Early Dutch Books Online

Posted in books, resources by Editor on September 22, 2011

Hélène Bremer usefully draws our attention to Early Dutch Books Online, which provides free access to more than 10,000 books from the Dutch-speaking region from 1781-1800. The website is available in English, and the texts cover not only Dutch books but also French ones as this was the language of the court. As noted at the site . . .

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James Cook, "Reize rondom de waereld," translated by J.D. Pasteur, 15 vols. + atlas (Leiden, Amsterdam, and The Hague: Honkoop, Allart en Van Cleef, 1799-1803)

Early Dutch Books Online gives full-text access to more than 2 million pages in 10,000 books from the Dutch-speaking region from the period 1781-1800.The project is a collaboration between the Royal Library of the Netherlands and the university libraries of Amsterdam and Leiden. Books from the Special Collections of these libraries have been digitized and made available on word level via this website.

The Amsterdam (UB UVA) and Leiden (UBL) university libraries and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB) possess a large number of similar and complementary Special Collections, which partially overlap (where printed materials are concerned). The expression “Special Collections” is used for a wide variety of materials that are, for any reason whatsoever, rare, expensive and often fragile. Materials from Special Collections are kept in depots equipped with security measures and climate control. They consist of old, printed publications in a wide array of languages from various countries. In addition to printed works, there are also large collections of written materials in the libraries, varying from mediaeval manuscripts, later manuscripts, including scholars’ and artists’ archives, to over a million letters. There are also collections of maps and atlases, prints, photographs, decorated paper, bindings and typographic materials.

Online Library
The Special Collections departments of UB UVA, UBL and the KB launched the initiative “National Infrastructure for Digital Access to Special Collections” in October 2005. This is a plan for an online library for Humanities consisting of fully digitized items from the Special Collections of the institutions involved. Digitizing the various Special Collections from these three libraries, and in time also from other libraries, makes a large quantity of previously mostly inaccessible texts accessible to scholars and for education. Early Dutch Books Online is the first step toward this online library.The importance of digitization of scientific sources is evident. Without source material, research in the Humanities is impossible. Electronic access contributes to the efficiency, effectiveness and reliability of the research and provides opportunities for entirely new types of research. Digitization makes new scientific breakthroughs possible. Te availability of large text corpora is necessary for this. Early Dutch Books Online makes such large files accessible.

Selection Criteria
For Early Dutch Books Online a selection was made of old books from the period 1781 to1800. This selection has been based on the content and practical criteria. For example, books printed in Gothic letters are left out of the selection, because the Optical Character Recognition of this letter doesn’t have the desired result.When the project started, some criteria were established. Not only was the period between 1781 and 1800 very interesting from a Dutch historic standpoint, the books are also very suitable for digitization as regards to their typography. The point in time when books were no longer printed in Gothic typeface but in Roman typeface lies roughly in the final quarter of the seventeenth century for the Netherlands. In the eighteenth century, the ‘modern’ (Roman) type gradually became more predominant. Material printed in Roman is much more suitable for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) than the Gothic material. This is why material printed in the Netherlands in the eighteenth century was selected for this project. Within the eighteenth century, the project limits itself to the period 1781-1800 for the time being. The change to Roman script was as good as completed by then.

Books categorized in the Short Title Catalogue Netherlands (STCN) consist for a third of governmental publications, academic publications (mainly in Latin) and occasional poems. The interest in these categories is normally not very large. The remaining part, the so called regular works, consists of historical, political, theological, and literary works. This is where this project concentrates on. The majority of the searches by scientist in the STCN focuses on these works.

The emphasis lies on ‘Dutch material’, in other words, printed in the Netherlands or treating of the Netherlands. The Dutch language cannot be employed as a strict selection criterion. Before 1800 books weren’t always printed in Dutch. Universities used Latin, the court spoke French. That is why the project includes both Dutch and French materials.

At Auction: Elizabeth Taylor’s Jewels

Posted in Art Market by Amanda Strasik on September 21, 2011

Press release from Christie’s (7 September 2011) . . .

Edith Head Necklace, gold necklace with ivory opera passes, ca. 18th and 19th centuries

Christie’s is proud to announce details of the first in a four-day series of landmark sales devoted to the iconic collection of Elizabeth Taylor, the celebrated film star, fashion icon, and humanitarian. On December 13, 2011, Christie’s New York will present 80 of Ms. Taylor’s most iconic jewels in a special Evening Sale, followed by 189 additional jewels in two Day Sale sessions on December 14. Widely celebrated as one of the greatest private collections ever assembled, this dazzling array of jewels includes Elizabeth Taylor’s most iconic diamonds, gemstones, historic jewels, and one-of-a-kind creations, as well as a treasure trove of personal mementos and beloved gifts. The total selection of 269 magnificent jewels from this storied collection is estimated to achieve well in excess of $30 million. . . .

