This is Art History Today's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Art History Today's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
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
Image
In case you didn’t know it, 500 years of the disturbing renaissance genius Hieronymus (or Jheronymous) Bosch is being celebrated in his home town in the Netherlands. The exhibition opens on Feb 13th and runs until the 8th May this year. Already, in the run-up the Bosch exhibition has been getting the thumbs-up from the press. In October 2015 the Guardian said: “…even years ago, the director of a small museum in the Netherlands set out on an impossible quest: he wanted to borrow every surviving work in the world by the wildest imagination in the history of art, Hieronymus... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Art History Today
Image
Fra Fillippo Lippi’s Murals in Prato Cathedral. That Fra Fillippo Lippi was chosen to decorate the murals in Prato Cathedral was something of a miracle. Lippi asked for a large amount of money for the commission and Prato had undergone an economic decline, and since 1351 was in complete subservience to Florence. Not only that, but Lippi was notoriously dilatory, complaining, temperamental and of dubious moral character as he had seduced a nun, though he subsequently married her. This was hardly the type of painter the ruling council of Prato would be likely to employ for a prestigious religious commission![1]... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Art History Today
Image
Painting and Sculpture at Pistoia. Painting is scarce in Pistoia, though the town did produce some artists like Manfrediano da Pistoia, hardly a household name! His style is a crude form of Byzantine-influenced art. A few decades earlier we have a St Francis fresco cycle by an unknown master; this series was originally in Prato Cathedral. As for high renaissance painting, there is a fine Madonna and Saints, either painted by Verrocchio, or one of Leonardo’s pupils like Lorenzo di Credi which seems plausible. Apart from Giovanni Pisano’s pulpit, there is sculpture from Andrea and Luca della Robbia. Luca’s glazed... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Art History Today
Image
The Pisani Another type of style is the Romanesque, the design that we saw on the facades of the cathedrals at Lucca, Siena and Pistoia, which as we shall see in later weeks was at variance with stylistic development in Florence in the same period. Artists working in Northern Tuscany preferred to work inside creating decorations, screens, pulpits and other artifacts. The first of these were made by Nicola Pisano, the first of a family of famous sculptors: a pulpit inside the Pisa Baptistery (above) which shows the influence of Roman art as in the figure of Fortitude which Charles... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Art History Today
Image
Painting and Sculpture in Pisa, Piazza dei Miracoli One’s first port of call in Pisa must be the complex of the Piazza dei Miracoli consisting of the Cathedral, Baptistery, the Tower of Pisa, and the Composanto Monumentale, better known as the Campo Santo. The Camp Santo was built around a load of sacred soil brought back from Golgotha to Pisa during the Fourth Crusade. There were originally a series of frescoes here, but war damage ruined many of them which necessitated rescue and restoration. The Monuments Men and Women began this, and slowly the frescoes are being transferred back to... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Art History Today
Image
Other Painters and Sculptors in Lucca If one’s taste is towards the later painting of the renaissance and beyond, fear not! Lucca has fine examples of high renaissance art and the mannerist period. In Lucca Cathedral there are examples of work by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Fra Bartolommeo, Tintoretto, and from later periods Federico Zuccarro. Fra Bartolommeo (Baccio della Porta) probably learned his craft as an apprentice or auxiliary of the Ghirlandaio workshop, so it pays to study the two pictures in Lucca Cathedral. The beautiful Madonna with Saints betrays knowledge not only of Leonardo, but also Raphael’s Madonna della Baldacchino. Fra... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Art History Today
Image
A Note on Byzantine Proportion Knowledge of proportion in Byzantine art comes from the medieval The Painter’s Manuel of Mount Athos which was to influence renaissance artists in later periods. The most important form of measurement is called by Erwin Panofsky “the Byzantine three circle scheme.”[1] This was popular not only in Italy, but in France, Germany and Austria, and not only in painting, but also in manuscript illumination of which many fine examples are to be found in Lucca by unidentified German artists. Briefly, the “three circles” were multiples of a constant unit- the nose length. It thus became... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Art History Today
Image
The School of Lucca. Lucca has been in the hands of a number of civilisations in the past: it was originally under Roman control, then in the enlightenment it became a French possession until Napoleon gave it back. Now it is one of the most northern provinces of Tuscany. For renaissance art historians Lucca is significant because it gave birth to a school of painting which had closer links with older styles like the Byzantine, than central Tuscany. We may glean something of the Lucchese style from looking at pictures by the Berlinghieri, a family of artists from Lucca, and... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Art History Today
