Prince Eugene of Savoy

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 31, 2010

From The Art Newspaper:

Agnes Husslein-Arco, ed., Prince Eugene: General-Philosopher and Art Lover (Munich: Hirmer Verlag), ISBN 9783777425511, $75.

Reviewed by Theodore K. Rabb, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University; posted 29 June 2010

. . . Ruling a multitude of languages and peoples, the Habsburgs were unique among Europe’s monarchs in their enthusiasm for foreign aristocrats at their court and as commanders of their armies. None repaid that welcome as handsomely as Eugene. In a few decades, he not only launched a once shrinking dynasty into an expansive era of conquest, but he helped make Vienna into one of the most dazzling capitals and cultural centres in Europe.

This catalogue records an exhibition (until 6 June) that pays tribute to the prince’s many achievements. It is held in the lower half of the Belvedere in Vienna, a two-part palace that is a contender for the title of the most imposing townhouse ever built, and which Eugene spent over a decade completing during the 1710s and 1720s. Although more than 300 objects are on display, ranging from sculptures to manuscripts, weapons to portraits, they barely scratched the surface of his possessions. His library alone, now owned by the national library, contained some 15,000 volumes. He had two Van Dycks, seven Guido Renis, and hundreds of Dutch and Italian paintings. At the heart of the Albertina’s collection of prints, the largest in the world, are the 255 volumes of engravings by masters such as Dürer that ultimately came from Eugene. . . .

For the full review, click here»

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The exhibition as described at EuroMuse (sorry that this one slipped by me until just recently). . .

Prinz Eugen: Feldherr, Philosoph, und Kunstfreund / General, Philosopher, and Art Lover
Lower Belvedere, Vienna, 11 February — 6 June 2010

Of Italian descent and a native French, Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), following his meteoric rise and splendid career as a military leader, became one of the most influential Austrians who had a long-lasting impact on the country’s fate and its art and cultural history. As a diplomat and counsel to the emperors Leopold I, Joseph I, and Charles VI, he travelled across Europe from one theatre of war to the next, playing a decisive role in determining the future of the House of Habsburg.

In 2010, the Vienna Belvedere, with its two palaces and Baroque gardens built by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt in the early eighteenth century as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, will be the venue of an exhibition presenting the prince as a general, statesman, and patron of the arts and sciences. Throughout his lifetime, he devoted himself to the compilation of a comprehensive collection of paintings, copper engravings, incunabula, illuminated manuscripts, and books, which he displayed in his Viennese palaces. From ever changing war sites, Prince Eugene corresponded with artists and artisans, landscape designers and architects, as well as the most influential thinkers of his time.

His acquisitions went down in the annals of European art and cultural history and facilitated the transfer of works of art from the court of the French king Louis XIV to Vienna. His interest in the natural sciences – in matters of which he relied on the expertise of the philosopher and scientist Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – is reflected in a large collection of exotic animals and plants.

The exhibition will showcase exhibits from Prince Eugene’s art collections – predominantly paintings from the Galleria Sabauda in Turin and cimelia from the Bibliotheca Eugeniana – in an ambience simulating period interiors, thus conveying to the visitors the complex decoration of those buildings where Prince Eugene, as president of the Imperial War Council and member of the Privy Council, received such illustrious guests as the ambassador of the Ottoman Empire.

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Additional information on the exhibition is available at The Luxury Traveler.

New Title: Cultural Aesthetics of Porcelain

Posted in books, Member News by Editor on July 30, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7546-6386-7

Alden Cavanaugh and Michael E. Yonan, eds., The Cultural Aesthetics of Eighteenth-Century Porcelain (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), ISBN: 9780754663867, $99.95

During the eighteenth century, porcelain held significant cultural and artistic importance. This collection represents one of the first thorough scholarly attempts to explore the diversity of the medium’s cultural meanings. Among the volume’s purposes is to expose porcelain objects to the analytical and theoretical rigor which is routinely applied to painting, sculpture and architecture, and thereby to reposition eighteenth-century porcelain within new and more fruitful interpretative frameworks. The authors also analyze the aesthetics of porcelain and its physical characteristics, particularly the way its tactile and visual qualities reinforced and challenged the social processes within which porcelain objects were viewed, collected, and used.

The essays in this volume treat objects such as figurines representing British theatrical celebrities, a boxwood and ebony figural porcelain stand, works of architecture meant to approximate porcelain visually, porcelain flowers adorning objects such as candelabra and perfume burners, and tea sets decorated with unusual designs. The geographical areas covered in the collection include China, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, Britain, America, Japan, Austria, and Holland.

