Previous Posts: October 2023

The British Art Journal to Cease?

October 24 2023

Image of The British Art Journal to Cease?

Picture: britishartjournal.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some rather sad news to report that The British Art Journal (BAJ) will cease publication on 31 December of this year.

According to the journal's website:

We very much regret having to announce that The British Art Journal will cease publication on 31 December this year, 2023, with the publication of Volume XXIV, No. 3, owing to the retirement of the editor. It may well start again under new management, but nothing has yet been decided. 

In the circumstances, we are not accepting any new subscriptions. 

This is genuinely sad news, as the journal has over the years been instrumental in publishing cutting edge research relating to the art of these isles. Indeed, the journal has always been a welcoming place for budding scholars, with many of them publishing their debut articles there (myself included). This has had much to do with the boundless energy and enthusiasm of its long-time Editor, Robin Simon, who will be a very hard act to follow.

I sincerely hope that a new editor is found in due course, to lead this vital British art publication into this new age.*

* - Maybe the present (woefully underqualified) writer of this post feels morally obliged to put his hat in the ring for the job!

Update - Bendor here, to add: first, that I can vouch for Adam's excellent and highly qualified editing skills; second that Robin Simon and the BAJ have been an extraordinary force for good in promoting British art history for the last few decades, and it has been a pleasure to be both a subscriber and occasional contributor; third, that British art history really needs a journal where people of all backgrounds can contribute, and not be excluded by the gatekeeping that afflicts some other publications.

But this shouldn't stop us celebrating Robin's achievements at the BAJ. Many years ago, when I was more diligent on the blog, I began a category called 'Heroes of Art History'. I hereby nominate Robin for AHN immortalisation - hail, Robin!

THE RÉGENCE IN PARIS (1715-1723) at the Musée Carnavalet

October 24 2023

Video: Musée Carnavalet

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Musée Carnavalet in Paris have just opened an exhibition on the Régence (1715-1723), a period when the cultural life of the capital was flourishing. Judging from photographs it appears to be full of paintings and portraits of the period, including those loaned by major French museums and private collections.

The show will run until 25th February 2024.

New Release: Van Dyck in Italy - Technical Studies

October 24 2023

Image of New Release: Van Dyck in Italy - Technical Studies

Picture: Il Geko Edizioni

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Italian website Finestre sull'Arte have published an extended article on a new book dedicated to technical analysis of Van Dyck's Italian period. The publication by Michela Fasce examines sixteen works by the artist, and investigates exactly how and with what materials Van Dyck was producing paintings during this time of his career.

_____________

As an aside, it is a recurring feature that many of his Italian period paintings don't tend to age very well. Apart from the usual damages from overcleaning, many of his canvases have suffered greatly from losses and degradations of colour and vibrancy. I wonder if this might be explored in the book too...

Louvre Acquires Kitchen Cimabue?

October 24 2023

Image of Louvre Acquires Kitchen Cimabue?

Picture: oisehebdo.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A French news outlet have published a piece speculating that the Louvre are about to announce their acquisition of the rare Cimabue which was discovered in a French kitchen back in 2019. The work was eventually sold at the Hotel des Ventes de Senlis for €24.18m, where it was reportedly purchased by the American collectors Alvaro Saieh and Ana Guzmán but immediately declared a national treasure by the French State.

More news if and when it appears...

Download the Getty's 'Conserving Canvas' for free!

October 24 2023

Image of Download the Getty's 'Conserving Canvas' for free!

Picture: Getty Publications

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Getty publications posted some interesting news on 'X' concerning their recent publication Conserving Canvas as open content. This means that the entire publication, which is currently available to purchase as a hard-copy, can be accessed or even downloaded as a PDF or EPub for free.

The publication, edited by Cynthia Schwarz, Ian McClure, and Jim Coddington, contains vast amounts of papers delivered at a conference in 2019 on the subject of past and present practises in relation to the conservation of canvases.

Christopher Baker announced as Editor of The Burlington Magazine

October 24 2023

Image of Christopher Baker announced as Editor of The Burlington Magazine

Picture: British Art Network

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from The Burlington Magazine's board that they have appointed Christopher Baker as the publication's new Editor. Christopher will be taking over from Michael Hall whose retirement was announced earlier in the summer.

