Nationalmuseum Sweden Acquires Per Krafft’s ‘Belisarius’

Posted in museums by Editor on June 21, 2018

Press release (19 June 2018) from Sweden’s Nationalmuseum:

Per Krafft the Younger, Belisarius, 1799, oil on canvas, 125 × 94 cm (Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, NM 7468).

Nationalmuseum has acquired a painting by Per Krafft the Younger (1777–1863) depicting the blind former general Belisarius. This painting ought to be regarded as one of the most prominent Swedish works executed in the French Neoclassical style.

In 1796, at the age of nineteen, Per Krafft the Younger was awarded a travel scholarship by the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, in part because Jonas Åkerström (1759–1795), who had used the scholarship to spend time in Rome, had suddenly died the year before at the early age of 36. Krafft went to Paris where as the only Swede he spent three years studying under Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825). David had a large number of pupils, and his teaching, which in those days was held at the Louvre, laid emphasis on painting and drawing technique, modelling, and nature studies in order to depict only the ideal subject matter: themes from antiquity.

David’s influence is evident in Krafft’s painting, which ought to be regarded as one of the most prominent Swedish works executed in the French Neoclassical style. It shows the strict lines of classical architecture in the background and a sculptural approach to the figure drawing. The palette is also a reminder of David’s work, with fine contrasts between their clothing—white and green and red—worn by Belisarius and the boy, their skin tone, and the shiny surface of the reflective metal on the belt and helmet. The figures almost stand out in relief against the light brown, yellow, and blue-grey tones of the background. The work was executed in 1799 and sent together with three other paintings—Phrygian Lyre Player Meditating, Paris, and Love—to Stockholm for exhibiting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1801.

The motif showing the successful Byzantine general Belisarius who was reduced to beggar status proved popular in the latter part of the 18th century as a result of the novel Bélisaire by Jean-François Marmontel (1723–1799), which was published in 1767. As a punishment for the general who was suspected of having conspired against him, the Byzantine emperor Justinian I is alleged to have put out Belisarius’s eyes, after which Belisarius was forced to beg by the gates of Rome. This choice of motif gave Krafft the opportunity to direct criticism in allegorical form at the tyrannical rulers of his day. Nor is it altogether surprising that Krafft’s teacher, the Republican David, had used the motif in a famous painting from 1781, now on display in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille. A further famous example was executed by another of David’s pupils, François-Pascal-Simon Gérard (1770–1837), now on display in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Krafft emphasises the pathos of his subject in the sober mood that permeates his work in general and in the detail in particular, such as the way the old soldier uses his helmet to collect the alms received. Per Krafft the Younger enjoyed a long life. He was appointed court painter and professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. During his career he was to become primarily a portrait painter.

Nationalmuseum receives no state funding for art acquisitions; rather, the collections benefit from donations and funding from private trusts and foundations. This acquisition has been made possible by a generous donation from the Hedda & N.D. Qvist Memorial Fund.

Nationalmuseum in Stockholm to Reopen October 13

Posted in museums by Editor on June 21, 2018

From the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm:

The New Nationalmuseum at Blasieholmen opens again October 13, 2018. After five years closed, we wish you a warm welcome to a whole new museum experience. The renovation is finished, and we are currently working on the displays and exhibitions.

The renovation project has created a modern museum environment that is better for the art, the exhibitions, and for visitors. The New Nationalmuseum will be an open, visitor-friendly place where art can be experienced on both a large and a small scale—while preserving the integrity of the museum’s architectural heritage. The long-awaited climate control system will enable us to present the museum’s collections in an integrated way, crossing the boundaries between artistic disciplines. We will be able to exhibit paintings and other works that are more climate-sensitive, such as drawings and graphic art, alongside applied art and design. This will enhance the visitor experience by tying together multiple stories. It will also allow us to put more artworks on display.

Thanks to the relocation of behind-the-scenes activities such as administration and storage, the New Nationalmuseum will have more public space for exhibits and visitor amenities. By opening up both courtyards for use as multifunctional spaces, we can also improve the logistics of the main floor. The building will have multiple entrances and exits, as required by the fire code, which determines the maximum number of visitors that can be accommodated at any time—a number that is likely to increase.