Contents: “Introduction,” Alden Cavanaugh and Michael E. Yonan; “Rethinking the Arcanum: porcelain, secrecy, and the 18th-century culture of invention,” Glenn Adamson; “The nature of artifice: French porcelain flowers and the rhetoric of the garnish,” Mimi Hellman; “Igneous architecture: porcelain, natural philosophy, and the rococo cabinet chinois,” Michael Yonan; “Marketing celebrity: porcelain and theatrical display,” Heather McPherson; “Balancing act: Andrea Brustolon’s ‘La Forza’ and the display of imported porcelain in 18th-century Venice,” Erin J. Campbell; “The Queen’s nécessaire,” Alden Cavanaugh; “Porcelain, print culture and mercantile aesthetics,” Dawn Odell; “Sugar boxes and blackamoors: ornamental blackness in early Meissen porcelain,” Adrienne L. Childs; “Ties that bind: relations between the Royal Academy of San Fernando and the royal porcelain factory of the BuenRetiro,” Andrew Schulz; Selected bibliography; Index.

About the Editors: Alden Cavanaugh is Associate Professor of Art History at Indiana State University; Michael E. Yonan is Assistant Professor of Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Art at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

New Research Tools from the Getty

Posted in resources by Editor on July 29, 2010

As recently posted to the caah listserv (Consortium of Art and Architectural Historians) . . .

The Getty Research Institute is pleased to announce the new Provenance Index® database “Payments to Artists.”

The wealth of most Renaissance and Baroque painters was principally derived from what they earned selling their art. Data that documents payments to artists—as opposed to resale prices or inventory evaluations—is the primary means for analyzing the socioeconomic lives of painters in early modern Europe. This new online database contains approximately 1,000 payments recorded in Rome between 1576 and 1711.

We are grateful to Richard Spear who gathered this set of data in order to write the Rome section of his book Painting for Profit: The Economic Lives of Seventeenth-Century Italian Painters (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), which focuses on painters active in five major Italian cities. In its initial phase, this new Provenance Index® database is limited to information from Richard Spear’s research. It nonetheless is conceived as an open-ended, pilot project that can be easily corrected and significantly expanded as other scholars provide information from all periods of Western painting.

In addition, we would like to let patrons know of the following resources actively being added to and made freely available from the Getty website. The Getty Provenance Index® databases, part of the Project for the Study of Collecting and Provenance (PSCP), are compiled with the collaborative participation of institutions and individuals in Europe and the United States. The databases contain indexed transcriptions of inventories, auction catalogs, and stock books. More than one million records covering the period from the late sixteenth to the early twentieth century are searchable online. Originally designed as research tool for the ownership history of individual masterpieces, the index also allows scholars to model complex market developments, social networks, and cultural transfers.

  • 64,000 new records from French auction catalogs of the 1770s and 1780s have recently been added to the Sales databases, completing a collaborative project with the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris. The French auction market from the early 17th to the early 19th centuries is therefore fully covered.
  • A new custom display and downloading feature has been implemented which accommodates statistical analysis and data visualizations. Users are now able to save up to 10,000 records onto their computers and manipulate them according to their own scholarly purposes.

Sport and Panelling at the Bowes

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on July 28, 2010

From the Bowes Museum’s website:

British Sporting Art
Bowes Museum, County Durham, England, 11 May — 10 October 2010

British Sporting Art, will explore the genre of Sporting Art in Britain, from horseracing and hunting to boxing, football and cricket. Central to the theme of the exhibition, which will include works by George Stubbs, Sir Alfred Munnings and George Morland, is John Bowes, the founder of the Museum and the first man to lift the renowned Triple Crown. Inspired by Bowes’ love for horseracing and its importance to the story behind The Bowes Museum, this exhibition will explore his prolific racing career and the wider genre of Sporting Art.

The branch of painting which has come to be known as British Sporting Art was at its height during the 18th Century, when horseracing fervour swept the nation. It was a golden age for sporting artists, the most famous of which was Stubbs, with an urge to immortalise winners on canvas. Despite it being rejected by connoisseurs as a low form of art, and by Sir Joshua Reynolds as
genre painting, Stubbs was a significant presence at the Royal Academy annual exhibitions, to huge critical acclaim.

Featured in the display will be the Museum’s painting, Cotherstone, by J F Herring Jnr, and John Ferneley’s Beeswing. The former was bought at auction from Christie’s in New York in 2006, Cotherstone being one of Bowes’ most successful racehorses, while the latter is on long term loan to the Museum. Beeswing won 51 from 64 races, becoming quite a celebrity, with several public houses named after her.