Image
Last Phase: Assimilation by the Romans. With the Roman annexation of Etruscan society, the civilisation virtually comes to an end. Rome “with a capital R” in the words of D.H. Lawrence assimilated Etruscan art into its own systems of representation with the result that the art became vitiated and deprived of its pure spirit. In fact Roman ascendancy had been established over the Etruscans in 300, at least two centuries before their extermination, or assimilation depending on how one looks at it. However, despite the destruction of Etruscan cities Like Veii, others like Tarquinia, Chiusi, and Volterra continued to thrive.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
Classical period (500-300 B.C.) Painting. The use of the term classical to describe this era which runs from the fifth century to the fourth century suggests correspondences with a similar Classical period in Greek art. The firth-century produced many interesting types of painting, if not the equal stylistically of the Tarquinia paintings, nonetheless still noteworthy. In Northern Etruria wall painting flourished with impressive examples at Chiusi which had rapidly become a thriving artistic centre. Wall painting is scarce in the north, but there are splendid exceptions like the Tomb of the Monkey with its figured friezes (which bring to mind... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
Early & Late Archaic periods (650- 500 B.C; During this period more interest is shown in Etruria in mythological subjects. As to placement of figure and the interaction between them, we have left the introspective early age and entered into a more conversational one: figures face each other and interact more easily. The second period of Etruscan art is marked by the growth of painting and reliefs; this was in contrast to the Greek where statuary continued to develop. However, Etruscan art does borrow from the Greeks with the first painter’s atelier at Vulci where Pontic vases (in the Greek... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
“Orientalising” period (800-650 B.C.) Types of art during this period can be subdivided into the following: ceramics, animal art, tomb sculpture, figurative and non-figurative art, both relief sculpture and statuettes. Most figurative (and animal) is generic: that is to say it shows types like soldiers, horsemen, and in the case of animals, bulls, lions, sphinxes and so on. As Otto Brendel explains, the generalization of forms is a stylistic trait of this first orientalising period which as the civilization evolves will be exchanged for art with a more individual character.[1] This is to be contrasted with Greek art which became... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
“The Etruscans, as everybody knows, were the people who occupied the middle of Italy in early Roman days and whom the Romans, in their neighbourly fashion, wiped out entirely in order to make room for Rome with a very big R. They couldn’t have wiped them all out, there were too many of them. But they did wipe out the Etruscan existence as a nation and as a people. However, this seems to be the inevitable result of expansion with a big E, which is the sole raison d’etre of people like the Romans.” D.H. Lawrence. Archaeological Timeline of Etruscan... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
Link with week 1 of Art of Tuscany course. Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
Watched a few programmes, collectively “The Genius of Bowie” from the BBC IPlayer on Bowie last night. The first was just obtuse: a 30 minute tribute quickly thrown up with disposable presenters, fans in various conditions of grief and adulation, and no real content overall. The second had more depth: a doc from 2013 looking at five key years in DB's life Telling footage in this programme such as Bowie posing for a Warhol movie portrait at the Factory. He’d written a song about Warhol of course (which AW hated) and would play the pop artist, presumably with a touch... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
A Note on Etruscan Art. “You leave the Rome-Pisa train at Cecina, and slowly wind up the valley of the stream of that name, a green, romantic, forgotten sort of valley, in spite of all the come-and- go of ancient Etruscans and Romans, medieval Voltterans and Pisans, and modern traffic. But the traffic is not heavy. Volterra is a sort of inland island, still curiously isolated, and grim.” D. H. Lawrence.[1] Tuscany is named after the Etruscan race, so no survey of art in region is complete without reference to that ancient civilisation, which is something that the Baedeker editors... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
The Tuscan Landscape “The view thence of Florence is most beautiful--far better than the hackneyed view of Fiesole. It is the view that Alessio Baldovinetti is fond of introducing into his pictures. That man had a decided feeling for landscape. Decidedly. But who looks at it to-day? Ah, the world is too much for us." E. M. Forster, A Room with a View Perhaps we could identify with a figure looking out across the Tuscany landscape in one of Baldovinetti’s paintings, the Nativity. We can follow this figure’s gaze out over the valley patterned by snaking paths and rivers that... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
