Exhibition: Kolbe’s Fantastic Flora

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

From the Kunsthaus Zürich website:

Giant Herbs and Monster Trees: Drawings and Prints by Carl Wilhelm Kolbe
Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie, Dessau, 28 November 2009 — 31 January 2010
Städtische Galerie in der Reithalle Schloß Neuhaus, Paderborn, 24 April — 13 June 2010
Kunsthaus Zürich, 10 September — 28 November 2010

ISBN: 978-3865685179, $89.50

C.W. Kolbe (1759–1835) is one of the most intriguing figures in German art at the turn of the 19th century. With his fantastical, almost surreal landscapes featuring woods and marshes, Kolbe exerted a considerable (albeit long underestimated) influence on the graphic arts between Sturm und Drang and Romanticism. Kolbe, who did research in linguistics in addition to his artistic career, was born in Berlin and spent much of his life in Dessau. From 1805 to 1808 he lived in Zurich, where he produced engravings based on aquarelle gouaches by the late Salomon Gessner, celebrated at the time as a painter and poet.

As a souvenir of his time by the banks of the Limmat, where he had learned of the collapse of the ‘Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation’, he presented the Künstlergesellschaft with the drawing of the trunk of a dead willow tree. Kolbe’s renderings of trees are a wholesale product of his
imagination, and the fear of radical change lurks in his Arcadian fantasies.

Conference: Art in Roman Palaces

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on October 30, 2010

Display of Art in Roman Palaces, 1550-1750
The Getty Center, Los Angeles, 2-3 December 2010

Rome—with its cardinals and international ambassadors to the papal court, its ancient barons and its newcomers trying to appear as if they descended from Caesar, all building, expanding, remodeling, and furnishing magnificent palaces, or trying to rent quarters befitting their needs and status—provided a powerful model for how the elites of Europe and beyond should live with an abundance of art. Here, display of art was calibrated to the ceremony of life and work in these great houses, to an etiquette and hierarchy that applied to every person, space, and thing.

This two-day conference is part of a Getty Research Institute research project on display in Roman houses from 1550 to 1750, two centuries that encompass the beginnings of collecting, as it is generally understood today, and the end of the “baroque,” by which time a very different concept of the interior had taken shape. Different media categories, moveable and immoveable—such as frescoes, cabinet pictures, tapestries, sculpture, and architecture—have been studied, yet little attention has been given to their integration into ensembles in which people conducted their lives. The wealth of microhistories on collecting allows for a broad-gauged analysis of display, and how it informed emerging concepts of art and art history. Conference presentations will explore the social and cultural context for display, the circuitry of production and the art market, access to interiors, and the processes by which desire was negotiated into concrete aesthetic environments that responded to the contingencies of life and change.

Admission is free. Reservations required for each day.

For more information or to make a reservation, visit the Getty website»

Exhibition: ‘Italy Observed’ at the Met

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 29, 2010

Press release from the Met:

Italy Observed: Views and Souvenirs, 1706-1899
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 12 October 2010 — 2 January 2011

Luca Carlevaris, "The Bacino, Venice, with the Dogana and a Distant View of the Isola di San Giorgio," ca. 1709 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection)

In the 18th century, privileged Europeans embarked on the Grand Tour, traveling principally to sites in Italy, where they visited cherished ruins of the ancient world and the splendid architecture of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. The influx of these travelers to destinations north and south – Venice, Rome, and Naples in particular – led to a flowering of topographical paintings, drawings, and prints by native Italians serving a foreign market eager to return home with pictures and souvenirs.

Italian Fan with view of the Roman Colosseum flanked by grotesques and landscapes, late 18th-century. Paint on parchment (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Italy Observed: Views and Souvenirs, 1706-1899, currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum through January 2, 2011, showcases a selection of the rich holdings of Italian vedute (views) collected by Robert Lehman. From paintings of Venetian life by Luca Carlevaris to a Neapolitan album of gouache drawings documenting the eruption of Vesuvius in 1794 to sketches and watercolors of Italian antiquities, the installation captures the artist’s romantic attraction to Italy and its irresistible Roman heritage. It also includes various marketed souvenirs—exquisite fans, spoons, teapots, and pocket watches—on loan from the Museum’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts.