A few notes regarding Baker's background:

Christopher Baker is an Hon. Professor at Edinburgh University. He has enjoyed a successful career at the National Galleries of Scotland (2003-22), most recently as the director with responsibility for the collection and programme at the Scottish National Gallery and Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Christopher has also worked at Christ Church, Oxford, and the National Gallery in London and has held Visiting Fellowships at the Yale Center for British Art and British School at Rome. 

His non-executive roles in the U.K. include membership the Advisory Board of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and the Spoliation Advisory Panel. He has organised many exhibitions in Britain and internationally and his acclaimed Catalogue of English Drawings and Watercolours, 1600-1900, National Gallery of Scotland was published in 2011. A longstanding contributor to The Burlington, Christopher was convenor of the Magazine’s History of Collecting conferences (2003) and co-editor of the resulting book.

Holbein and the Renaissance in the North

October 23 2023

Image of Holbein and the Renaissance in the North

Picture: staedelmuseum.de

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Admirers of the works of Hans Holbein will have major exhibitions in both London and Frankfurt this winter! The Städel Museum will be opening their latest show next week dedicated to Holbein and the Renaissance in the North

According to the museum's website:

It was a turning point in the history of art: Renaissance painting. What had begun in Italy developed into something completely new in Northern Europe in the works of the painters Hans Holbein the Elder (ca. 1464–1524) and Hans Burgkmair (1473–1531), pioneers of this singular art. Its centre was the free imperial and mercantile city of Augsburg, which became the capital of a German—but also an international—Renaissance within just a few decades. None other than Hans Holbein the Younger (1497–1543), one of the German Renaissance’s greatest painters, would ultimately make this art known throughout Europe.

The show will run from 2nd November 2023 until 18th February 2024.

€15m Leonardo Drawing to Leave France

October 23 2023

Image of €15m Leonardo Drawing to Leave France

Picture: Le Monde

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from France that the French State has finally been forced by a court to sign an export license for a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, following on from a story posted here last May

Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael at the RA in 2024

October 23 2023

Image of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael at the RA in 2024

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems like the Royal Academy in London will be putting on a remarkable Florentine extravaganza in November 2024. Their online calendar has recently published the dates for their upcoming exhibition entitled Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael: Florence, c. 1504

It's a little long way off yet, but the show will be scheduled from 9th November 2024 until 16th February 2025.

Upcoming Release: François Le Moyne Catalogue Raisonné

October 23 2023

Image of Upcoming Release: François Le Moyne Catalogue Raisonné

Picture: silvana editoriale

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Exciting news that in January 2024 a new catalogue raisonné for François Le Moyne (1688-1737) will be published. The catalogue was edited by Professor Jean-Luc Bordeaux and (if my French is correct) has added 140 paintings and 250 drawings to his oeuvre.

For those who want to preorder their copy, the publisher's website has a very generous discount on at the moment of 30 euros off!

Dieric Bouts - Creator of Images

October 20 2023

Image of Dieric Bouts - Creator of Images

Picture: mleuven.be

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This autumn the M Leuven are celebrating the creative genius of the early Netherlandish artist Dieric Bouts (c.1415–1475). This is being marked by both an exhibition and a new publication on the artist (pictured) as part of the 'New Horizons | Dieric Bouts Festival'.

According to the museum's website:

The concept of this exhibition is definitely radical: we are not allowed to look at Bouts as an artist. The image we have today of the artiste peintre did not exist in the 15th century. Dieric Bouts was not a romantic genius or brilliant inventor, he was an image-maker. He painted what was expected of him and excelled at it, just think about master pieces such as ‘The Last Supper’ and ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus’. That is why it makes sense to confront him with today's image-makers of sports photographers, filmmakers and game developers. M places them side-by-side with the old master.

The exhibition opened today and will close on 14th January 2024.

Genoese Drawings and Prints at The British Museum

October 20 2023

Image of Genoese Drawings and Prints at The British Museum

Picture: The British Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The British Museum have recently opened their latest free exhibition of Old Master Drawings and Prints. Superb line prints and drawings from Genoa 1500–1800 examines the rich collections of works on paper from Genoa in the museum's collection. With over fifty works on display, spanning three centuries, it seems to be the perfect opportunity to examine some rare treasures rarely on display.