The Edith Head Necklace, a gold necklace with ivory opera passes, circa 18th and 19th centuries, gift from the Estate of Edith Head Estimate: $1,500 – 2,000. Fashioned from ivory theatre tokens, this one-of-a-kind necklace was owned by the Hollywood costume designer Edith Head – a dear friend of Elizabeth Taylor whom she often described as being like a second mother to her. As Ms. Taylor later recounted, she had always admired the necklace on Edith, who in turn promised to leave it to Elizabeth in her will. True to her word, the necklace was the one thing Miss Head left to her, and it became a beloved reminder of her dear friend and one of her most cherished possessions. . . .

An especially nice AP photo by Richard Drew is available here»

Exhibition: ‘Princely Treasures’ from the V&A in Perth

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 20, 2011

Press release:

Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces, 1600 – 1800
The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 24 September 2011 — 9 January 2012

François Boucher, "Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour," 1758 V&A: 487-1882 ©Victoria and Albert Museum

The Art Gallery of Western Australia is hosting its second major international exhibition of the year ‐ a treasure trove of European decorative art from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600 – 1800 from the Victoria and Albert Museum comprises more than 90 magnificent artworks and objects, rarely seen on Australian shores. Coming exclusively to Perth, this significant and highly visual collection includes painting and sculpture, ceramics and glass, metalwork and furniture, textiles and tapestries, personal adornment and dress, armoury, prints and drawing. Many of these pieces are coming to Australia for the first time and were originally acquired by European men and women of power, wealth and taste between 1600 and 1800. Made by Europe’s finest artists and craftsmen, and using precious materials from around the world, these masterpieces originate from all corners of the continent – from Britain and France, Italy and Germany, Russia and Spain, Austria and Belgium, Holland and Sweden.

The exhibition is the second in the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s Great Collections of the World series and will open on 24 September 2011 and run until 9 January 2012. This exclusive WA showing will give Perth residents and visitors an unprecedented opportunity to experience first‐hand the opulence and splendour of these rare treasures. Stefano Carboni, Director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, said Princely Treasures was an exhibition with wide public appeal and a major coup for Perth. “I am proud to host such a colourful and rich collection which will not only delight visitors young and old including art lovers, history buffs and antique enthusiasts, it will also provide an intimate view into the lives of the wealthy and powerful in Europe past,” he said. “The rich textiles, truly opulent furniture and stunning clothing and personal apparel are a wonder, as is the outstanding craftsmanship, use of dazzling materials and historical nature of many of the pieces such as the suits of armour. I would encourage all Western Australians to take this rare opportunity to experience the beauty and richness of these stunning artworks and historical objects while we are lucky enough to have them on our shores,” Mr Carboni said.

The Princely Treasures exhibition is to be presented in five different themes, encapsulating important aspects of courtly life in Europe at that time.

  • Princely Patronage presents the key figures who were the great patrons of the arts in Europe between 1600 and 1800, and some of the most sophisticated objects that circulated around European courts.
  • Power and Glory explores how representations of war were used to decorate objects commissioned for courtly use, from armour and weapons to tapestries and paintings.
  • Religious Splendour reveals the nature of objects made for worship, commissioned by secular or ecclesiastical patrons for public or private devotional use.
  • Display and the Domestic Interior presents furniture, textiles and ceramics made for use in the home, either for decorative or social purposes.
  • Fashion and Personal Adornment reveals the care and attention aristocratic men and women took to dress in fashionable style from head to toe.

Hannah Williams, Art History in the Pub

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on September 19, 2011

The Association of Art Historians (the British equivalent of CAA), has launched a series of free events intended for a general audience and held in a pub. The next talk, at The Monarch, is to be given by Hannah Williams on September 26th. -CH.

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Hannah Williams, The Violent Suicide of François Lemoyne: An 18th-Century Art History Mystery
The Monarch Pub, London, 26 September 2011

18th-Century French Sword (Photo Source: V&A Collections)

As part of the AAH’s commitment to bringing the best in cutting-edge art-historical research to a wider community, we are pleased to be able to announce a hopefully-regular Art History in the Pub series of talks, lectures and events. Our talks present a selection of the wide variety of topics, periods, methods and approaches common in art historical study, and are aimed at a generalist audience.

