Previous Posts: November 2023

Italian Police Locate Lost Botticelli?

November 30 2023

Image of Italian Police Locate Lost Botticelli?

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Regular readers of this blog will recall Bendor's particular penchant for press photos of the Italian police posing next to recovered looted art. The Guardian have today presented us with the following example accompanied by a most curious story. The Italian police’s cultural heritage team have located a Madonna and Child purportedly by Botticelli in a private home in Naples, and have connected the painting to a work which went missing from Santa Maria delle Grazie, in the municipality of Santa Maria la Carità in Naples, over fifty years ago. The police are currently trying to establish the ownership of the painting.

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Of course, the question of whether the authorship of this very yellowed and damaged work can be substantiated is perhaps the most pertinent question on many of the minds of readers of this particular blog. Do let me know if you find a better image of the painting itself, which seems to be lacking in all of these articles. 

Update - A reader has very kindly forwarded the following article which contains this slightly better image:

Well, despite the condition, it doesn't look terribly promising...

Stolen Still Life Returned to Georgian Museum of Fine Arts

November 30 2023

Image of Stolen Still Life Returned to Georgian Museum of Fine Arts

Picture: agenda.ge

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from Tbilisi, Georgia, that a stolen still life purportedly by Jean Siméon Chardin has been returned to the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts in the city. The work had gone missing from the museum in 1994, and was rediscovered when someone alerted the relevant ministry to its reappearance.

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With such a distracting yellowed varnish, one can imagine why it may well have been returned (!)

New Release: Hidden Patrons Women and Architectural Patronage in Georgian Britain

November 30 2023

Image of New Release: Hidden Patrons Women and Architectural Patronage in Georgian Britain

Picture: Bloomsbury

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For those readers interested in architectural history, Bloomsbury have just today released a new book entitled Hidden Patrons: Women and Architectural Patronage in Georgian Britain. The publication by Amy Boyington appears to be a much needed architectural counterpart to the growth in publications on Georgian female artists over the past decade or so.

According to the blurb:

An enduring myth of Georgian architecture is that it was purely the pursuit of male architects and their wealthy male patrons. History states that it was men who owned grand estates and houses, who commissioned famous architects, and who embarked upon elaborate architectural schemes.

Hidden Patrons dismantles this myth - revealing instead that women were at the heart of the architectural patronage of the day, exerting far more influence and agency than has previously been recognised. Architectural drawing and design, discourse, and patronage were interests shared by many women in the eighteenth century. Far from being the preserve of elite men, architecture was a passion shared by both sexes, intellectually and practically, as long as they possessed sufficient wealth and autonomy.

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Arnolfini?

November 29 2023

Video: The Courtauld

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has very kindly drawn my attention to the following lecture filmed at the Courtauld Institute the other week (I am yet to watch it myself). The presentation by Dr Stephan Kemperdick, Curator of Early Netherlandish and Early German Painting at the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, examines the documentary evidence for the portrait's traditional identification. Amongst his claims is that the identification with the Arnolfini family is a misreading of an inventory description, and this famous image may well in fact be a forgotten self portrait of the artist and his wife.

The Secrets of Paintings Colloquium

November 29 2023

Image of The Secrets of Paintings Colloquium

Picture: dfk-paris.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Speakers of French, German and English might be interested in the following colloquium which is being organised in Paris in early December. Entitled (in translation) The Secrets of Painting. Practice and Theory of Painting, Manner, and Materiality in Eighteenth-Century French Art, the free event will examine the view of painting as a specific material legacy of the fine arts in eighteenth century France. With a broad range of international speakers, and streamed on Zoom for free it seems, the event will take place in Paris on 7th and 8th December 2023. 

New Release: Petrarch and Sixteenth-Century Italian Portraiture

November 29 2023

Image of New Release: Petrarch and Sixteenth-Century Italian Portraiture

Picture: AUP

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Amsterdam University Press have just released the following publication on the subject of Petrarch and Sixteenth-Century Italian Portraiture. Edited by the scholars Ilaria Bernocchi, Nicolò Morelli and Federica Pich, this new volume appears to be an interesting one for anyone interested in Italian renaissance portraits.

According to the book's blurb:

The volume presents a wide-ranging investigation of the ways in which Petrarch’s legacy informed the relationship between visual and literary portraits in sixteenth-century Italy. Petrarch’s vast literary production influenced the intellectual framework in which new models of representation and self-representation developed during the Renaissance. His two sonnets on Laura’s portrait by Simone Martini and his ambivalent fascination with the illusionary power of portraiture in his Latin texts — such as the Secretum, the Familiares and De remediis utriusque fortune — constituted the theoretical reference for artists and writers alike. In a century dominated by the rhetorical comparison between art and literature (ut pictura poësis) and by the paragone debate, the interplay between Petrarch’s oeuvre, Petrarchism and portraiture shaped the discourse on the relationship between the sitters’ physical image and their inner life. The volume brings together diverse interdisciplinary contributions that explore the subject through a rich body of literary and visual sources.