Built in 1866, the Nationalmuseum building is over 150 years old. For decades, the building has been constantly repurposed and adapted to the museum’s changing and growing requirements. One layer of modifications has been piled on top of another. However, the building had never been thoroughly renovated and did not meet today’s accepted international standards in terms of safety, climate control, fire safety, working environment, and logistics. The renovations has brought the building up to modern operational and regulatory standards.

Technical innovations have made it possible to reinstate bricked-up windows to let in natural light. Specially developed technology will ensure that no artworks are damaged. A state-of-the-art climate control system will be installed, improving the environment for artworks, visitors, and staff. The public spaces will be expanded considerably, adding about 2300 square metres. Both courtyards, which currently house the auditorium and the restaurant, will be turned into public spaces housing visitor amenities and some exhibits. A new layout and security technology will enable us to keep the museum’s lower level open in the evenings independently of the rest of the building.

New Book | Raffinesse im Akkord: Meissener Porzellanmalerei

Posted in books by Editor on June 20, 2018

Published by Michael Imhof and available from ArtBooks.com:

Claudia Bodinek, Raffinesse im Akkord: Meissener Porzellanmalerei und ihre grafischen Vorlagen (Petersberg: Imhof, 2018), 2 volumes, 768 pages, ISBN: 9783731904724, 135€ / $195.

Ohne grafische Vorlagen wäre die erstaunliche Themenvielfalt der malerischen Dekore auf Meissener Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts nicht denkbar. Die reich bebilderte Publikation führt erstmals anhand einer Fülle von Beispielen aus Barock, Rokoko und beginnendem Klassizismus vor Augen, wie kreativ die Meissener Maler Motive aus Kupferstichen, Radierungen und Zeichnungen in immer neue Dekore auf Porzellan übertrugen. Neben den bis heute erhaltenen Vorlagen im Manufakturarchiv diente auch die einstige königliche Kollektion im Dresdner Kupferstich-Kabinett als Vorbildersammlung. Beiden historischen Beständen sind gleichfalls eingehende Studien gewidmet.

New Book | Eighteenth-Century Wallpaper in Britain

Posted in books by Editor on June 19, 2018

From Routledge:

Clare Taylor, The Design, Production and Reception of Eighteenth-Century Wallpaper in Britain (New York: Routledge, 2018), 234 pages, ISBN: 978-1472456151 (hardback), $150 / ISBN: 978-1351021784 (ebook), $55 (ebook rental from $27).

Wallpaper’s spread across trades, class, and gender is charted in this first full-length study of the material’s use in Britain during the long eighteenth century. It examines the types of wallpaper that were designed and produced and the interior spaces it occupied, from the country house to the homes of prosperous townsfolk and gentry, showing that wallpaper was hung by Earls and merchants as well as by aristocratic women. Drawing on a wide range of little known examples of interior schemes and surviving wallpapers, together with unpublished evidence from archives including letters and bills, it charts wallpaper’s evolution across the century from cheap textile imitation to innovative new decorative material. Wallpaper’s growth is considered not in terms of chronology, but rather alongside the categories used by eighteenth-century tradesmen and consumers, from plains to flocks, from China papers to papier mâché and from stucco papers to materials for creating print rooms. It ends by assessing the ways in which eighteenth-century wallpaper was used to create historicist interiors in the twentieth century. Including a wide range of illustrations, many in colour, the book will be of interest to historians of material culture and design, scholars of art and architectural history as well as practicing designers and those interested in the historic interior.

Clare Taylor is Senior Lecturer in Art History, The Open University.


List of Figures and Plates

1  ‘Paper Hangings for Rooms’: The Arrival of Wallpaper
2  A Contested Trade
3  Imitation and the Cross-Cultural Encounter: ‘India’ and ‘Mock India’ Papers, Pictures, and Prints
4  In Search of Propriety: Flocks and Plains
5  Challenging the High arts: Papier Mâché, Stucco Papers, and ‘Landskip’ Papers
6  ‘Our Modern Paper Hangings’: In Search of the Fashionable and the New

Appendix 1: List of Principal Wallpapered Rooms Discussed, c.1714–c.1795
Appendix 2: List of Eighteenth-Century London Paper Hangings Tradesmen DIscussed

New Book | Art and War in the Pacific World

Posted in books by Editor on June 19, 2018

From the University of California Press:

J.M. Mancini, Art and War in the Pacific World: Making, Breaking, and Taking from Anson’s Voyage to the Philippine-American War (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018), 344 pages, ISBN: 9780520294516, $65 / £50.

