Call for Papers | Inside the Temporary Exhibition

Posted in Calls for Papers, graduate students by Editor on February 27, 2020

From the Call for Papers for this graduate student symposium, the full version of which includes Italian and French versions, via ArtHist.net:

Inside the Exhibition: Temporalità, Dispositivo e Narrazione
Swiss Institute and Istituto Nazionale di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte (Palazzo Venezia), Rome, 16–17 June 2020

Proposals due by 19 April 2020

Now more than ever, temporary art exhibitions saturate museum spaces worldwide, shaping the discourse between public institutions and academia, and implicating an ever-growing and ever-changing international audience. The eighth doctoral study day organised by RAHN intends to reflect on the research opportunities afforded by the temporary display of artworks, from the early modern period to present day (15th–21st century).

In this wide time frame, temporary exhibitions have acquired multifarious meanings, shaping art-historical discourse. For example, the first public displays of paintings organised in the pronaos of the Pantheon, or in the cloisters of Roman churches for the festivals of patron saints, were tied to the religious context in which they took place. However, these displays were also key in the development of another ‘cult’, that of the artist, favouring the commercial interests of private collectors or of ante litteram curators, such as Giuseppe Ghezzi (1634–1721). With the formation of modern states, public exhibitions’ narratives were informed by different ideological programmes, which were inspired by, and in turn influenced contemporary art-historical debate. In this light, the temporary display of artworks offers an insight into the exhibition’s producing culture itself, and a unique opportunity for research.

The study day intends to focus on the ephemerality of art exhibitions, following a diachronic and interdisciplinary methodological approach inspired by Francis Haskell’s pioneering work on the subject (2000). When an artwork is put on display, its physical shift corresponds to a process of intellectual de- and re-contextualisation, through which the object acquires new meaning(s), imparted by the other objects with which it is put in dialogue, the space in which it is placed, and its audiences. With this in mind, we invite applicants to consider the following questions:

What affects such processes of de- and re-contextualisation? What happens when an art work is placed on temporary display? How does this influence the intellectual discourse surrounding the object and / or the exhibition? What interests are at stake in the organisation of artistic displays? What are their audiences, intended message and reception?

We welcome papers engaging with such questions, including, but not limited to the following contexts:
• the origins of art exhibitions and their cultural context (public, private, religious, secular, etc.)
• the artwork, its display, and fruition in the museum space
• the relationship between artistic historiography and exhibitions
• the art market: galleries, art fairs, and their exhibition spaces
• reception and critical discourses, the exhibition’s audiences and ‘verbal contexts’ (Pomian, 1986)

The application is open to doctoral students in the history of art and architecture enrolled in Italian and international institutions. We welcome 20-minute long papers focusing on methodological questions through a specific case study or proposing a theoretical approach to the subject. The proposals can be submitted in Italian, English, or French. To apply, please send a 250-word abstract and a 1-page academic CV by 19 April 2020 to the organisers: giornatadottorale.rahn@gmail.com.

Essential Bibliography
• Francis Haskell, The Ephemeral Museum: Old Master Paintings and the Rise of the Art Exhibition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).
• Krzysztof Pomian, “Pour une histoire des semiophores. À propos des vases des Médicis,” Le Genre humain 14 (1986): 17–36.

Exhibition | Highlights from the Dietrich American Foundation

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 26, 2020

Punch Bowl with View of Hongs of Canton, ca. 1790, made in China
(Dietrich American Foundation)

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Now on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

A Collector’s Vision: Highlights from the Dietrich American Foundation
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1 February — 7 June 2020

A rare selection of American art from the 1700s and 1800s, including portraits of George Washington, a teapot made by Paul Revere, and silver from colonial Philadelphia. Explore H. Richard Dietrich Jr.’s vision as a collector and his foundation’s mission to share important examples of American art with the public.

H. Richard Dietrich Jr. (1938–2007) began to collect American art and artifacts for himself as a young man and later to furnish his home in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He saw his extensive collection as a tool for understanding American history, often acquiring objects by known makers or with a strong family history. In 1963 he established the Dietrich American Foundation, to which he contributed much of his wealth, energy, and time. The foundation has lent works from its collection to more than a hundred institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition to pursuing a career in business, Dietrich devoted his time to the museum—as a patron and a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the American Art Advisory Committee—as well as to other public institutions in the region. The foundation’s long-term loans to the museum, including objects in this exhibition, began in 1966 and continue to this day.

The catalogue is distributed by Yale University Press:

H. Richard Dietrich III and Deborah Rebuck, eds., with contributions by H. Richard Dietrich III, David Barquist, Edward Cooke, Michael Dyer, Kathleen Foster, Morrison Heckscher, Philip Mead, Lisa Minardi, Deborah Rebuck, and William Reese, In Pursuit of History: A Lifetime Collecting Colonial American Art and Artifacts (Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Dietrich American Foundation, 2020), 304 pages, ISBN: 978-0876332931, $50.