The exhibition is divided into three sections: Venice, Rome, and Naples. The British elite constituted the largest percentage of Grand Tourists, and their fascination with Venice and its surrounding landscapes fueled the vedute market. Artists like Luca Carlevaris, Canaletto, Bernardo Bellotto, and Francesco Guardi produced vedute of the Venetian Grand Canal. In Rome, wealthy aristocrats commissioned artists such as Pompeo Batoni to paint their portraits surrounded by imagery of the Coliseum, Palatine Hill, Saint Peter’s Basilica and other emblematic souvenirs of the Grand Tourist culture. And in Naples, the picturesque Bay of Sorrento, Mount Vesuvius, and Pompeian frescoes inspired a prosperous trade in affordable mementos to foreign visitors in port. The spectacular eruptions of Mount Vesuvius were particularly popular, and found expression on porcelain, fans, and even pocket watches. The installation combines the rich artistic tradition of Canaletto and his contemporaries with marketed souvenirs adapting the same iconic monuments as keepsakes. (more…)

Current Issue of ‘Eighteenth-Century Studies’

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on October 29, 2010

Selections from Eighteenth-Century Studies 44 (Fall 2010):

  • Lisa L. Moore, “Exhibition Review: Mary Delany and Her Circle, in the Museum and on the Page,” pp. 99-104.
  • Yuriko Jackall, “Exhibition Review: Jean Raoux, 1677-1734,” pp. 104-111.
  • Katherine Arpen, “Review of Thomas Kavanagh’s Enlightened Pleasures: Eighteenth-Century France and the New Epicureanism (Yale UP, 2010),” pp. 136-38.

Mary Vidal Travel Award — Applications Due 15 November

Posted in graduate students, opportunities by Editor on October 28, 2010

HECAA members who are graduate students or who have completed the Ph.D. within the past three years are eligible to apply for modest subventions (between $100-$200, depending on the number of applicants and available funds). Named in memory of Professor Mary Vidal, the funds are intended to defray costs associated with research travel, conferences in which the recipients are presenting, or publication permission fees.

Applicants should send a CV and a brief description of the project, including an explanation of how the funds will be used, to Julie Plax by May 15th or November 15th (there are two deadlines).


Royal Society Publications Briefly Available for Free

Posted in resources by Editor on October 28, 2010

The Royal Society Digital Journal Archive, from 1665 to 2010 inclusive, will be free to view until 30 November 2010. Notes and Records of the Royal Society and the eighteenth-century volumes of The Philosophical Transactions may be useful for some Enfilade readers. Both are available through JStor, but such periods of free, fully open access are useful for a much larger audience.

Exhibition: ‘Cultural Exchange’ at Boston’s MFA

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 27, 2010

From the MFA website:

Luxuries from Japan: Cultural Exchange in the 17th and 18th Centuries
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 30 September 2009 — 17 January 2011

"Dutchman on a Barrel," Japanese, Edo period, ca. 1675-1699, 14 inches high

More than 400 years ago, Japan forged strong trading partnerships with China and the West, and Japan’s lacquer and porcelains were among the most sought-after luxuries in the world. Although Japan largely closed itself to the West around 1640 to preserve domestic stability, Chinese and Dutch merchants were allowed to trade goods through a network that extended down the Asian coast to Islamic ports, around Africa, and then to Europe.

The Japanese frequently created items specifically tailored to aristocratic European tastes for ornamentation in royal palaces and stately homes—exquisite blue-and-white and enameled porcelains, as well as sumptuous mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquers. However, Japan also imported luxuries. Practitioners of chanoyu (popularly known as the tea ceremony), for example, treasured ceramics and textiles from China, Korea, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia. Presenting works from several private collections and from the Museum’s own holdings, Luxuries from Japan explores these dynamic intercultural exchanges that shaped the creation of Japanese works of art
during the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

Call for Essays: Objects in a Global Context

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 27, 2010

Wanted: two additional proposals for a collection of essays tentatively titled Objects of Inquiry and Exchange: Eighteenth-Century Thing Theory in a Global Context. If interested, please submit your proposal by January 15, 2011:

Whereas the temporal expanse of the “long” eighteenth-century has been repeatedly emphasized, its spatial inclusiveness and thematic coincidences beyond British (or British colonial) boundaries are still insufficiently addressed. This volume invites papers that may fill in this informational gap: they will focus on how the increased production and circulation of things during the century has encouraged processes of cultural, scientific, and commercial exchange that justify the period’s consideration from a more globalizing perspective. The main goal of the volume is to cover geographical and cultural areas insufficiently mapped out in eighteenth-century studies (the Near and Far Orient, South-Eastern Europe, the Russian and Ottoman Empires, the Nordic countries, Black Africa, and Latin America) by exploring them through the material and narrative circulation of emblematic or familiar objects that represent them literally and culturally.  The possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • objects in intimate spaces and the emergence of domesticity;
  • (im)proper objects and the public sphere;
  • exotic things in travelogues and scientific investigation;
  • automatons, fossils, totems and the scientific inquiry;
  • collectibles, souvenirs, gifts and the epoch’s emerging interest in antiquarianism and the culture of the museum;
  • gigantic and monstrous objects and the gothic imagination;
  • anthropomorphized objects;
  • it-narratives as forms of picaresque fiction and anti-luxury discourse;
  • persons as things: the reifying mechanism of the satire;
  • desirable things and associated practices (advertising, fashion, shoplifting);
  • the traffic in china, fabrics, spices, and perfumes and the emerging interest in Orientalism;
  • things as fetishes and objects of exchange;
  • curious, magical, and ritual objects;
  • the role of commodities in bringing geographically alien spaces together.