The Pacific world has long been recognized as a hub for the global trade in art objects, but the history of art and architecture has seldom reckoned with another profound aspect of the region’s history: its exposure to global conflict during the British and US imperial incursions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Art and War in the Pacific World provides a new view of the Pacific world and of global artistic interaction by exploring how the making, alteration, looting, and destruction of images, objects, buildings, and landscapes intersected with the exercise of force. Focusing on the period from Commodore George Anson’s voyage to the Philippine-American War, J. M. Mancini’s exceptional study deftly weaves together disparate strands of history to create a novel paradigm for cultural analysis.

J. M. Mancini is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, Maynooth University, Ireland. Her publications include Pre-Modernism: Art-World Change and American Culture from the Civil War to the Armory Show and Architecture and Armed Conflict, edited with Keith Bresnahan.

Exhibition | The Remaking of Scotland

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 18, 2018

Press release (12 June 2018) from the National Galleries of Scotland:

The Remaking of Scotland: Nation, Migration, Globalisation 1760–1860
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 16 June 2018 — 27 June 2021

A dynamic new exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (SNPG) explores how Scotland’s place in the world was dramatically transformed after the mid-eighteenth century, as the country emerged as a leader of European cultural life and a major force in Britain’s industrial and imperial expansion. The Remaking of Scotland: Nation, Migration, Globalisation 1760–1860 traces this remarkable transformation through the many extraordinary personalities who contributed to this turning point in Scottish history, bringing together a range of fascinating paintings, sculptures, and drawings from the National Galleries of Scotland’s outstanding collection.

George Willison, Mohamed Ali Khan Walejah, Nawab of the Carnatic, 1777, oil on canvas, 236 × 146 cm (National Galleries of Scotland, Bequeathed by Douglas Willison Clark 1994, PG 2959).

As well as tracing the changes that took place within Scotland in the areas of science, technology, and literature, it will also look beyond Scotland’s borders to highlight the many Scots who ventured further afield—as soldiers, sailors, administrators, artists, missionaries, and adventurers. Their destinations ranged across the world, and the exhibition showcases work featuring Scots with close relationships to India, the Americas and Arctic, as well as the Caribbean.

Among the portraits on display is a captivating new acquisition—a portrait of the lawyer Sir Thomas Strange (1756–1841) by the fashionable London painter John Hoppner. Strange was the son of a Scottish engraver and spent his entire career abroad, first in Nova Scotia, Canada and then in India. While in Nova Scotia he used his position as Chief Justice to protect runaway slaves from their masters. In India, he helped create the fusion between British Common Law and Hindu traditions that would be the foundation of the modern Indian legal system. Hoppner’s characterful portrait gives a vivid sense of Strange’s intelligence and fair-mindedness. Strange’s portrait will be shown with a number of other paintings highlighting the relationships between Scotland and India at this time, including Scottish artist George Willison’s dramatic portrait of his Indian patron, Ali Khan Waledjah, Nawab of Arcot (1717–1795).

Other highlights of the display include Alexander Nasmyth’s portrayal of John Sakeouse (1792–1819), the first arctic Inuit to travel to Scotland. Sakeouse attained instant celebrity from the moment he arrived in Leith in 1816 as a stowaway on a whaling ship and was particularly famous for his remarkable canoeing and harpooning skills, which he demonstrated at the docks. Nasmyth painted the portrait after spotting Sakeouse on the street and went on to give him drawing lessons. Sakeouse became an indispensable member of Admiral John Ross’s arctic expedition of 1817–18, acting as a translator and artist. Fittingly, Sakeouse will be shown alongside a portrait of Ross, one of the great explorers of his time and one of the first Scots of the period to be represented in the collections of the SNPG.

John Singleton Copley, Hugh Montgomerie, 12th Earl of Eglinton, ca. 1780, oil on canvas, 226 × 149 cm (National Galleries of Scotland, PG 1516; photograph by Antonia Reeve).

In addition to documenting the material and cultural benefits that came from this period of unprecedented achievement, the display will also consider some abhorrent contemporary issues. A particularly important theme is Scotland’s extensive involvement in the plantation economy of the Caribbean and its dependence on slave labour. Many Scots went to the Caribbean in the hope of making their fortunes, becoming plantation and slave owners on a large scale. Meanwhile, Scottish merchants in the great ports of Glasgow and Leith maintained a vast West Indies trade, importing slave-produced sugar, rum, and tobacco. Some became hugely wealthy, but they were only the most prosperous of the thousands of Scots who enjoyed secure incomes from plantation investments. Others, however, were inspired by religious and moral convictions to oppose the appalling human cost of the slave trade. In the face of fierce resistance, abolitionists, including the prominent Scottish liberal lawyer and politician, Lord Brougham (1778–1868)—also featured in the display—finally brought slavery to an end in 1838.

