Back in Mid-June

Posted in site information by Editor on May 28, 2010

Formal Gardens at Het Loo Palace (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

For the next two weeks, I’ll be in the Netherlands — first for the Historians of Netherlandish Art Conference in Amsterdam and then for the Attingham Study Programme for the Dutch Historic House (I’m especially grateful to the Attingham Trust and the American Friends of Attingham for a generous scholarship). Postings will resume around the middle of June. All the best for the start of a productive and relaxing summer!

-Craig Hanson

Delaroche Exhibition

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 28, 2010

Painting History: Delaroche and Lady Jane Grey
National Gallery, London, 24 February — 23 May 2010

Although primarily a nineteenth-century exhibition, the Delaroche show that just closed at the National Gallery offered plenty of jewels for thinking about the eighteenth century, too, especially in light of the aftermath of the French Revolution. A review of the exhibition by David Howarth can be found at Apollo Magazine:

. . . The “Execution [of Lady Jane Grey]” is the centrepiece of a beautifully crafted show, as meticulously prepared as the smooth finish of Delaroche’s vast canvases. Although a limited number of paintings are on display in the exhibition, the range extends beyond the confines of a notorious basement which has ill-served so many exhibitions. The accompanying catalogue, by Stephen Bann and Linda Whiteley, includes important new thinking on the relationship between art and the stage. . .

The full review is here»

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Upcoming Conference in Paris: Used Things

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on May 27, 2010

Recycling, Waste and Luxury: The Afterlife of Used Things in the Long 18th Century
Université Paris Diderot, UFR Charles V – 10, rue Charles V 75004 Paris, 22-23 June 2010

Organized by Ariane Fennetaux, Amélie Junqua, and Sophie Vasset

Tuesday, 22 June

9:00  Registration and coffee

9:15  Ariane Fennetaux and Amélie Junqua, Introduction

9:45-11:15  Knowledge, Science and Recycling – Claire Gallien

  • Simon Werrett (University of Washington), Remaking natural knowledge: recycling in the history of science and medicine
  • Sophie Vasset (Université Paris-Diderot), Recycling cases in 18th-century medical treatises

11:30-13:00  Recycling 18th-Century Parisian Walls – Charlotte Guichard

  • Allan Potofsky (Université Paris-Diderot), Revolutionary recycling and civic architecture: the conseil des bâtiments civils and the Use and Abuse of the Past in France, 1795-1815
  • Noémie Etienne (Université de Genève), Du mur au musée: transformations matérielles et symboliques des peintures à Paris autour de 1775

14:30-16:00  Material Recycling (I) – Amélie Junqua

  • Geoffrey Day (Winchester College), Recycling in the library
  • David Humphrey (Royal College of Art, London), A portal to change and innovation: recycling and the 18th-century English jewelry trade

16:30-18:00  Material Recycling (II) – Ariane Fennetaux

  • Sara Pennell (Roehampton University), ‘…for a crack or flaw despis’d’ : understanding ceramic ‘semi-durability’ in the first half of the long 18th century
  • Fiona McDonald (University College London), Weaving and wool: materiality through woollen blankets in 18th-century Aotearoa/New Zealand

Wednesday, 23 June

9:15-10:45  Waste – Robert Mankin

  • Tim Cooper (University of Exeter), Critical perspectives from Marxism on the uses of waste and recycling in the long 18th century
  • Sabine Barles (Université St Denis Paris 8), La valorisation des excréta urbains en France à la fin du 18ème siècle

11:15-12:45  Royal Recyclings – Natacha Coquery

  • Corinne Thépaut-Cabasset (Château de Versailles), Le grand livre des pierreries du roi: gestion, entretien et recyclage des bijoux pendant le règne de Louis XIV
  • Olivia Fryman (Historic Royal Palaces and Kingston University), ‘Cleaning and new beautifying’: strategies of repair and reuse in the English Royal Wardrobe, 1689-1760

