‘Masterpieces’ from Ponce, Puerto Rico in Memphis

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 1, 2010

From the Brooks Museum of Art website:

Masterpieces from Museo de Arte de Ponce
Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, 3 October 2009 – 10 January 2010

Organized by Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico

Joseph-Marie Vien,"Greek Lady at the Bath," 1767

Comprising 60 world-class European paintings from the 14th through 19th centuries, Masterpieces from Museo de Arte de Ponce offers a remarkable opportunity to view iconic works by major Italian, British, French, Dutch, Spanish, and German artists. The exhibition includes paintings by famed Pre-Raphaelite visionaries Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as pictures by the renowned Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens, the darkly romantic Francisco Goya, and the great belle-époque painter, James Tissot. .  .  .

The works included in Masterpieces from Museo de Arte de Ponce largely reflect the vision and generosity of Luis A. Ferré (1904–2003). An industrialist, philanthropist, classically trained pianist, and former governor of Puerto Rico, Ferré founded the museum after his first trip to Europe in 1950. Working with a limited budget and relying upon the expertise of famous art historians, he sought out paintings of high quality and exceptional beauty, rather than pictures defined by the prevailing tastes and fashions of the time. For instance, instead of buying popular (and expensive) Impressionist and Modern works, Ferré collected Victorian paintings, which were considered old-fashioned at the time. As a result, the museum he founded possesses an extraordinary collection of Pre-Raphaelite canvases, works that are today unanimously hailed as artistic treasures.

Pompeo Batoni, "Antiochus and Stratonice," 1746

At the same time, Ferré astutely purchased works by major Old Masters that had been largely forgotten by the 1950s. These acquisitions enriched the Ponce collection with a wealth of monumental Baroque canvases from France, Spain, and Italy. In selecting paintings for Ponce, Ferré sought out works that would communicate a sense of wonderment to scholars, artists, and especially the public. Indeed, to him the museum he founded was more important than all his other accomplishments and philanthropic efforts.

The exhibition marks the first comprehensive presentation of the collection in the United States.

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Eighteenth-century paintings in the exhibition include:

  • Pompeo Batoni, Antiochus and Stratonice, 1746
  • Johan Georg Platzer, Continence of Scipio and Alexander the Great and Queen Thalestris of the Amazons, mid-eighteenth century
  • Jean-François de Troy, Susanna the Elders, 1748 and Lot and His Daughters, 1748
  • Joseph-Marie Vien, Greek Lady at the Bath, 1767 (commissioned by Étienne-François, duc de Choiseul)
  • Angelica Kauffman, Judgment of Paris, 1781
  • Benjamin West, Resurrection, 1782
  • Goya, Portrait of Martin Zapater, 1790

Speaking of Shipwrecks: Nautical Archaeology — in Court and at Sea

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on January 1, 2010

From artdaily.org, 24 December 2009:

Gold coins and a gold box lie in situ. Hundreds of gold coins and more than 500,000 silver coins were discovered on the site. Photo from the Odyssey website.

A Florida treasure-hunting firm must hand over to Spain the $500 million in gold and silver coins the company salvaged more than two years ago from the bottom of the Atlantic, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday ruled. The judge rejected the arguments offered by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. to support its claim to the treasure. While giving Odyssey 10 days to turn over the hoard, Merryday left the door open to extending that deadline to accommodate a possible appeal by the Tampa-based company. Merryday found that the treasure recovered by Odyssey came from the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, a Spanish navy frigate destroyed in battle in 1804, and that the vessel and its contents rightfully belong to Spain. He thus endorsed a June 3 report by federal Magistrate Mark Pizzo, who concluded the wreck was subject to the principle of sovereign immunity and that the valuables should be handed over to Madrid. The Mercedes sank in action against a British fleet on Oct. 5, 1804, off the coast of southern Portugal, and Spain claims not only the vessel and cargo, but a right to preserve the gravesite of more than 250 Spanish sailors and citizens who went down with the frigate. . .

For the full article, click here»

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From artdaily.org, 30 December 2009:

A research team has discovered off Nagua, a city in the northeastern Dominican Republic, a Spanish galleon that apparently sank in the area between 1690-1700, the press reported Monday. The galleon, whose name is unknown, was found in October, allowing pieces of “incalculable historical value” to be recovered, the daily Listin Diario said. Among the objects discovered was a bell made in 1693, while on the deck is the Latin phrase “Soli Deo Gloria” (Glory Only to God), which could be the ship’s name, though that has yet to be confirmed by the experts. Also found on the galleon were navigation compasses and plumb lines for measuring depth, silver coins, a pistol, sword sheaths and other military items, as well as ornaments and several jewels, notably a ring set with eight diamonds, Listin Diario said. Other discoveries included plates with makers’ marks (castles, lions and fleurs-de-lis), silverware, buckles, bronze candlesticks, sword handles, and a device for measuring the ship’s speed in knots. . . .

For the full article, click here»

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