This book showcases highlights from the Dietrich American Foundation, established in 1963 by H. Richard Dietrich Jr. and focused on 18th-century American fine and decorative arts. Essays explore the formation of the collection and its many areas of strength, enhancing current understandings of colonial history and material culture. The volume’s coeditor, H. Richard Dietrich III, unfolds an American story of a family’s entrepreneurship and speaks to his father’s varied yet interconnected collecting interests, as well as the common threads that unified them. An array of specialists explore the scope and uncommon richness of the foundation’s holdings, of which books and manuscripts account for half. Chinese export wares, furniture, silver, fraktur, and other decorative arts, and paintings of historical importance speak in varied ways to the nature of colonial identity, while objects related to the whaling trade signal the new nation’s maritime focus.


Lecture | Kate Smith, On Loss and Dispossession

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 25, 2020

From Eventbrite:

Kate Smith, Loss and Dispossession in the Long Eighteenth Century
University of Edinburgh, 17 March 2020

Dr Kate Smith (University of Birmingham) delivers the inaugural lecture for the Material Culture in the 17th and 18th Centuries Research Group. Histories of material culture have often focused on questions of presence: how objects in the past were made, purchased, used and repaired. In contrast, Kate Smith’s paper will explore what happened when objects were absent. More particularly, it will examine how eighteenth-century Britons developed systems to deal with loss and what such systems required of them. It will show that, when faced with loss, individuals were called upon to recall their possessions and describe them in full. To make their possessions recognisable to others, and thus increase the possibilities of reclamation, eighteenth-century Britons had to draw out the salient features of missing things. In doing so, they reveal much about what they imagined their possessions to be. The paper considers questions of description, attention, memory and the self to show the complex knowledge, practices and systems constructed and utilised in response to loss. Register here.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020, 17.30–19.00
Playfair Library Hall
South Bridge, Edinburgh

Call for Papers | Piranesi @300

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on February 24, 2020

From the Call for Papers, which also includes Italian and French versions:

Piranesi @300
Rome, 27–30 January 2021

Proposals due by 30 April 2020

Organized by Mario Bevilacqua and Clare Hornsby

Concluding the year celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), this conference aims to reveal new aspects of his life and works, their contexts, and critical fortune, and we are seeking proposals for a comparison of interdisciplinary themes and innovative methodologies.

Some ideas of themes that could be addressed:

Piranesi as Artist, Theorist, Entrepreneur, and Merchant
Many aspects of Piranesi’s life and work still remain in the shadows: we hope to discover new documentary data, new drawings, new interpretations, new networks.

Piranesi and History
The Mediterranean civilizations, the fall of the Empire, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Egypt, Etruria, Greece, Rome. From the fall of the Empire to the Renaissance. Piranesi and the texts of his books, the birth of archaeology, the philosophy of history in 18th-century Europe.

Piranesi: Europe, America, the World
Piranesi as ‘global’ artist. His lasting reputation – from Rome across 18th-century Europe – takes on different aspects in different European contexts: England, France, Germany, Russia – and in the more distant United States and Latin America, Australia and Japan, maintaining close yet changing relationships with art, literature, photography and cinema.

Piranesi as Architect: Monument, City, Utopia
Though constantly designing, he was the architect of only one building, S. Maria del Priorato on the Aventine hill yet Piranesi always signed himself ‘architect’. His vision of Roman architecture and of the ancient metropolis states certainties and raises concerns about the dystopian future of the global city.

Piranesi in the Global 21st Century: New Methods for New Paths of Research
We can ask questions about Piranesi in the context of contemporary scenarios. His work continues to provoke reflection, inspire new projects and interpretations.

The languages of the conference are English, Italian and French, and the event will be open to the public. We invite doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, established scholars to submit proposals for papers that contain new research or use new approaches. These will fall into two groups:
1) 15-minute presentations on one event, object, or discrete theme
2) 30-minute presentations on wider issues

Please send a 250-word CV and an abstract in English, French, or Italian of either 500 words (for a 15-minute talk) or 1000 words (for 30-minute talk); the abstract should make clear the new content of the contribution. Submissions should be sent to Piranesi300@gmail.com by April 30th 2020. We plan to offer accommodation in Rome to speakers at the conference though we are not able to assist with travel costs. We propose to publish a volume of the papers of the conference.