14:15-15:45  Commerce and Recycling (I) – Jon Stobart

  • Arlene Leis (University of York), Repetition, recycling and imitation: images of high art in Sarah Sophia Banks’s collection of trade cards
  • Natacha Coquery (Université de Nantes), La diffusion sociale des biens à Paris au 18ème siècle: la boutique, carrefour entre le luxe, le demi-luxe et l’occasion

16:15-18:30  Commerce and Recycling (II) – Sara Pennell

  • Barbara Lasic (Victoria and Albert Museum), Recycling and re-fashioning the grand-siècle in Paris and London, 1789-1814
  • Ilja Van Damme (University of Antwerp), The decline and the fall of the second hand guild in the Southern Netherlands: material culture, institutional change and the labour market, 1650-1850
  • Jon Stobart (Northampton University), Luxury and country house sales in England, c.1750-1830

Goya as Modernist in Milan

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 27, 2010

From lifeinitaly.com:

Goya e il mondo moderno / Goya And The Modern World
Palazzo Reale, Milan, 17 March — 27 June 2010

A visitor looks at engravings by Spanish master Francisco de Goya on March 16, 2010 at Palazzo Reale museum in Milan. (Photo: DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)

Milan is paying tribute to the art of Spanish master Francisco Goya, with a wide-ranging exhibition of over 180 works exploring his impact on future generations. The event at Palazzo Reale brings together paintings, etchings and drawings from across Europe, mostly by Goya (1746-1828). But the show also looks at the Spaniard’s influence on key artists after his death, including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Willem De Kooning, Oskar Kokoschka and Eugene Delacriox among others. Divided into six different sections, the exhibition explores three key themes in Goya’s output. . .

The rest of the exhibition summary can be found here»

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Recent Articles from ‘Art History’: Art and Theatre

Posted in journal articles by Editor on May 27, 2010

The eighteenth century in a special issue of Art History on “Theatricality in Early Modern Visual Art and Architecture,” edited by Caroline van Eck and Stijn Bussels:

Sigrid de Jong, “Staging Ruins: Paestum and Theatricality,” Art History 33.2 (April 2010): 334-51.

Abstract: This article looks at the connection between architecture and theatre. By focusing on how eighteenth-century travellers experienced the Greek temples in Italian Paestum, it highlights the analogies between architectural experience and theatricality. Travellers at the time found it difficult to comprehend Paestum because the architecture of the temples was different from the classical architecture they had seen in Rome and illustrated in publications. Travellers, by using strategies of representation related to the theatre, tried to present this strange architecture of Paestum in an accessible way to their eighteenth-century public. It also shows how the various roles assumed by spectators or traveller-observers defined the way they experienced the architecture.

Bram van Oostveldt, “Ut pictura hortus / ut theatrum hortus: Theatricality and French Picturesque Garden Theory (1771-95),” Art History 33.2 (April 2010): 364-77.

Abstract: The picturesque vogue in French garden theory and practice from the second half of the eighteenth century drew on more than painterly examples. Theatrical strategies were equally important in attempts to stage the garden as a painting. However, in French theory and practice references to the theatre were often considered to be problematic. It was theatricality that posed the problem. The French followed a more general discourse on theatricality that, from the mid-eighteenth century on, was predominant in the arts and was constructed around questions of spectatorship. As the disapproved other of the natural, the theatrical in the arts referred to situations in which the beholder is made aware of the danger that the act of beholding threatened to destroy the imaginative and illusionistic power of art.

Update on the Well-Being of the Wellcome Library

Posted in resources by Editor on May 26, 2010

I’m glad to note that I received the following message of assurance from Simon Chaplin, the Head of the Wellcome Library, in regard to my earlier question about the fate of the Library. I observed that it’s difficult for me to imagine the Library without the Centre — it seems that, in fact, the Library is starting to make plans for assuming some of the responsibilities previously handled by the Centre, such as support of visiting scholars. Many thanks, Simon, for the clarification, and my apologies for perpetuating any unreliable information. -C.H.