Paris, 4 June 1737: the celebrated artist François Lemoyne commits suicide. It started as an ordinary day. Lemoyne had been to his studio to give a lesson to his students and taken a meal with his cousin. But then events took a macabre turn. Lemoyne retired to his bedroom, carefully locked the door, took up his sword, and proceeded to inflict upon his body multiple fatal stab wounds, before dropping to the floor and dying in a pool of blood.

Lemoyne’s death shocked and horrified his family and colleagues, and it has since presented something of a mystery for art historians. Why should this incredibly successful artist – first painter to Louis XV – have wanted to kill himself only months after completing what is now considered his magnum opus: the ceiling of the Apotheosis of Hercules at the Château de Versailles? Was it over money? Professional jealousy? A madness induced by lack of recognition? Could it have been murder? Or if it really was suicide, then how did Lemoyne complete his gruesome task?

With most of the clues now lost deep in the past, some art-historical sleuthing is necessary in order to retrieve the traces. In this paper, I attempt to solve these perplexing mysteries through a forensic and art-historical analysis of the object responsible: Lemoyne’s sword. Using police reports, autopsies, and witness statements, I piece together the final hours of Lemoyne’s life and offer a material reconstruction of the now lost fatal weapon, exploring what Lemoyne’s sword looked like, what he did with it, and what it meant to him. Drawn from a larger study investigating what artists’ personal possessions reveal about their everyday lives, this case explores the limits and possibilities of object-biography, and presents an exercise in recovering the material history of an object when that object no longer materially exists.

Can art history solve the crime? Come along and find out!

Hannah Williams is a Junior Research Fellow in Art History at St John’s College, Oxford. A specialist in 17th- and 18th-century French art, Hannah completed her PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2010 and previously held a doctoral fellowship at the Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris. She is currently writing a book on artists’ portraits and self-portraits entitled Face-to-Face with the Académie Royale: An Ethnography in Portraiture, which combines art-historical and anthropological approaches to investigate the culture of an early modern community of artists. Hannah is also researching a post-doctoral project – Painters and Parish Life – which traces the local social networks of artists in 18th-century Paris through a study of parish churches and religious art. With Katie Scott, she is writing a book on Artists’ Things, which offers an alternative guide to the material culture of 18th-century French artists through close studies of their personal possessions.

More information about the Art History in the Pub series is available here»

Exhibition: Matthew Buckingham: ‘The Spirit and the Letter’

Posted in exhibitions by Amanda Strasik on September 18, 2011

From the Brooklyn Museum:

Matthew Buckingham: The Spirit and the Letter
Brooklyn Museum, 3 September 2011 — 8 January 2012

Curated by Elizabeth Sackler

Matthew Buckingham, Still from "The Spirit and the Letter," 2007, continuous video projection with sound, electrified chandelier, mirror.

Matthew Buckingham’s installation The Spirit and the Letter is an homage to Mary Wollstonecraft, the eighteenth-century writer and philosopher. Comprised of a video projection and sculptural components,  Buckingham’s work questions the role that social memory and historical representation play in contemporary life, encouraging viewers to question how they hear and see what is most familiar to them. Excerpts from Wollstonecraft’s writing, compiled and edited by Buckingham, are spoken as a monologue in the video. The text is primarily drawn from  Wollstonecraft’s important A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, in which she passionately asserted the equality of the sexes and demonstrated through her own intellectual rigor that women are not inferior to men. The essay, the earliest known treatise on the subject, has been viewed as the foundation of the modern women’s rights movements in the Western world.

Conference at Edinburgh: Enlightenment Aesthetics and Beyond

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Freya Gowrley on September 17, 2011

Enlightenment Aesthetics and Beyond
University of Edinburgh, 15-16 December 2011

The Enlightenment Aesthetics and Beyond conference will bring together scholars in aesthetics and the history of philosophy to explore aesthetic theory in the Enlightenment, the reception of British aesthetic theory in Germany, and the significance of these ideas for contemporary debates in aesthetics and other fields.

The conference will address a range of topics, including: taste and judgment; expressivism; the sublime; aesthetics of nature; the intersection of aesthetics and moral philosophy; rationalist and empiricist approaches to aesthetics; and the theories of Du Bos, Hume, Reid, Kant, Schopenhauer and Hegel, among others.

The conference builds upon projects carried out during the National Endowment of the Humanities research seminar, ‘Scottish Enlightenment Aesthetics and its German Reception’, held in St Andrews, Scotland, 2007. The conference is part of a series of events across the University of Edinburgh marking the tercentenary of David Hume’s birth (2011): ‘Celebrating Connections‘.