Pier Francesco Foschi given first monograph exhibition in Florence

November 28 2023

Video: Italia7

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Florence that the  Galleria dell’Accademia have opened the first ever monograph exhibition in Europe dedicated to Pier Francesco Foschi (1502-1567) today. Known primarily as a student of Andrea del Sarto, and a collaborator with Pontormo, the exhibition brings together 40 works or so by the artist alongside paintings by contemporaries.

The exhibition opens today and will run until 10th March 2024.

New Release: Architecture in Britain and Ireland 1530–1830

November 28 2023

Image of New Release: Architecture in Britain and Ireland 1530–1830

Picture: Yale University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the Paul Mellon Centre that Yale University Press have today released their latest publication. Architecture in Britain and Ireland 1530–1830 is the latest book by the architectural and English Heritage properties historian Steven Brindle.

According to the book's blurb:

Across three chronological sections: 1530–1660, 1660–1760 and 1760–1830, this volume explores how architectural culture evolved from a subject carried solely in the minds and skills of craftsmen to being embodied in books and documents and with new professions – architects, surveyors and engineers – in charge. With chapters dedicated to towns and cities, landscape, infrastructure, military architecture and industrial architecture, and beautifully illustrated with new photography, detailed graphics and a wealth of historic images, Architecture in Britain and Ireland, 1530–1830 is an invaluable resource for students, historians and anyone with an interest in the architecture of this period, and promises to become a definitive work of scholarship in the field.

Free Blake Society Journal

November 28 2023

Image of Free Blake Society Journal

Picture: blakesociety.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

To celebrate William Blake's birthday on 29th November The Blake Society have made their most recent edition of their annual journal free and available online (along with the three past editions also). This edition's theme is War and Peace and contains no less than 26 articles (!)

A History of Cats in Indian Art

November 28 2023

Image of A History of Cats in Indian Art

Picture: Aleph Books

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Just in time for Christmas, Aleph Books have published a new book on the subject of Cats in Indian Art. The Indian Cat: Stories, Paintings, Poetry, and Proverbs was written by the late Indian art critic and historian Brijinder Nath Goswamy. 

According to the book's blurb:

The Indian Cat first presents a delightful picture of the cat in our written and oral literatures. This is followed by a catalogue of paintings, each showcasing a different aspect of the place accorded to cats in our society. Then there is a selection of poetry about the cat, much of which is translated from a wide swathe of languages including Urdu, Hindi, Persian, and Bengali. The final section presents proverbs, sayings, and idioms on the animal.

Johannes Stradanus Conference in Florence

November 28 2023

Image of Johannes Stradanus Conference in Florence

Picture: niki-florence.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It's not too late to sign up to join the upcoming international conference on Johannes Stradanus (1523-1605): A Flemish Artist in Florence in the Age of Exploration being held in Florence in two days time. The conference is free and is also being held online for those not able to travel to the city. The event is being held to coincide with the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio's exhibition on the artist which runs until 18th February 2024.

The University of Vienna are Hiring!

November 27 2023

Image of The University of Vienna are Hiring!

Picture: univie.ac.at

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The University of Vienna are hiring a University Professor of Early Modern European Art History.

According to the job description:

The professorship is intended to comprehensively represent the area of Early Modern Art in research and teaching (architecture, painting, sculpture, art theory), with a focus on Italian Baroque Art. Methodological and theoretical competence, experience in teaching at all levels of training and in supervising theses as well as in obtaining third-party funding are expected. Tasks include participation in introductory and epoch-lectures at the Department of Art History as well as in the Research Cluster on “Art History and Visual Culture” at the Doctoral School of Historical and Cultural Studies.

Curiously, the specification ends with the following:

Given equal qualifications, preference will be given to female candidates.

No salary is indicated on the website and applications must be in by 15th December 2023.

Good luck if you're applying!

Kenwood Cornelius Johnson Conserved

November 27 2023

Image of Kenwood Cornelius Johnson Conserved

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian published the news at the end of last week that Kenwood House's Portrait of Diana Cecil by Cornelius Johnson has been conserved. Indeed, the removal of later overpaint in the face has shown that the sitter had 'received the so-called “Kylie Jenner treatment” – with touch-ups involving plumping the sitter’s lips and lowering her hairline.' The before and after photos (see above) show that the surface is entirely abraded (particularly in the fragile pigments of the hair), a reason why the work may have been so heavily retouched in the past. The article also explains that cleaning has revealed the portrait's date of 1634 and the artist's signature.

Click on the link above to read more.

Rubens International Study Day at Dulwich in 2024

November 27 2023

Image of Rubens International Study Day at Dulwich in 2024

Picture: Dulwich Picture Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some readers may be interested in the following study day organised by the Dulwich Picture Gallery in the New Year. The day has been arranged to coincide with the gallery's current Rubens & Women exhibition, which runs until 28th January 2024.

Here's a list of the four sessions planned for the day-long event:

Session 1 - Gender  

Exhibition Co-Curator Dr Amy Orrock and Dr Olenka Horbatsch, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, will introduce Rubens’s writings and drawings on women. What might the evidence on paper reveal about his studio practice and the role of women in his life?