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I’m happy to say that the decision about the Centre hasn’t raised any questions about the library — our position is very secure. We’re about to embark on a big project to put more of our collections online – the Trust has earmarked four million pounds for this over the next two years, with up to another sixteen million pounds available once the project is up and running – and the numbers of physical users are also going up by 25% a year, so there is no danger that the move to digital will reduce our physical presence. I’ve been talking with colleagues in the Centre and the Trust about how we can support visiting researchers using the library if the Centre moves out of its present location, so we should be able to maintain this service regardless of the changes. I’d be grateful if you could offer Enfilade readers some reassurance on this – there have been several other reports about the Wellcome Library’s ‘closure’, and I’m keen that the rumour doesn’t put down roots. With best wishes – and hoping to see you in the library soon!

Dr Simon Chaplin
Head of the Wellcome Library
Wellcome Library
183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE

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Stubbs and the Politics of Nature

Posted in journal articles, Member News by Editor on May 26, 2010

Recently published in The Oxford Art Journal:

Douglas Fordham, “George Stubbs’s Zoon Politikon,” Oxford Art Journal 33 (March 2010): 1-23.

Abstract: Returning to Alex Potts’s assertion that Georgian animal paintings were conceived ‘as extensions of the social world’, this essay examines two unprecedented canvases that George Stubbs painted for the Second Marquess of Rockingham in the 1760s. I argue that the massive Lion Attacking a Stag and Lion Attacking a Horse are richly coded allegories, in the sense articulated by Walter Benjamin in The Origin of German Tragic Drama, which combine iconographic codes from heraldry, the aristocratic menagerie, thoroughbred breeding, oppositional satire, and Enlightenment science to produce a unique form of ‘heraldic naturalism’. Through a reconstruction of Rockingham’s politics as well as the room in his London townhouse where the paintings were displayed, this article attempts to recover the political implications of George Stubbs’s ‘natural order’ as well as its relation to Edmund Burke’s sublime aesthetic ideology. Ultimately, this article argues that the Rockingham lions
naturalize the claims of landed authority through an innovative response
to immediate domestic and imperial pressures.

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Now Taking Nominations

Posted in nominations by Editor on May 26, 2010

College Art Association Awards
Nominations due by July 31 / August 31

CAA encourages you to make a nomination for the twelve Awards for Distinction for 2011. The different perspectives and anecdotes from multiple personal letters of recommendation provide award juries with a clearer picture of the qualities and attributes of the nominees.

In your letter, state who you are; how you know (of) the nominee; how the nominee and/or his or her work or publication has affected your practice or studies and the pursuit of your career; and why you think this person (or, in a collaboration, these people) deserves to be recognized. We also urge you to contact five to ten colleagues, students, peers, collaborators, and/or coworkers of the nominee to write letters; no more than ten letters are considered. (Letters of support are important for reference, but the awards decisions are the responsibilities of the juries based on their expert assessment of the qualifications of the nominees.)

Nominations for book and exhibition awards (see additional information below) should be for authors of books published or works exhibited or staged between September 1, 2009, and August 31, 2010. Books published posthumously are not eligible. (more…)

A World without the Wellcome?

Posted in resources by Editor on May 25, 2010

From the Editor

As a former research associate at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, I’m as dismayed as anyone at the recent announcement that the Centre will be closing. The Wellcome has played an immensely valuable role for scholars across multiple disciplines, including art history. Thanks in part to the importance of Roy Porter for the Centre (and of course the importance of the Enlightenment for the history of medicine), the Wellcome has provided valuable institutional support for the field of eighteenth-century studies generally. The announcement also raises questions about the fate of the Wellcome Library, which includes an unrivaled collection of visual resources, much of which has been available online (reassurances have been made, but it’s difficult for me to imagine the Library without the Centre; at the very least, its mission would change).* For more information, see the announcement at the UCL website, a brief article at The Times Higher Education, and this editorial from the Telegraph. I hope you’ll consider signing the following petition.