Artists such as Gillray, whose work also features in the exhibition, were quite different from those depicting field sports. They produced detailed portraits of boxers and comical sporting scenes, which were reproduced in popular print form. The exhibition will consider whether this in itself is a statement about the class system in the 18th Century, particularly as the print industry became prominent. It will also consider the next generation of painters – Herring Snr & Jnr and Henry Alken, who faced less prejudice than their predecessors, and will conclude with more recent sporting paintings by Munnings, whose hunting scenes are instantly recognisable. Lifelike bronzes of racehorses, deer and gundogs, by sculptor Sally Arnup, will enhance the sporting art.

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As noted at Art Daily (27 July), the Bowes Museum’s ‘Object of the Month’ for August is the panelling from the London townhouse of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield.

Chesterfield, best known for his letters to his [illegitimate] son, giving advice on how to behave and get on in society, was also an international diplomat who desired a house fully up-to-date in style. His house was the first in England to show the ornate rococo style imported from France in the mid-18th Century. . . . Chesterfield House was demolished in 1937 and parts of the ante-room were brought up to Sunderland. The panelling was presented by Sir Nicholas Williamson of Whitburn Hall in 1968. It forms the centrepiece of the Museum’s new galleries devoted to English Interiors 1500-1900.

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Shopping with Susan Weber

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on July 27, 2010

For its regular ‘Home & Garden’ shopping column, The New York Times recently (21 July) featured Susan Weber — Director, Founder, and Professor at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts (and, as the story notes, the former wife of George Soros). Persistence is the key theme of the profile — perhaps a virtue that fits well with our recent discussion of the status of eighteenth-century art historical studies. In any case, it’s a notable instance of mainstream exposure for an academic working in our period — however exceptional Weber may be — as well as exposure for a still relatively new program that’s already produced exciting results.

Publication Grants

Posted in resources by Editor on July 27, 2010

Millard Meiss Publication Grants
Applications due by 1 October 2010

Millard Meiss Publication Grants CAA awards Millard Meiss Publication Grants to support book-length scholarly manuscripts in the history of art and related subjects that have been accepted by a publisher on their merits but cannot be published in the most desirable form without a subsidy. For complete guidelines, application forms, and grant description, please visit http://www.collegeart.org/meiss or write to publications@collegeart.org.

Call for Papers: SEASECS 2011 at Wake Forest

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 26, 2010

Annual SEASECS Meeting — ‘Science and the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century’
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, 3-5 March 2011

Proposals due by 1 November 2010

The 37th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (SEASECS) will be held 3-5 March 2011 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. The theme for the conference will be “Science and the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century.” The deadline for submission of paper proposals and full panels is 1 November 2010.

The eighteenth century has sometimes been seen in the history of science as a quiescent period between the great advances made by the likes of Descartes, Newton, and Leibniz in the seventeenth century and Darwin in the nineteenth. As Roy Porter argues in The Cambridge History of Science (2003), however, the eighteenth century is an especially rich era of interdisciplinarity because of the prominence of humanists “in the dissemination of the sublime truths of the new science” (7). By the end of the century, Romantic artists began to reject the “truths” of science and to promote the arts as alternatives to rather than disseminators of science. Thus the eighteenth century represents a kind of golden era of cross-pollination before the arts and sciences were separated into distinct, sometimes opposing, disciplinary discourses. (more…)

Collection of Early Drawing Instruments

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

The following 2007 press release from Columbia University regarding the Alpern Collection of drawing instruments notes that “an exhibition and catalogue are in preparation.” Well, here they are (nearly so anyway). . .

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A pocket set of silver instruments with an ivory scale/protractor, housed in a silver-mounted case covered in shagreen – the skin of a sting ray. English, 2nd half of the 18th c.

February 28, 2007 An outstanding collection of early architectural drawing instruments has been donated to the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University by noted New York architectural historian Andrew Alpern.

The collection comprises 170 English, Continental and American sets and individual pieces spanning over 250 years of exquisite craftsmanship in silver, ivory, steel and brass.  Sets range from small portable sharkskin or tortoise-shell cases containing the architect’s essential tools – pen, scales, dividers, compass and protractor – to large mahogany cases containing every aid imaginable for the aspiring draftsman. Assembled over a 40-year span, the collection is fully functional.  According to Alpern, “Preparing construction drawings (as I have) employing 18th-century solid silver instruments of superb quality is vastly more satisfying than using ordinary modern ones.”