Travels in Tuscan Art. “The best picture, one learned, was in a dusty little Tuscan town that few people took the trouble to visit named Borgo San Sepolcro. It was difficult to get there. From Urbino it took Huxley seven hours by bus. There must be some exaggeration there. I did the journey by bus a number of times in the 1930s, and then it took only three. Anyway, the point is quite a simple one. The best picture, a fresco of the Resurrection, and its painter, Piero della Francesca, were so little known to Anglo-Saxon visitors as to constitute... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
On and Off the Beaten Track in Tuscany. “The Handbook is, moreover, is intended to place the traveller in a position to visit the places and objects most deserving of notice with the greatest possible economy of time, money, and, it may be added, temper; for in no country is the traveller’s patience more severely put to the test than in some parts of Italy. The Editor will endeavour to accompany the enlightened traveller through the streets of Italian towns, to all the principle edifices and works of art; and to guide his steps amidst the exquisite scenery in which... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
Mapping the Tuscan School of Painting. “It would be short-sighted to underestimate the powers of local habits and preferences, but for a broadly based treatment of Italian Renaissance painting, division into schools can be overly limiting. Artists travelled widely; virtually every major painter of the period moved from his place of birth and training, which is from his “school,” to accept assignments elsewhere. Such interchange took place in many directions constantly, often obliterating the “school” as a center of style.” James Beck.[1] One way of presenting a course on Tuscan art is to create a hybrid of travelogue and stylistic... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2016 at Art History Today
The term “art rock” has been bandied around so much that it has lost meaning; this happens to most art, or art-related labels. But if it means the energy of modern pop and rock music allied with an artistic sensibility and a capacity for endless re-invention, then Bowie fits the bill. He blended all styles of music with theatricality, mime, performance art, even painting. He wrote a song about Warhol and played him in Basquiat, a film about the ill-fated graffiti artist. I think the inner sleeve of one of his albums had Guido Reni’s baroque Massacre of the Innocents,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
I occasionally like to take a break from work, plug in the Iplayer and see what’s on offer. Have you heard the one about the modern detective who time-travels back to the Victorian era, morphs into his original character, wakes up in the future to find it's all a dream, only to plunge into to gaslight London again, confront his arch-enemy, have his sidekick biographer appear in another dream along with aforementioned nemesis, kill himself in his dream, and wake up only to find he is back in the twenty-first London dressed in period clothes? Convoluted,…and crass. My summary may... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2016 at Art History Today
Witty riposte to the Mancunian Michelangelo scene from the Daily Mash. “THE Massacre of the Innocents by Jacopo Tintoretto has gone viral after people noticed its similarity to a night on the tiles in Northern England. Social media is abuzz with the sixteenth-century canvas, which recreates with uncanny accuracy a scene outside a Mancunian nightclub at 3am. Art historian Emma Bradford said: “The people slumped against a wall in the background look like they’ve just emerged from a large vertical drinking establishment playing charty house music, while a number of contorted figures in the bottom right of the picture appear... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
Doing the rounds on Facebook. Drunken, sprawling Mancunian has been likened to Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” on the Sistine ceiling. And the whole looks like one of those elaborately staged photographs of postmodern artists. From a photographer with Daily Mail who should submit it to the Tate. To think, modern video artists like Bill Viola, Jeff Wall update renaissance pictures to look something like this- but all you need is to look at the newspapers for inspiration. Seriously, I recommend John Berger on the links between old master iconography and the newspapers, modern media. Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2016 at Art History Today
Image
One of my resolutions is to keep an eye on the blog statistics every month. Despite the slowdown last year I’m pleased that AHT had over 50,000 visits; a daily average of 139 first visits according to Typepad. Another resolution: post more often! Thanks to everybody who visited last year, and may I wish all readers a prosperous, peaceful and happy new year! Nice to see people coming from different countries. Here’s a visitor map of the last few weeks of 2015. Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2016 at Art History Today