-Craig Hanson

To:  UCL/The Wellcome Trust

On March 31st the Wellcome Trust and UCL announced the closure of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine. This decision came in the middle of negotiations concerning the normal quinquennial review of funding for the Centre. The proposal to close the Centre was made by a handful of persons within the Wellcome Trust without, as far as is known, the involvement of any historian of medicine. We call upon the Trust to reconsider its decision, reinstate the independent peer review process, and permit any subsequent Centre to remain within the Wellcome building. We call upon UCL to maintain the history of medicine as a visible entity within College serving both historians and medics.

* N.B. –– Regarding the fate of the Library, please see this posting, added 26 May 2010.

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Roy Porter Memorial Lecture by Quentin Skinner, Political Liberty: The Enlightenment Debate
Wellcome Building, 183 Euston Road, London, 26 May 2010

With the announcement of the closure of the Centre by UCL and the Wellcome Trust, and the uncertainty regarding the precise details of the two-year wind-down, the 2010 Roy Porter Memorial lecture will be the last. Professor Quentin Skinner will talk on Political Liberty: The Enlightenment Debate, a subject Roy would have particularly enjoyed.

Jeremy Bentham announced in 1776 that he had made a ‘discovery’ about the concept of liberty. John Lind put forward a similar view in his official response to the Declaration of Independence, but Lind was persuaded (not least by Bentham himself) to accept that Bentham had been the first to articulate the argument. Bentham’s view was primarily directed against the pamphlets of the common lawyer Richard Hey, while Lind’s was more ambitiously directed against the pro-American writings of Richard Price. The lecture begins by examining the background to the theory that Lind denounced, and then turns to examine the background to the rival theory that he and Bentham both espoused. As the latter discussion unfolds, a doubt about Bentham’s claims to originality begins to arise. The lecture ends by suggesting that the earliest articulation of the theory that he claimed as his own was in fact the work of Thomas Hobbes.

The lecture will be held on May 26th in the Wellcome Building, 183 Euston Road. Attendance is free on receipt of an e-ticket which may be obtained by emailing: hom-events@ucl.ac.uk.

Old Master Drawings in Grenoble

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 25, 2010

From the evene.fr site:

De chair et d’esprit: Les dessins italiens du musée de Grenoble (XVe — XVIIIe siècles)
Musée de Grenoble, 6 March – 30 May 2010

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1682-1754), "Bust of a Young Woman," Black chalk and charcoal, heightened with white gouache - 37.6 x 30.4 cm (Grenoble: Musée de Grenoble)

Le musée de Grenoble a entrepris d’étudier et de publier les 3500 dessins anciens (du XVe au XVIIIe siècle) conservés dans ses collections, en présentant chaque année, sur trois ans, une sélection des oeuvres les plus représentatives de ce fonds. Un fonds qui était demeuré jusqu’alors largement inexploité et pour l’essentiel inédit. En 2010, la première étape de cette démarche sera consacrée à l’Italie et permettra de découvrir près de 120 dessins issus des différents foyers artistiques de la péninsule. L’étude et la mise en valeur de ses collections sont parmi les missions premières d’un musée. A Grenoble, alors que la majeure partie des peintures et sculptures ont été publiées, les équipes travaillent depuis plusieurs années sur le fonds d’art graphique.

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A review of the exhibition by Didier Rykner from The Art Tribune is available in English here»

. . . . We were struck during our visit to this exhibition in Grenoble by the quality of the works which nonetheless remained totally unknown until now, even to specialists. Furthermore, we would like to commend the museum for its determination to explore and catalogue all of its collections, an undertaking begun many years ago and which its current director, Guy Tossato, continues to pursue. Next year, after the Italian drawings, the museum will highlight French drawings before the 19th century, then will present Northern European sheets. Let us hope that the entire collection will soon be published, a feat not yet achieved, to our knowledge, by any of the other provincial museums.

The accompanying catalogue is available through Michael Shamansky’s artbooks.com. Eric Pagliano, Catherine Monbeig Goguel, and Philippe Costamagna, De chair et d’esprit, dessins italiens du musée de Grenoble XVe –XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Somogy, 2010), ISBN: 9782757203057, $65.

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