Warfare, too, was a constant feature of life in this period, as Britain’s imperial interests involved the many Scottish soldiers and sailors in the British armed forces in bloody land and sea battles. Two spectacular full-length portraits of soldiers in full Highland Dress, John Singleton Copley’s Hugh Montgomerie, 12th Earl of Eglinton (who served in the French and Indian War of 1754–63) and Sir Joshua Reynolds’s John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (made Governor of New York in 1770 and then of Virginia in 1771), show how the cost of war to life and health was made acceptable by the glory of victory.

Taken together, these diverse works give a vivid portrait of the richly complex, and sometimes controversial, legacies of this remarkable period, both at home in Scotland and across the wider world.

Call for Papers | Exotic Switzerland?

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 18, 2018

From the session Call for Papers:

Exotic Switzerland? Circulating Art, History of Collecting, and Global Material Culture, 1600–1800
Fourth Swiss Congress of Art History, Mendrisio, 6–8 June 2019

Proposals due by 30 June 2018

Switzerland is often perceived as a secluded country with neither maritime borders nor official colonies in its past; yet its inhabitants have a long history of connecting with the outside world, be it for scientific research, political, artistic, or economic reasons. The ways and means European artists discovered, transformed, and integrated foreign objects and imagery into their works has been researched abundantly for the 19th century—for instance in the context of Orientalism and Japonisme—but still needs to be explored for the early modern period in general and for Switzerland in particular.

In this panel, we would like to explore how the travelling of objects and persons shaped the art world and material culture of Switzerland throughout the Baroque and the Enlightenment. Of interest is the connection between the decorative and the fine arts and their respective market situations. How did, for instance, the makers of fine and decorative arts, like porcelain, lacquer or textiles, as well as scientific and technical objects, alter its iconography, style, and materiality stimulated through global exchange? We would like to analyze to what extent the circulation of goods, artefacts, or art works as well as crafts and technologies transformed Swiss material culture in the era of an early globalization.

Furthermore, the political dimension of exchanges across continents shall be examined. Since the 1990s a growing number of scholars have focused on the representation of other parts of the world in Europe and related theoretical questions, leading to concepts of ‘hybridization’, ‘encounter’, ‘translation’ as well as ‘contact zone’ for instances. The word ‘exotic’ has also been used extensively in this context, particularly in the field of decorative arts—often without taking into account its etymology, political connotations, and problematic undertones. Therefore, this panel is also an opportunity to discuss the politics of classification and terminology related to cross-cultural exchanges.

Section Organizers
Prof. Dr. Noémie Etienne, Universität Bern, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, noemie.etienne@ikg.unibe.ch
Dr. Chonja Lee, Universität Bern, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, chonja.lee@ikg.unibe.ch

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Fourth Swiss Congress of Art History will be held in Mendrisio from 6 to 8 June 2019. Organized jointly by the Swiss Association of Art Historians SAAH and the Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture ISA (Accademia di architettura, Università della Svizzera italiana), it is aimed at art historians from all fields and institutions. Scholars are invited to submit proposals for 20-minute papers within one of the nine panels. Acceptance decisions will be made by the directors of individual panels. We welcome contributions in Italian, German, French, and English in the hope to assemble multilingual panels that would reflect the institutional diversity of the field and foster the young generation of academics.

Please send an abstract (1 page, max. 3000 characters) and a short curriculum vitae including institutional affiliation and contact details to the relevant panel directors by 30 June 2018. Please also CC the office of the SAAH at vkksgeschaeftsstelle@gmail.com.

The complete Call for Papers is available as a PDF file here»

Symposium | China in Austria

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on June 18, 2018

From H-ArtHist:

China in Austria: Reception and Adaptation of East Asian Art in Central Europe
Department of Art History, University of Vienna, 29 June 2018

The workshop China in Austria aims to discuss the reception of and engagement with East Asian art in Central Europe. The workshop is part of a long-term project conducted by staff and students of Asian Art History at the Department of Art History at the University of Vienna. The project aims to evaluate the role of East Asian art in the material culture and society of Austria and its environs. This event is organised through the support of the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies of the University of Vienna. Free admission with registration (required). Please contact alexandra.wedekind@univie.ac.at.