According to the museum's website:

From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the port city of Genoa was one of Italy's major artistic centres. Nicknamed 'La Superba' ('the proud one') by the Medieval poet Petrarch, it was among the wealthiest cities on the Italian peninsula, with strong trade links across Europe and beyond. 

These links and the riches they brought made Genoa a desirable destination for painters and sculptors wanting to study or find lucrative work. Superb line opens with works by the first major arrival, Raphael's pupil Perino del Vaga, who transformed the artistic scene when he came in 1528, introducing a new, modern manner seen in drawings like the Venus and Aeneas, which typifies his distinctive blend of graphic confidence and courtly stylishness.

Other prominent artists soon followed Perino's lead and, over the next 150 years, the city continued to attract even bigger names like Rubens and van Dyck. This constant injection of new blood kept Genoa at the cutting edge of artistic trends, creating a nurturing environment for homegrown talents to develop in their own right. In the following centuries the city produced a steady stream of internationally renowned painters, among them Luca Cambiaso, Bernardo Strozzi and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, who were especially feted for their innovative, often experimental graphic works, wowing collectors with dazzling displays of line. Featuring highlights from the British Museum's longstanding holdings of Genoese prints and drawings, this display celebrates the virtuosity and originality of the city's artists.

This free exhibition will run until 1st April 2024.

Berlusconi's Art Collection

October 20 2023

Image of Berlusconi's Art Collection

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian have published an incredibly curious story on the fate of the former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi's art collection. The collection of artworks, which is said to number 25,000 works and cost the former PM  €20m, is said to be 'worthless'. 

To quote the article:

Vittorio Sgarbi, an undersecretary at the culture ministry, art critic and close friend of Berlusconi, said the compulsion for buying art sold through TV auctions began in earnest in 2018 as a result of “sleepless nights”.

He told Report, the investigative series broadcast on Rai, that Berlusconi spent an estimated €20m on what Sgarbi described as a collection of “daubs”, and the focus appeared to be on quantity rather than quality.

...

The family is believed to be considering turning Villa San Martino, where Berlusconi hosted business and political meetings as well as some of his famous “bunga bunga” parties, into a museum.

Looking at the press image supplied, it is quite clear that these are mostly very late copies of famous Italian Old Master paintings. It is a mystery to me how they might have totted up to €20m. Very odd.

Sleeper Alert!

October 20 2023

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: Il Ponte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News shared on 'X' (via. @AuctionRadar) has pointed out that the following Concert in a Landscape, catalogued as 'Follower of Frans Francken', realised an impressive €130,000 over its €1,600 - 1,800 estimate at the Il Ponte Auction House in Milan the other day. 

Klimt & The Kiss - Upcoming Release

October 20 2023

Video: seventh-art.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new film will be out in the cinemas on 30th October 2023 exploring Gustav Klimt's iconic painting in Vienna. Klimt & The Kiss is the latest film documentary by Seventh Art Productions, who were also behind the Vermeer: The Greatest Exhibition film. The film was created in association with The Belvedere, Vienna, the painting's palatial home.

Upcoming Botticelli Drawings Exhibition & Symposium

October 20 2023

Image of Upcoming Botticelli Drawings Exhibition & Symposium

Picture: famsf.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Legion of Honor Museum at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will be opening a major exhibition next month dedicated to Botticelli Drawings. Said to be the first exhibition of its kind, the show will also include a significant symposium on the subject which will be held on 18th November 2023.

A description of the upcoming exhibition:

Botticelli Drawings is the first exhibition ever dedicated to the drawings of Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli (ca. 1445 – 1510). Exploring the foundational role drawing played in Botticelli’s work, the exhibition traces his artistic journey, from studying under maestro Fra Filippo Lippi (c. 1406 – 1469) to leading his own workshop in Florence. Featuring rarely seen and newly attributed works, the exhibition provides insight into the design practice of an artist whose name is synonymous with the Italian Renaissance. Botticelli’s drawings offer an intimate look into the making of some of his most memorable masterpieces, including Adoration of the Magi (c. 1500), which will be reunited with its preparatory drawing, surviving only in fragments. From Botticelli’s earliest recorded drawings through expressive designs for his final painting, the works on display reveal the artist’s experimental drawing techniques, quest for ideal beauty, and command of the line.

