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Art History Today
Midlands, United Kingdom
Professional Art Historian, Phd in Poussin,
Interests: music, art history, films, (classical through to rock), literature (mainly modern crime mystery).
Recent Activity
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This phrase is the renaissance scholar’s David Rosand’s, and I came across it while researching my next course on the art of Venice: Venice, Renaissance to Ruskin. I was intrigued by the phrase, especially as I wanted to consider how Venice used its complex system of signs including such images as the “Lion of St Mark”, as in Carpaccio’s painting shown above,Venetia (the personification of Venice) to present a picture of the state to the world, and of course its own citizens. In his book Myths of Venice: The Figuration of a State (2001) Rosand presents an iconographical exposition of... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Art History Today
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J Just a reminder for people who don’t know about the on-line celebration of Hasan Niyazi’s life and work. All kinds of posts over on his blog. The photo above is off one of these sites- it shows Hasan in Florence. Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Art History Today
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I must have known Hasan Niyazi for about four to three years, though we never met more’s the pity. Thinking back on the exchanges we had, I got the impression that he was taking a long time to get used to Poussin. That’s true for many people! One thing I do recall is that Hasan was fascinated by a remark that Poussin is reported – by Bellori- to have made that Caravaggio was brought into the world to destroy painting. Hasan was intrigued, perplexed and agitated by this remark as Caravaggio was one of his favourite artists on TPP. Go... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2014 at Art History Today
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With the focus on the rediscovery of ancient art at Herculaneum and Pompeii, here wonderfully realized by L J Deprez. week 10 Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at Art History Today
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Weeks 8 and 9. 10 soon… Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at Art History Today
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You wait for one GT post to come,, and then three turn up at the same time! Week five, six and seven. Above, Hubert Robert’s Pilgrims at St Peter’s in Rome. Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2014 at Art History Today
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If there is one image that sums up the Grand Tour, it’s Zoffany’s picture gallery of connoisseurs…….the subject of the latest instalment. Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2014 at Art History Today
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Following on from my post about Charles Murray’s survey of historically outstanding figures, including artists, I note there’s a similar book for the Wiki and Google Age. Who’s Bigger:Where Historical Figures Really rank uses statistical data based on use of the English version of Wikipedia. This is Murray’s page counting metrics transposed to the hyperlinking, wiki-building generation. The brains behind the project, Steven Skiena and Charles Ward said to the Independent. "We analyse the Wikipedia pages of over 800,000 people to measure quantities that should correspond to historical significance. We would expect that more significant people should have longer Wikipedia... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2014 at Art History Today
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Sherlock Holmes famously said to Dr Watson that he didn’t know the earth went round the sun. From time to time in the canon of stories, Holmes's ignorance of astronomy is refuted. There was a clever use of this in the BBC’s Sherlock where the outcome of a case, as well as somebody’s life, depended upon Holmes deciphering a painting like a connoisseur. After scanning the signature, the facture and other parts of the canvas, it suddenly hit the detective that a series of paint splotches were arrayed in the shape of an astronomical cluster. The fraudster-artist having a penchant... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2014 at Art History Today
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As was shown last week, Florence didn’t appear in the visual record until later in the century when the city was mapped out for visitors. Eventually, a standard guide to Florence published by the city’s single printing house appeared. This guide divided the city up into quarters and documented every church and building of significance within each quadrant. The geographical knowledge of visitors would vary. Stendhal (shown here) says he knew the city well from studying maps beforehand, but on arrival he bought a “descriptive guide.” However, even armed with this he still had to stop twice to ask directions... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2014 at Art History Today
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This phrase occurs in a press statement from the Dept of Culture, Ministry and Sport about a temporary export ban on Poussin’s Young Moses Treading on Pharaoh's Crown which is owned by the Duke of Bedford. “The painting by Nicolas Poussin depicting the moment the infant Moses trampled Pharaoh’s crown, will be exported overseas unless a matching offer of £14,000,000 is made. The Culture Minister issued the temporary export bar in the hope that a UK buyer can be found in the time allowed. Ed Vaizey took the decision following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2014 at Art History Today
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Over Christmas I read a book by Charles Murray called Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 BC to 1950. In this volume its author attempts to define eminence since 800 BC until 1950. By the use of statistics and the science of historimetry- the practice of measuring genius through historical trends or by data-, Murray draws up lists of the most outstanding individuals in the arts and sciences. Tabulating the Lexicons of Art History. The tables and written sections on artists will be of most interest to people reading this blog, though his explorations... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2014 at Art History Today