“We are tremendously grateful to Andrew Alpern for his gift of these rare and precious instruments” said Avery Library’s Director, Gerald Beasley, who added that “Computer-aided design has entirely supplanted their manufacture and use, but this only increases their research value to historians of architectural design.”

The collection, which also includes numerous trade catalogues and other rare books about the instruments, is available to researchers by appointment at Avery Library’s Department of Drawings and Archives. An exhibition and catalogue are in preparation.

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This elegant volume documents three hundred years of exquisite drawing tools, richly photographed and described, for architects, draftsmen, and engineers. Crafted in silver, ivory, steel, and brass, the instrument sets catalogued here range from small silver-mounted tortoiseshell pocket étuis to multitiered mahogany cases housing every professional aid imaginable. Computers have supplanted their manufacture and use, yet these exquisite traditional instruments are still fully functional. ISBN 9780978903732, $60 (September 2010).

Exhibition Marks the 300th Birthday of Johann Evangelist Holzer

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 24, 2010

The following comes from the website of the Domschatz- und Diözesanmuseum; there’s also a fine site dedicated to the exhibition (I’m sorry that all are only in German). . .

Johann Evangelist Holzer (1709-40), Painter of Light
Augsburg, 28 March — 20 June 2010
Eichstätt, 14 July — 31 October 2010
Innsbruck, 3 December — 13 March 2011

Johann Evangelist Holzer, altarpiece in Eichstätt Schutzengelkirche

Johann Evangelist Holzer (1709-1740) gehört zu den großen Meistern des 18. Jahrhunderts. Kirchen und Klöster in Süddeutschland stattete er mit prächtigen Fresken und Altarblättern aus. Nach nur wenigen Schaffensjahren hatte der in Burgeis in Südtirol geborene Künstler, der lange in Augsburg wirkte und mit nur 31 Jahren in Clemenswerth an der niederländischen Grenze starb, ein bedeutendes Werk hinterlassen.

Seine Zeitgenossen setzten Holzer gar dem italienischen Maler Raffael gleich, heute ist sein Werk eine wahre Entdeckung. Vier Museen in Deutschland und Österreich haben sich das gemeinsame Ziel gesetzt, mit unterschiedlichen Schwerpunkten Leben und Werk dieses Malers und Grafikers des Spätbarock in einer Werkschau mit etwa 160 Exponaten erstmals umfassend vorzustellen.

In der barocken Residenzstadt Eichstätt wird die Kunst Holzers in ihrer ursprünglichen städtebaulichen und künstlerischen Atmosphäre besonders gut erlebbar. In der ehemaligen Jesuitenkirche präsentieren sich dem Besucher frisch restauriert, drei Altarblätter Holzers, darunter der Hochaltar als sein größtes Leinwandgemälde. Weitere Altarbilder sowie eine Computersimulation der Kuppel von Münsterschwarzach sind im Kuppelraum der ehemaligen Klosterkirche Notre Dame zu besichtigen. Im Festsaal der ehemaligen fürstbischöflichen Sommerresidenz bildet das zauberhafte Deckengemälde Holzers einen weiteren Höhepunkt.

Das Domschatz- und Diözesan als zentrale Anlaufstelle in Eichstätt präsentiert eine reiche Schau zu Holzers Früh- und graphischem Werk. Ein vielfältiges Veranstaltungsprogramm rundet die Werkschau ab, zu der ein umfangreicher Katalog erscheint.

New Title: Summer is for Fireworks

Posted in books, Member News by Editor on July 23, 2010

Simon Werrett, Fireworks: Pyrotechnic Arts and Sciences in European History (University of Chicago Press, 2010), ISBN: 978-0226893778, $45.

Fireworks are synonymous with celebration in the twenty-first century. But pyrotechnics—in the form of rockets, crackers, wheels, and bombs—have exploded in sparks and noise to delight audiences in Europe ever since the Renaissance. Here, Simon Werrett shows that, far from being only a means of entertainment, fireworks helped foster advances in natural philosophy, chemistry, mathematics, and many other branches of the sciences.

Fireworks brings to vibrant life the many artful practices of pyrotechnicians, as well as the elegant compositions of the architects, poets, painters, and musicians they inspired. At the same time, it uncovers the dynamic relationships that developed between the many artists and scientists who produced pyrotechnics. In so doing, the book demonstrates the critical role that pyrotechnics played in the development of physics, astronomy, chemistry and physiology, meteorology, and electrical science. Richly illustrated and drawing on a wide range of new
sources, Fireworks takes readers back to a world where pyrotechnics were both
divine and magical and reveals for the first time their vital contribution to the
modernization of European ideas.

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