Ideally, the collection will highlight patterns of similar or divergent trends, behaviors, or themes that will reconfigure our understanding of the East/West (and North/South, for that matter) dichotomy by tracing down paths of commercial and intercultural exchange. Our goal is to provide a more accurate representation of the relationship between literature and material culture during the century from a comparative perspective that aims to elucidate whether synchronicity is a matter of influence or coincidence. Consequently, our call for papers encourages submissions from scholars involved in interdisciplinary and comparative research, both domestically and abroad.

Please send abstracts of 300-500 words and a brief bio to Ileana Baird at ifp4a@virginia.edu and Christina Ionescu at cionescu@mta.ca by January 15, 2010. The deadline for manuscript submission will be June 30, 2011.

Call for Papers: Icons and Iconoclasm

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 27, 2010

Icons and Iconoclasm
Inaugural issue of Jefferson Journal of Science and Culture

Proposals due by 29 October 2010

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation and the Jefferson Fellows at the University of Virginia recently hosted the second biennial Forum for Interdisciplinary Dialogue. Scholars from across the United States and the World presented their research at the two-day event. On the heels of the success of this conference, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation is proud to launch a new peer-reviewed academic journal entitled the Jefferson Journal of Science and Culture. The journal is a twice-annual publication intended to present high-quality manuscripts on interdisciplinary topics.  Each journal will also have a theme.  The theme for the first journal will correspond to the conference — Icons and Iconoclasm. We invite scholars in all fields to submit papers exploring the many roles, uses and interpretations of icons, as well as criticisms of their iconic status. Scholars are invited to interpret the terms “image,” “icon,” and “iconoclasm” in different ways. Some topics may include:

  • iconic ideas (scholarly theories, religious beliefs and practices, culture)
  • mechanics of icons (construction, transmission, perception, and reception/destruction)
  • iconic images (scientific models, branding, maps, artwork)
  • iconic figures (historical, religious, literary, political)

Please read the submission guidelines on this website and email your manuscript to jeffersonjournaluva@gmail.com by Friday, October 29, 2010.

Exhibition: British Soldiers in India

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 26, 2010

Press release from the National Army Museum:

Indian Armies, Indian Art: Soldiers, Collectors, and Artists 1780-1880
National Army Museum, London, 19 May — 1 November 2010

"Bengal Army Troops," watercolor on European paper by a Company artist, ca. 1785 (London: National Army Museum).

An ivory chess set, watercolours of Indian soldiers, and miniature paintings presented by Maharaja Ranjit Singh will form part of the National Army Museum’s exhibition Indian Armies, Indian Art: Soldiers, Collectors, and Artists which explores the story of the soldiers serving the British in India. The exhibition looks at the period of East India Company rule in India and the early years of British colonial rule. British and Indian cultures merged and co-existed for many years, which can be seen in the multi- ethnic and multi-faith armies of the East India Company. The watercolours, intricate sculptures and miniature paintings that will be exhibited were created by local artists, usually for a European audience, and reveal the fascination many British officers had for aspects of Indian life.

A highlight of the exhibition will be a series of eight paintings commissioned by Colonel James Skinner, an officer of the Bengal Army whose father was Scottish and his mother Rajput. The paintings were commissioned by him to record his life and exploits, from images of a regimental durbar hosted by Skinner to St. James’s church in Delhi, which he built – in addition to a mosque and Hindu temple. Many of the paintings have never been exhibited before, and it will be the first time that the Museum’s collection of Skinner paintings will be displayed together. Other objects in the exhibition with powerful stories to tell include:

  • three watercolours from 1885 of the last king of the Konbaung kingdom of Burma, King Thibaw
  • two early carved wooden figures of a sepoy of the Madras Army created in 1785 by an Indian craftsman.
  • a white metal tiger taken from the palace of Tipu Sultan at Seringapatam at the fall of that city during the fourth Mysore War, 1799

Exhibition curator Pip Dodd said, “The National Army Museum has one of the largest collections relating to the armies of the East India Company and the Indian Army, and this exhibition will be a great opportunity for Museum visitors to learn more about this fascinating and beautiful collection.”

The British East India Company traded in India from 1617 and established Company rule by the eighteenth century. The Company created the Bengal, Madras and Bombay presidencies each with its own army of Indian soldiers and British officers. This rule lasted until 1858, after the Mutiny in the Bengal Army when power was transferred to the British Crown, and the armies of the presidencies were merged to form the British Indian Army. After the Indian Independence act of 1947 and the subsequent partition of India, the British Indian Army was divided between India and Pakistan and British Army units returned to the United Kingdom.

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