Supporting Institutions
Centro Studi Cultura e Immagine di Roma / Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale
Istituto Centrale per la Grafica
The British School at Rome
Académie de France à Rome – Villa Médicis

Conference Organisers
Mario Bevilacqua and Clare Hornsby

Scientific Committee
Francesca Alberti (Académie de France à Rome), Fabio Barry (Stanford University), Mario Bevilacqua (Università degli Studi di Firenze, CSCIR), Clare Hornsby (British School at Rome), Giorgio Marini (Ministero Beni Culturali), Heather Hyde Minor (Notre Dame Rome), Susanna Pasquali (La Sapienza Roma), Frank Salmon (Cambridge University), Giovanna Scaloni (Istituto Centrale per la Grafica).


Exhibition | Piranesi 300

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 24, 2020

From the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin:

Piranesi 300
Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, 5 October 2020 — 7 February 2021

The Kunstbibliothek is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Italian architectural visionary Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) with a special exhibition at the Kulturforum. The exhibition revolves around the Kunstbibliothek’s unique collection of drawings by Piranesi and the ornate books he published, as well as the rich collection of prints held by the Kupferstichkabinett. In collaboration with early career researchers from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Kunstbibliothek has conceived of the exhibition as a stage on which Piranesi appears in all his roles—as archaeologist, designer, scholar, set designer, and visionary.

Exhibition | Sublime Ideas: Drawings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 24, 2020

From The Morgan:

Sublime Ideas: Drawings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 29 May — 13 September 2020

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Architectural Fantasy, 18th century (New York: The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Mr. Janos Scholz, 1974.27).

In a letter written near the end of his life, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) explained to his sister that he had lived away from his native Venice because he could find no patrons there willing to support “the sublimity of my ideas.” He resided instead in Rome, where he became internationally famous working as a printmaker, designer, architect, archaeologist, theorist, dealer, and polemicist. While Piranesi’s lasting fame is based above all on his etchings, he was also an intense, accomplished, and versatile draftsman, and much of his work was first developed in vigorous drawings. The Morgan holds what is arguably the largest and most important collection of these works, including early architectural caprices, studies for prints, measured design drawings, sketches for a range of decorative objects, a variety of figural drawings, and views of Rome and Pompeii. These works form the core of the exhibition. Supplemented with seldom-exhibited loans from a number of private collections, Sublime Ideas will offer a broad survey of Piranesi’s work as a draftsman, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the artist’s birth.

Exhibition | Turner: Quest for the Sublime

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 23, 2020

J.M.W. Turner, Small Boats beside a Man-o’-War, 1796–97, gouache and watercolor on paper, 14 × 24 inches
(Tate: Turner Bequest 1856)

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Press release for the exhibition now on view at the Frist Art Museum:

J.M.W. Turner: Quest for the Sublime
Frist Art Museum, Nashville, 20 February — 31 May 2020

The Frist Art Museum presents J.M.W. Turner: Quest for the Sublime, an exhibition of extraordinary oil paintings, luminous watercolors, and evocative sketches by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), a central figure in the Romantic movement widely recognized as Britain’s greatest painter and among the most highly regarded landscape painters in Western art. Selected from Tate’s Turner Bequest and organized in cooperation with Tate, the exhibition made its sole U.S. appearance in the Frist’s Ingram Gallery from February 20 through May 31, 2020.

Long admired for his ingenuity, originality, and passion, Turner strove to convey human moods and the feeling of awe aroused by nature’s immensity and power—its palpable atmospheres, pulsating energy, the drama of storms and disasters, and the transcendent effect of pure light. With approximately 75 works, the exhibition conveys highlights in the British painter’s career from the 1790s to the late 1840s, from dizzying mountain scenes and stormy seascapes to epic history paintings and mysterious views of Venice.

The Romantic movement of the late 18th- through mid-19th centuries arose in response to the Enlightenment emphasis on reason over emotion. “For Turner, psychological expression and the liberation of the imagination were of paramount importance,” says David Blayney Brown, senior curator, 19th-century British art, Tate Britain. “He achieved these goals in images of the landscape that evoked human moods by portraying extreme contrasts of intense light and gloomy clouds, dramatic topographies, and energetic brushstrokes.”

Turner portrays climatic events not only as compelling forces by themselves, but also as settings and metaphor for historical and modern dramas. “Mountains and sea show the world in motion: the glacial creep of geological change in the Alps, the sudden fall of a rock propelled by an avalanche, the changing appearance of Mont Rigi according to time and weather, the swell and heave of the sea,” says Brown. Societal and technological changes are captured as well, with images of steamships and other suggestions of industry signaling the forthcoming machine age. The exhibition also includes elemental images of sea and sky, painted late in Turner’s life, which appear nearly abstract.

The concept of the Sublime was central to Romanticism. “As industrialization progressed, people gradually began to develop a longing for the awe-inspiring power and beauty of untouched nature and natural forces. Turner was able to cater to this interest in his landscape paintings,” says Brown.

