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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
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
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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
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The painters of Louis XIII, the collections of Richelieu and Mazarin- link Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Art History Today
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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"The Catholic superstition, which is always the enemy of reason, is often the parent of taste." This intriguing statement occurs in Edward Gibbon’s memoirs. He is portrayed here by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Famously as the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon outraged his family by converting to Roman Catholicism whilist at Oxford in 1753. But this sudden conversion was short-lived. Under threat of disinheritance Gibbon rapidly re-converted to Protestantism a year later, though his comment in his remembrances seems to suggest that he had discerned something of a link between art appreciation and the condition... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2014 at Art History Today
I’ve been contacted by a few people asking for the colour of the typeface to be changed, so white-on-black has changed to black-on-white. I’ve no problem with that, and would have done it sooner if I’d known it was a problem. I’ll be going through the sections of the blog adding/deleting. Today I’ve expanded the “Art Market” section- list of dealers and auction houses. Finally, the second instalment of the Collectors blog is ready. Go here. Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2014 at Art History Today
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It’s that time again: another course started; another blog to go with it. This one was inspired by me reading Francis Haskell’s book (along with a few other volumes) on Charles I and art collecting in 17th century Europe. First instalment here. Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at Art History Today
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By way of introducing a new course on 17th century art collectors I’ve got in the pipeline, here’s a short post on one of them- Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel. More details soon. “In reality the objects coveted by the collector express his eternal pursuit of himself. Supremely unsociable by nature, the collector has no self-confidence apart from his conquests, which recall the moments when he has to some extent mastered his fate.” Pierre Cabanne, The Great Collectors, 1961. This description of a collector might fit the subject of this post, Thomas Howard, the 21st Earl of Arundel (1584- 1646)... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2014 at Art History Today
Very sad news. I used his books extensively, especially Myths of Venice, last term when preparing my Venetian course. I should really dedicate that course to him. There’s a nice eulogy from Karen Wilkin,- here- nice photo too of DR in front of his beloved Titian’s Assunta. Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at Art History Today
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The final weeks on Venice- Turner and Ruskin- are up now. Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2014 at Art History Today
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I finally made it to the Veronese exhibition in London on Friday. Here are my observations of it, complete with misgivings about the battleship grey!. On the Melbourne Art Network. Link Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at Art History Today
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Now in the 18th century we consider patrons and painters, especially Canaletto. Link Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2014 at Art History Today
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The decline and dispersion of Venetian art in the 17th century- and its rejuvenation by Tiepolo and other artists in the early 18th century. Link. Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2014 at Art History Today
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What is “Venetian colour?” In my last session on the renaissance in Venice, the focus shifts to colour and debates about it. Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2014 at Art History Today
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All last week my students were urging me to watch a television programme on women artists. But I seldom subject myself to the moronic inferno of television, and if I did I suspect the subject of this short post wouldn't be mentioned in this programme. Madame Clément Boulanger, née Marie- Élizabeth Blavot, later Madame Edmund Cavé is not a name well known to even art historians, let alone the general public. By all accounts her painting wasn't memorable, and if she is recalled to the mind of art history today, it is for her books on painting: in 1850 she... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2014 at Art History Today
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What is the meaning of paintings like Bellini’s “Sacred Allegory”? I wish I knew! More on works like this here. Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2014 at Art History Today
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Famous for its portraits of Doges, especially Bellini’s- below, here’s a brief survey of the subject. Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2014 at Art History Today
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Although literary texts were referred to as 'classical' at the time, artists and architecture were diligently studying the damaged artworks of antiquity. They did not call their models 'classical' but they spoke with reverence of of the ancients. They knew Roman works and cherished the hope of discovering Greek works which Latin sources themselves acknowledged as superior. Occasionally these early modern artists and architects would consider sculpture of the highest quality to be of 'Greek chisel', and were universally and deeply moved by the discovery of the Greek Laocoön amongst the ruins of Rome (1506). My reading this week has... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2014 at Art History Today