Session 2 – Beauty  

Jacqueline Ansell, Senior Lecturer and writer, explores the topic of beauty through the fashion of the time, its meaning and connection to the works of Rubens.   

Session 3 – Love

Dr. Bert Watteeuw, Director of the Rubens House, will present new archival discoveries on Helena Fourment, fleshing out a rather meagre historiographical profile and returning agency to a mute muse. 

Session 4 – Power 

Co-Curator Dr Ben van Beneden will highlight how Rubens merged politics and power in his art, as he was not only the most internationally acclaimed artist of his time but also an important diplomat who was sent on missions to Spain, the Netherlands and England.   

The study day will take place on Friday 19th January 2024 and will cost a mere £25 to attend.

Lorenzo Lotto and Pellegrino Tibaldi in Cuneo

November 27 2023

Video: grp.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new exhibition has opened in Cuneo, Italy, celebrating the nuanced influences between the sixteenth century painters Lorenzo Lotto and Pellegrino Tibaldi, a subject which has only recently been investigated. The highlight appears to be the display of the seven canvases which form the so-called 'Lauretan cycle', which were completed for Chapel of the Choir of the church of Santa Maria di Loreto.

This show at the city's Complesso Monumentale di San Francesco will run until 17th March 2024.

Sleeper Alert!

November 27 2023

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: ader-paris.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News has reached us that the following painting catalogued as 'École ANVERSOISE vers 1620, entourage de Pierre Paul RUBENS' realised an impressive €108,800 at Ader in Paris last week. The catalogue note draws comparison to Van Dyck's Lamentation in the Prado, Madrid.

Dürer Woodcuts at Strawberry Hill House

November 27 2023

Video: Strawberry Hill House & Garden

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Strawberry Hill House & Garden in Twickenham, London, have created the following video to celebrate their current exhibition The Devil is in the Detail: Dürer’s Great Passion and Early Woodcuts from the Schroder Collection. The video follows the artist Elena Greggio in producing a woodcut print from scratch. A very time consuming process indeed, just imagine creating something far more complex!

The show will run until 10th April 2024.

Château de Chantilly pre-empt Miniature

November 24 2023

Image of Château de Chantilly pre-empt Miniature

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Château de Chantilly have announced that they have pre-empted a miniature sold in the recent Christie's Paris auction. Jean Decourt's group portrait, showing Catherine de Medici surrounded by her family, realised a total of €22,680 (inc. commission) in the recent sale.

The catalogue note makes for an interesting read, and claims the following:

Further research is necessary in order to determine whether this miniature is an isolated work or, more likely, an illumination detached from a larger manuscript. The central positioning of Catherine de’ Medici, as well as her love for portraits, suggests that this miniature was likely commissioned by the queen mother herself. The unlikely gathering of the two brothers who were each kings of France and the absence of their younger siblings Francis and Margaret, reinforces the significance of this miniature as celebrating the ascension of Henry III to the throne in 1575.

London Art Week Symposium on Conservation

November 24 2023

Image of London Art Week Symposium on Conservation

Picture: londonartweek.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

London Art Week are holding a symposium on the subject of THE ART OF CONSERVATION: PRESERVATION, RESTORATION & FRAMING in December. The event is hosted by the National Portrait Gallery and contains a full day's worth of talks.

The program includes the following subjects:

HOW STUDY INFORMS PAINTING CONSERVATION PRACTICE

BENEATH THE SURFACE: UNTOLD STORIES FROM THE HISTORY OF CONSERVATION

REFRAMING THE IMAGE: HISTORIC PICTURE FRAMES & THEIR CHANGING FASHIONS

The symposium will be held on 5th December 2023 and will cost a mere £20 to attend.

Omai Acquisition of the Year

November 24 2023

Image of Omai Acquisition of the Year

Picture: Apollo

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It is perhaps little surprise that the Apollo Magazine's annual Acquisition of the Year has been awarded to the NPG and Getty's joint purchase of Sir Joshua Reynolds' Portrait of Omai. This painting, which had sold for £10.3 (including fees) at Sotheby's in 2001, was acquired jointly by the museums for a staggering £50m.

According to the article linked above:

As the original press release accompanying the export stop in March 2022 made clear, ‘This magnificent British portrait has a global resonance.’ There is no reason why visitors to the Getty at the time of the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 should not be at least as interested in seeing a great painting of a Polynesian as visitors to the top floor of the newly redisplayed NPG in London. So, it feels appropriate that the joint purchase of Mai by the NPG and the Getty should mark a new era of international museum collaboration in acquisitions.

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I've stood in front of the painting a few times in the past few weeks, and what an impressive picture it is within the NPG's new displays. One small point that has always fascinated me is the claim (according to signage and the NPG website) that 'it was the first British portrait to represent a person of colour with grandeur, dignity and authority.' Doesn't Sir Godfrey Kneller's portrait of Michael Alphonsus Shen Fu-Tsung, signed and dated 1687 in the Royal Collection, have a better claim to this, perhaps?

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