Organized thematically, the exhibition begins by examining Turner’s early aptitude at landscape painting while attending the Royal Academy Schools. Works in the section show his masterly adaptation of early influences and the first instances of what would become a lifelong habit of summer touring across Europe to make sketches and studies, which he would later make into studio paintings.

The next sections include Turner’s first impressions of the mountains, glaciers, and lakes of the Swiss Alps. “Turner’s early scenes of Switzerland and Italy are often somber or stormy in mood and coloring, reflecting a region that was as unstable politically as it was in its geology and climate,” says Brown. “In later works, he communicates a sense of rapture and harmony that may be related to the return of peace to Europe after the Napoleonic Wars.”

Other sections provide insight into Turner’s process and working methods by exploring sketchbook studies, works in progress, and watercolors at various stages of completion. The exhibition concludes with a section devoted to Turner’s fascination with the sea. “As time passes, there is a progression from a more substantial, three-dimensional style to one that is more impressionistic and less solid,” says Brown. “In these often-unfinished paintings, Turner stripped away subject and narrative to capture the pure energy of air, light, and water.”

Lecture | Steven Parissien, On George IV and the Horse

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 23, 2020

George Stubbs, George IV, when Prince of Wales, detail, 1791, oil on canvas, 103 × 128 cm
(Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 400142)

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In connection with the exhibition George IV: Art & Spectacle now on view at Buckingham Palace:

Steven Parissien, George IV and the Horse
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 26 February 2020

One of George IV’s greatest passions was horseracing. In this lunchtime lecture, Steven Parissien, Chief Executive of Palace House, Newmarket, examines the ways in which George utilised the image of the thoroughbred horse to define and bolster his royal image. 13:00–14:00

Summer Course | From Print to Paint

Posted in opportunities by Editor on February 23, 2020

From ArtHist.net:

From Print to Paint: Histories and Methods of Artistic Production
Utrecht, 13–17 July 2020

Applications due by 1 April 2020

How do artists master their art? Does painting in oil result in different working procedures and visual effects compared to other media? Which material and technical properties determine the creative possibilities of prints, sculptures, and the applied arts? What can art historians learn from re-making art, re-working historical recipes, or reproducing material objects? This course will immerse you in discussions related to art production and (re-)making, materials and materiality, and techniques and technology.

This course is highly interactive and has a firm hands-on component. It integrates methods typical for the humanities and historical disciplines with practical work in the studio or lab. At one moment you may find yourself decoding a recipe for writing ink in a historical manuscript; at another moment you might be introduced to the practicalities of the printing press. During one lab session you might be mixing pigment with different binding media to make oil and tempera paint, and on the next day you might be working with fire to cast a small metal object. You will benefit from Utrecht University’s Kunstlab and the research and expertise of the ERC-funded research project ARTECHNE. Upon completion, you will have deepened your knowledge in the artistic production of art with insights from recent developments in technical art history and heritage studies. This is the one-week version of the course. You can also choose to participate in the extended version (two weeks) that includes visits to museums throughout the Netherlands.

Jessie Wei-Hsuan Chen (main lecturer), Sven Dupré (guest speaker), Mireille Cornelis (guest speaker)

Target audience
Students who wish to take this course should have some academic training, as there will be substantial readings and intensive discussions. This course is also suitable for MA and PhD students who wish to apply historical remaking as a methodology and learn practical skills, as no previous experience in artistic production and making is required.

Course fee for the one-week version
€650 (included: course + course materials)
Housing fee: €200

Course fee for the extended version
€1150 (included: course + course materials + travel costs and entry fees to site visits)
Housing fee: €350

Housing through Utrecht Summer School. Summer school housing is optional. Students can also choose to arrange their own accommodation.

How to apply?
Please include a brief motivation to introduce who you are and why you want to take this course. This is to help the instructors learn the level of experience to better plan the lab sessions. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. As there is limited space in the lab, interested participants are advised to apply as soon as possible.

More information
Please contact the Course Director and ARTECHNE Project Associate Jessie Wei-Hsuan Chen at w.h.chen@uu.nl.

Film | Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Posted in films by Editor on February 22, 2020

From the official website for the film, which opened in France last fall:

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, directed by Céline Sciamma and starring Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel, 120 minutes, 2019.

France, 1760. Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), a young woman who has just left the convent. Because Héloïse is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom. The portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love.

Winner of a coveted Cannes prize and one of the best reviewed films of the year, Portrait of a Lady on Fire solidifies Céline Sciamma as one of the most exciting filmmakers working in the world today. Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel turn the subtle act of looking into a dangerous, engrossing thrill, crafting the most breathtaking and elegant performances of the year. To watch Marianne and Héloïse fall in love is to see love itself invented onscreen.