9:00  Registration

9:15  Morning Session
• Lukas Nickel (Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Universität Wien), China in Austria
• Stacey Pierson (School of Oriental and African Studies, London), Chinoiserie or Imitation? Du Paquier, Porcelain, and Responses to China through Design in Early 18th-Century Vienna
• Johannes Wieninger (Museum für Angewandte Kunst Wien), Use, Decoration, and Inspiration: East-Asian Porcelain and the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory
• Elfriede Iby (Schloss Schönbrunn, Wien), The East Asian Cabinets of Schönbrunn Palace and the Problem of Missing Records and Sources

12:45  Lunch break

14:30  Afternoon Session
• Lucie Olivová (Masarykova Univerzita, Brno), Chinese Cabinets with Czech-Made Murals
• Greg M. Thomas (Hong Kong University), The Queen’s Décor: Chinoiserie Lacquer from Vienna to Fontainebleau
• Bernhard Fuehrer (School of Oriental and African Studies, London), Glimpses into Chinese Literature and Language Studies in Austria: August Pfizmaier (1808–1887) and Leopold Woitsch (1868–1939) in Light of the Holdings of the National Library
• Alexandra Wedekind (Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Universität Wien), The Gotha-Vienna-Connection of 1869: Albums Presented by the Tenno to European Rulers

18:00  Discussion led by Lothar Ledderose (Universität Heidelberg)

After Restoration Tiepolo’s Bacchus and Ariadne Back on View in DC

Posted in museums by Editor on June 17, 2018

Press release (25 May 2018) from the National Gallery in Washington:

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Bacchus and Ariadne, ca. 1743/1745, oil on canvas (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, Timken Collection).

Following a four-year-long conservation treatment, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Bacchus and Ariadne (ca. 1743/1745) returns to public view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, on 14 June 2018. The comprehensive restoration has revealed elements by the Venetian master hidden from view since the work was removed from its original location at the end of the 18th century. The dramatic results provide viewers with a new sense of the immense painting’s appearance at the time of its creation.

“The conservation of this remarkable work reveals significant discoveries about Tiepolo’s process and clues to the painting’s original home,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. “This project also represents one of the many instances of rich collaboration between the Gallery’s team of conservators, scientists, and curators, all leaders in their field.”

Bacchus and Ariadne is believed to have been created to decorate the staircase of an unknown Venetian palace, only identified in a (now-lost) letter from 1764 by Tiepolo as the palace of “V.E.” The painting was probably one of four works—only three of which are known to survive—that each depicted a natural element. Bacchus and Ariadne represents earth, The Triumph of Amphitrite (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden) represents water, and Juno and Luna (Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) represents air. The location of the fourth painting—which likely depicted Vulcan, the god of fire, and his wife, Venus—is unknown. A smaller example by Tiepolo of the same subject at the Philadelphia Museum of Art does, however, give a sense of what the painting may have looked like. All three of the extant paintings are connected by similar architectural motifs that would have tied them to their original locations, such as stone volutes at the top corners and long-necked, griffin-like forms in the bottom left and right corners. These architectural elements were likely painted over when the works were removed from their original setting, which according to curatorial records was done by 1798.

Treatment Details

The project’s painting conservator, Sarah Gowen Murray, worked closely with colleagues in painting conservation, scientific research, and preventive conservation to treat the painting and conduct analysis of the work. Overpaint removal uncovered tall vertical leaves on the left and right sides of the composition. Infrared imaging—conducted by John Delaney, senior imaging scientist—and analysis of cross-section samples of those areas—examined and interpreted by Barbara Berrie, head of the scientific research department—indicated that the leaves were originally bound together by gold ribbons. A precedent for the ribbons was established in another work by Tiepolo, Castigo dei Serpenti (The Scourge of the Snakes) (1732–1735) at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. These findings, archived documentation images, and other works by the artist were then consulted to reconstruct the missing elements with inpainting.

Other discoveries made during the treatment include indications of significant compositional changes made by Tiepolo, suggesting that Bacchus and Ariadne may have been the first painting of the series. X-radiographs exposed curved forms at the lower-right corner extending beneath the griffin and the jaguar—perhaps initial attempts by the artist to incorporate the composition into the work’s surrounding architecture.