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Shocking revelations from Artwatch about accidents with sculpture in leading museums. Like this terra cotta relief by Andrea della Robbia which fell off the wall at the Met in the middle of the night. No wonder the Met aren’t returning AW’s calls. Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2014 at Art History Today
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Three weeks on Florence- starting with views of the city. Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2014 at Art History Today
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Not from me, for a change. Last week I was sent an article by Bill Peterson. The end of the article will tell you all about Bill, but I’ll say that he has worked at the Getty and admires Poussin’s Holy Family with 11 Figures which is shared between that museum and the Norton Simon. It’s a long article but worth reading. This took me back to my doctorate as I wrote a lot on the Holy Family, the Flight into Egypt and similar subjects. And I fully agree with Bill that St Joseph in this- and a number of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at Art History Today
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“When I was a young man, I sometimes indulged in a daydream of being accompanied to Italy by an educated Englishman, well versed in general history and the history of art...Tischbien has long been devoted to me, and has always wanted to show me Rome, where he has lived for so long…Where could I have found a better guide?” Goethe, Italian Journey, 1786. Weekly Sessions. Goethe (shown here in the Roman Campagna) was one of the many travellers who headed towards Italy in search of art, culture and the experience of the “Grand Tour” in the 18th and early 19th... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2014 at Art History Today
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Compliments of the Season to all of AHT’s readers. In the new year I intend to keep publishing posts. Plans include- to remind me as much as you…… An online course/blog on Art on the Italian Grand Tour 1750-1820. Posts on Museums and Aesthetics Posts on Viewing Art in the Age of Distraction. More Poussin case studies. A post on Poussin and Raphael ( on Raphael’s Birthday, and in honour of the late H Niyazi) Book reviews and anything else that interests me.! Happy Christmas! Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2013 at Art History Today
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“A landscape picture is an image of the outside world adorning the walls of our indoor world. The Getty turns its vistas into posthistorical landscape pictures framed by the windows. The galleries for the permanent collection forms three-quarters of a circle, so you complete the collection by looking at the city below. Meier thus actively encourages the visitor to look outward and think of the landscape as an additional work of art.” David Carrier, Museum Skepticism. In his essay on the Getty, David Carrier observes that unlike most museums where one moves inwards and away from the city, seldom reminded... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2013 at Art History Today
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Forged: Why Fakes are the Great Art of Our Age, Jonathon Keats, Oxford University Press, 2013. “No authentic modern masterpiece is as provocative as a great forgery. Forgers are the foremost artists.” Jonathon Keats is a journalist who has written for a variety of art journals in the States, and his book has been written not for an academic audience, but for a wider readership. The book’s structure is interesting: an essay on the art of the forger; a middle section comprised of six sections, each dealing with a specific forger and theme; and an epilogue which roams far beyond... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2013 at Art History Today
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And so we come to the end of the Old Masters in America course. Some compare the Getty to an American Louvre; others dismiss it as clinical, authoritarian folie de grandeur in the Californian hills. Whatever you think of it, it’s part of the L.A. culturescape, and impossible to ignore. Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2013 at Art History Today
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Not everybody likes Los Angeles. I’ve been twice and I didn’t mind it. Like it or loathe it, the City of the Angels has lots of great museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, our penultimate museum on the American blog. Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2013 at Art History Today
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Book Review. Anna Tummers, The Eye of the Connoisseur: Authenticating Paintings by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries, , University of Amsterdam, 2011, published in the U.S.A. by J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2011, 349 pages. A Significant Deattribution. For many members of the general public, the ways of curators and museum professionals remain as inscrutable as the workings of the divine. As Anna Tummers confides in her introduction, many paintings are attributed and de-attributed out of the public eye. And it was such a clandestine demotion at the National Gallery Washington during 2004-5 that sowed the seeds that became this... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2013 at Art History Today
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Over on the American Old Master blog we’re taking a detour to Texas to one of the finest museums in the country. Only 350 works, but most of exceptional quality. Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2013 at Art History Today
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What follows is the presentation of an on-going investigation into the fortunes of a painting. It is divided into two main sections, each a different mode of reporting. The first is in the form of a narrative account, the story of my research; the second is a more systematic catalogue entry with some points raised at the end for further consideration. A Neglected Painting in Chicago. With the advent of digital technology, museum collections are laid out on line, and it is easier to see what works of art institutions own. The advantage of this for the researcher is that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2013 at Art History Today
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So we arrive at the museum in the nation’s capitol over on the Old Masters in the New World blog. I promise that there will be more substantial posting on AHT. There is a fascinating art case study coming very soon. Watch this space! Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2013 at Art History Today