniques (incomplete), it is assumed that they were used as training aides for the in house conservation studios that the museums had decades ago. They also have white chalk crosses marked on the reverse of their frames, and three of them also have the word DUMP written in unknown handwriting, also in white chalk. Leicester’s fine art collection has never been subjected to a formal collection review but at some point in the past this indicates that these paintings may have been marked for disposal.     

Leicester Museum & Art Gallery is an accredited museum and we would not destroy, nor prepare any of our collection for destruction, we follow the Museum Associations code of ethics for collections disposal. Disposal, in simplified terms, is the process of formally removing an object from a museum’s collection to be donated to another appropriate alternative collection.

Furthermore, the spokesperson has indicated that the upcoming display Casta, the Origin of Caste will run from the 19th of March to the 19th June 2022 at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery.

'Picturing the City' with the Bank of England's Art Collection

January 13 2022

Image of 'Picturing the City' with the Bank of England's Art Collection

Picture: The Bank of England

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Bank of England have launched a new online exhibition entitled Picturing the City. The online site, powered through Google Arts and Culture, allows you to compare historic views of the city from the bank's art collection against modern photographs of the same spots.

According to their website:

This digital exhibition brings together eight landscape paintings from our collection, showing us the beautiful scenery historic London has to offer. These paintings reveal the changing economic landscapes that built this city, as well as the people who have lived, worked and played here. 

You’ll go all over London – from leafy Hampstead Heath to the industrial landscape of the Docklands – and meet a variety of people on your journey.

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