Bacchus and Ariadne

Tiepolo’s painting magnificently depicts the moment before Bacchus, the god of wine, crowns Ariadne after falling in love with her. According to the myth, Bacchus discovered Ariadne on the shore of the island of Naxos where she was left behind by her lover, Theseus. Following this scene, Ariadne ascended to Mount Olympus, gaining immortality. Tiepolo’s rendering of the myth shows Bacchus sitting unsteadily atop a barrel with the glittering crown in hand. Bacchus is surrounded by revelers holding jugs of wine and grapevines, representing the fecundity of earth, while one of the jaguars that led his chariot rests beneath him. The wheat Ariadne wears in her hair and reeds held in her hand further symbolize the earth.

Following its removal from its original setting, Bacchus and Ariadne remained in private collections in Italy and Vienna before being sold in the late 1920s to William Robert Timken and Lillian Guyer Timken. The painting came to the Gallery in 1960 as part of the Timken Collection. Oliver Tostmann, now curator of European paintings at Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, contributed significantly to the understanding of Baccchus and Ariadne and its counterparts when he was a Joseph McCrindle Fellow and then Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the National Gallery from 2007 to 2011.

New Exhibitions at Monticello Include Life of Sally Hemings

Posted in museums, on site by Editor on June 17, 2018

Sarah Stockman reports on the Sally Hemings exhibition for The New York Times (16 June 2018), and the Monticello website now provides extensive information on Hemings. From the press release (7 June 2018) from Monticello:

On June 16, in conjunction with national Juneteenth events, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello will welcome a gathering of descendants of enslaved families, commemorate 25 years of its Getting Word Oral History Project, and unveil new exhibits and restored spaces, including a groundbreaking exhibit on Sally Hemings.

The opening marks the conclusion of a five-year restoration initiative, known as The Mountaintop Project. Initiated by a transformational gift from David M. Rubenstein in 2013, the project has made possible a total of nearly 30 new restored or recreated spaces and exhibits. Iconic rooms, on every level of the house, received updated interpretation or were restored for the first time. On Mulberry Row, buildings were physically and virtually restored or reconstructed. Together, these spaces illuminate the stories of individuals and families, and reveal how the lives of the free and enslaved were interwoven.

“In Jefferson’s words, we ‘follow truth wherever it may lead,’” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “This transformation of Monticello—made possible by decades of research, hundreds of descendants, and thousands of donors—brings forward a more honest, relevant, and inclusive view of our history.”

On June 16, six new exhibits and restored spaces will open for the first time, including:
The Life of Sally Hemings — an immersive digital exhibit, anchored in the South Wing where she once lived, that relies on the words of her son, Madison, to explore her life and legacy;
The Getting Word Oral History Project — an exhibit on the enslaved families of Monticello and their descendants;
Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson — an exhibit which provides fresh insights into the life of Jefferson’s wife, located in the first building erected at Monticello;
The Granger-Hemings Kitchen — an exhibit on Monticello’s first kitchen and new archaeological discoveries that reveal the stories of enslaved cooks, Ursula Granger, James Hemings, and Peter Hemings;
The Dairy — a restored, period room where enslaved workers made cream, butter and soft cheese for the household; and
The Textile Workshop — a restored ca. 1775 structure featuring an exhibit about Mulberry Row and a room depicting the factory where enslaved women and children turned cotton, hemp, and wool into cloth for enslaved people and enterprise.

For years, visitors have learned about Sally Hemings on tours of Monticello. Now, for the first time, her story will have a dedicated physical space on the mountaintop.

“It represents a different chapter in public history at Monticello,” said Annette Gordon-Reed, author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family and professor of history at Harvard University. “It will have a ripple effect on the way people think about slavery on the mountain overall and that’s actually very exciting.”

To commemorate the occasion and celebrate 25 years of the Getting Word Oral History Project, Monticello is hosting a free public event and a gathering for descendants of enslaved families. The gathering is expected to be the largest reunion of descendants of enslaved families in modern history.

The Look Closer opening event will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Annette Gordon-Reed and Jon Meacham, violinist Karen Briggs, patriotic philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, national policy analyst Melody Barnes, and more. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see a rare version of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln and generously loaned by David M. Rubenstein. It will be on view in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Gallery at the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center from June 11 through July 11, 2018.