The show will run from 19th November 2023 until 14th February 2024.

The RKD are Calling for Stamps and Brands!

October 20 2023

Image of The RKD are Calling for Stamps and Brands!

Picture: codart.nl

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

CODART (International network for curators of art from the Low Countries) have shared news that the RKD in the Netherlands are calling for photographs of makers stamps and brands for a brand-new digital database. As all picture researchers will know, this information can prove vital in assessing the origin, dating and significance of a work of art.

According to the article linked above:

In the project Marks on Art, the RKD works in close collaboration with Prof. em. dr. Jørgen Wadum. The starting point is Wadum’s unique dataset of thousands of marks, collected since the 1980s during visits to collections and auction houses. By January 2025, the RKD aims to present this dataset in its sustainable and freely available database infrastructure, permitting cross-linking between artwork, artist, and technical research data such as dendrochronological research results. In addition, a revised and expanded version of Wadum’s 1998-article ‘The Antwerp Brand on paintings on panel’ will be published in the open access publication platform RKD Studies. This project received a generous grant from the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) providing Wadum with a three-month Conservation Guest Scholarship, as well as a Digital Art History Grant to the RKD from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Details of how to get in touch with the relevant researchers can be found via the link above.

Tate are Hiring!

October 19 2023

Image of Tate are Hiring!

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Tate Britain are hiring a Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art.

According to the job description:

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Tate Britain curatorial department as Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art. An experienced curator of art made in twentieth-century Britain, you will work as part of the Modern British Art team (covering c. 1900-1990). You will be responsible for the care and presentation of the twentieth-century Collection, in particular of those works within the period 1945–1990, and its development through acquisitions. You will be responsible for developing and delivering collection displays and curate exhibitions. A team player, you will be supervised by the Senior Curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art.

The job comes with an annual salary of £40,717 per annum and applications must be in by 22nd October 2023.

Good luck if you're applying!

Ancient Acheulean handaxe Identified in Melun Diptych

October 19 2023

Image of Ancient Acheulean handaxe Identified in Melun Diptych

Picture: cambridge.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I recently came across an article promoting this fascinating research paper that was published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal earlier this summer. The article by Alastair Key, James Clark, Jeremy DeSilva and Steven Kangas discusses their identification of an ancient Acheulean handaxe in Jean Fouquet's Melun Diptych in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.

Here's the paper's abstract:

Handaxes have a uniquely prominent role in the history of Palaeolithic archaeology, and their early study provides crucial information concerning the epistemology of the field. We have little conclusive evidence, however, of their investigation or societal value prior to the mid seventeenth century. Here we investigate the shape, colour and potential flake scarring on a handaxe-like stone object seen in the Melun Diptych, painted by the French fifteenth-century artist Jean Fouquet, and compare its features with artefacts from diverse (including French) Acheulean handaxe assemblages. Commissioned by a high-status individual, Étienne Chevalier, Fouquet's work (Étienne Chevalier with Saint Stephen) depicts an important religious context, while the handaxe-like object points to the stoning to death of an important Christian saint. Our results strongly support the interpretation that the painted stone object represents a flint Acheulean handaxe, likely sourced from northern France, where Fouquet lived. Identifying a fifteenth-century painting of a handaxe does not change what we know about Acheulean individuals, but it does push back the evidence for when handaxes became a prominent part of the ‘modern’ social and cultural world.

The article is free to read via the link above.

The British Museum to embark on £10m Digitization Project

October 19 2023

Image of The British Museum to embark on £10m Digitization Project

Picture: The British Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

In wake of the recent scandal regarding thefts from The British Museum, the organisation has announced a £10m cataloguing and digitization project 'in order to increase security and public access'. The museum has estimated that the project will take 5 years to complete, and will include enhanced access to study rooms so that members of the public can view items from their collection.*

* - Let's hope this includes increasing access to the museum's superb collection of works on paper, which is currently only open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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