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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
With the focus on the collection of the Walpoles (Sir Robert, shown here) and his son Horace. Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at Art History Today
I was reading John Brewer's book on 18th century culture for my country house course. He says that in 1761 the Bristol cleric Josiah Tucker observed that “ a pinmaker was more valuable and useful to a society than a painter like Raphael.” This philistine declaration was severely rebutted by Sir Joshua Reynolds who characterised it as the product of a “very narrow mind.” Sadly, this attitude where political economy becomes part of the discourse about the arts has prevailed and is alive and well today. With another five years of Tory dominance expect more of the same. I am... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at Art History Today
“The country house art collections are an incalculably important and significant part of the cultural heritage of these islands. Even now, when so many have been scattered and many more are in danger, they are unique. To the art-historian, of course, to the student of painting as well as the historian of taste, they possess infinite riches; to the student of British art they provide an enormous mass of primary evidence which has only partly been sifted; but it is also no exaggeration to claim that those collections illuminate the history of civilization in the British Isles.” Oliver Millar, Former... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2015 at Art History Today
I have now posted the last R2R on the website. Amongst its topics are the number of Rembrandts in Reynold’s own collection including the copies he made; like his version of Rembrandt’s Girl leaning on a Window at Dulwich. Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2015 at Art History Today
Looking at painting during the Glorious Revolution and after- mainly Sir Godfrey Kneller shown here. Go here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at Art History Today
Now we’re with Sir Peter Lely and his Dutch followers during the restoration. Not forgetting the famous “Windsor Beauties” like Anne Hyde shown here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Art History Today
….which looks at the Hague school of painting and their connection with England. Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2015 at Art History Today
Here’s week four (with five soon to follow). The focus is on Rembrandt’s patron Constantine Huygens and his links with Holland and England. Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at Art History Today
Here’s the latest blog on the R to R course. This time we’re in Rembrandt's studio In Amsterdam. Like many I was shocked to hear of the sudden and tragic death of the Met’s Walter Liedtke, one of the world’s leading authorities on Dutch & Flemish art. So I guess it’s appropriate to use this post as a modest tribute to him. Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at Art History Today
Rembrandt’s Themes: Life into Art by Richard Verdi, Yale University Press, 2014. "...only learned Rabbis are so profoundly versed in Jewish history and literature as she [George Eliot] is- and this will not only make a more Rembrantish background to her dramatic presentation...without disguising the ludicrous and ugly aspects- so marvellously present the ideal side of that strange life." G. H. Lewes Richard Verdi is a product of the Courtauld where his doctoral dissertation on Poussin’s reception in England and France was supervised by Anthony Blunt; he has also published books and articles on both Poussin and Cézanne. After the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at Art History Today
New post on early modern Antwerp and the art market. Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2015 at Art History Today
New course and blog on Anglo-Dutch painting: Rembrandt to Reynolds. The theme will emerge as we progress…. Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2015 at Art History Today
Thinking of the French people. Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2015 at Art History Today
A interesting cache of Poussin coming up for auction in New York on the 28th Jan. Just some notes on them. 1. A painting, probably a sketch, or fragment of two putti fighting on goats. Pierre Rosenberg put this in his “Poussin et Nature.” exhibition which I saw in 2007. Connected to several drawings, the subject is unknown. 2. A drawing of shields, tents, provisions standards. Poussin often took motifs from Trajan’s Column, or illustrations after it.; or antiquarians like De Choul. Not the best of this series- but still good. 3. A drawing by Charles Mellin, “Presentation... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2015 at Art History Today
Yesterday I had plenty of time before my class so I went to “Unreliable Evidence” a multi-media exhibition showcasing Manet’s "Execution of Maximillian" at the Mead. Maximillian I of the Second Mexican Empire, was a puppet governor of the French and he was executed along with two of his generals by firing squad in 1867. We know what Manet’s original work looked like since his “Maximillian” survives in other versions; this incarnation was bought by the London NG in 1918. It was cut up and damaged, probably by members of Manet's family,- and it was only saved from oblivion by... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Art History Today
Sorry….I have been neglecting this blog of late! More on Kings, connoisseurs and collectors over at the other place. Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at Art History Today
The painters of Louis XIII, the collections of Richelieu and Mazarin- link Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Art History Today
Somebody sent me a link to an interview with art historian Charlotte Guichard who has discovered the signatures and tags of famous artists on walls and furnishings in the Vatican- the graffiti of art history in other words. Guichard claims that she has discovered Poussin’s signature (dated 1627) scratched on a mantelpiece under Raphael’s famous Expulsion of Heliodors. “Under Raphael’s “The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple” fresco at the Vatican, there is a period fireplace made from a very hard type of marble. The entire mantlepiece is engraved with the names of artists from the 17th century to the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2014 at Art History Today
The Layout of the Spanish Collections, Velasquez’s Technique and Alonso de Cárdenas at the English Sales – link Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at Art History Today
Into Spain and the glory of the Spanish kings, and their chief painters- Titian and Velasquez- here Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2014 at Art History Today
I came across this story today- sounds a great idea to me. From the BBC web site and the photo: “A new gallery showing major works of art from Spain's "golden age" is to open in a former bank in Bishop Auckland, County Durham. The gallery will be built by investment manager and art lover Jonathan Ruffer, who owns nearby Auckland Castle. He hopes some paintings will come on loan from the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain's national gallery. In 2012, Mr Ruffer paid £15m to keep a collection of 17th Century Spanish paintings in the UK. The... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2014 at Art History Today
Slightly late, but I plead pressure of work…. The sale of Charles I’s pictures and some of the works and people involved. Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2014 at Art History Today
A reader, Cees de Bondt, contacted me about his research on this picture- The Death of Hyacinth. He thinks there’s a Caravaggio connection because of the inclusion of tennis rackets in the picture. For the uninitiated, Caravaggio is supposed to have gone on the run after killing a Roman in a tennis match. As Kenneth Clark famously said- “That’s taking competitive sports too far.” Cees is the author of Royal Tennis in Renaissance Italy. More information over on Cees’s blog. Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2014 at Art History Today
A sophisticated outlook on art or the application of what Richard Williams calls “aesthetic criteria” (“Collecting and Religion in Late-Sixteenth-century England”) when looking at it does not appear in England until the late 16th century. The Tudors weren’t really collectors of art, though there is the strange episode of the Protestant Elizabeth I trying to obtain an altarpiece by the artist Quentin Metsys from Antwerp. She failed, but eyebrows were raised. Probably, this is an example when the aesthetic and the religious combined because the Queen is said to have liked to put objects on her communion table. Another reason... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at Art History Today
How was Charles I’s collection, acquired, surveyed and displayed? Some notes on that over at the KIng’s blog. Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2014 at Art History Today