Keynote Speakers: Paul Guyer (Murray Professor of the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania) and Peter Jones (University of Edinburgh)


Thursday, December 15th
9:00  Registration
9.30  Jason Gaiger (Oxford University), ‘Du Bos and the “Democratisation” of Taste’
10:30  Coffee
11:00  James Shelley (Auburn University) ‘Hume on Choosing an Author’
12:00  Rachel Zuckert (Northwestern University) ‘Reid’s Expressivist Aesthetics’
13:00  Lunch
14:00  Keynote: Paul Guyer (University of Pennsylvania), ‘”A Treasure Chamber of the Human Soul”: Baumgarten, Mendelssohn, and Herder’
15:00  Tea
15:30  Jonathan Friday (University of Kent), TBA
17:30  Reception and Beholder art exhibition, Talbot Rice Gallery, Old College
19:30  Conference Dinner

Friday, December 16th
9:30  Keynote: Peter Jones (Emeritus Professor, University of Edinburgh), ‘Once More Back to the Contexts’
10:30  Coffee
11:00  Alex Neill (University of Southampton), ‘Schopenhauer and 18th-Century British Philosophy’
12:00  Lunch
13:00  Alison Stone (Lancaster University), ‘Early German Romanticism, Aesthetics, and Nature’
14:00  Closing discussion

Saturday, December 17th
9:30  Historic City Tour with Charles Withers (Professor of Historical Geography, University of Edinburgh), registration required

Exhibition: ‘Infinite Jest’

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Amanda Strasik on September 16, 2011

Now on at the Met:

Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 13 September 2011 — 4 March 2012

Curated by Constance McPhee and Nadine Orenstein

ISBN: 9780300175813, $45

The exhibition explores caricature and satire in its many forms from the Italian Renaissance to the present, drawn primarily from the rich collection of this material in the Museum’s Department of Drawings and Prints. The show includes drawings and prints by Leonardo da Vinci, Eugène Delacroix,Francisco de Goya, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Enrique Chagoya alongside works by artists more often associated with humor, such as James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson,Honoré Daumier, Al Hirschfeld, and David Levine. Many of these engaging caricatures and satires have never been exhibited and are little known except to specialists. . . .

The second section of the exhibition will explore social satire expressed in works devoted to eating and drinking, gambling, male and female fashion, art, and crowds. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are known as the golden age of caricature and satire, with William Hogarth, Gillray, Rowlandson, and George Cruikshank producing lively examples in Britain, and Honoré Daumier and Boilly doing the same in France. These artists cleverly inserted recognizable caricatures into satirical frameworks to mock contemporary society. Extreme fashion provided satirists with an ever-changing source of humor beginning in the 1760s and a selection of sartorial caricatures will be on view. . .

Carol Vogel reviewed the exhibition for The New York Times (12 May 2011).

Restoring the Chancellerie d’Orléans Interiors

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Amanda Strasik on September 15, 2011

As noted several weeks ago by Art Daily . . .

Germain Boffrand and Antoine Coypel, Chancellerie d'Orleans, also known as the Hôtel de Voyer d'Argenson, ca. 1707 (Photo: François Jeanneau)

The World Monuments Fund (WMF) Europe announced today a project to restore and reconstruct the interiors of the Chancellerie d’Orleans, which have been in storage for nearly ninety years. One of the most important Parisian hôtel particuliers of the eighteenth century, the Chancellerie d’Orleans was demolished in the 1920s but its interiors were saved and stored for later reinstatement elsewhere. Now that a preliminary study by a French Architecte en chef des Monuments historiques has been completed, the interiors will be installed in the former Hôtel de Rohan-Strasbourg, a structure contemporary to the Chancellerie and now the Archives nationales.

For more information about the reinstallation of the interiors,
read the full article here»

Exhibition: ‘Passion and Precision in the Age of Revolution’

Posted in exhibitions by Amanda Strasik on September 14, 2011

From the MFA:

Passion and Precision in the Age of Revolution
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 20 August 2011 — 13 May 2012

European art of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is dominated by two powerful artistic movements: Neo-classicism and Romanticism. Neo-Classicism is marked by purity, austerity, clarity, and an almost abstract obsession with the linear. The style was stimulated by the recent archaeological discoveries at Pompeii and Herculaneum and by pageants and festivals of the French Revolution that referred back to Republican Rome. By contrast, Romanticism was an art of extremes, of melodrama: the dramatic interplay of light and shadow rather than linear purity. Romantic artists believed in nature—whether wild landscape, wild beasts, or the animal impulses of humankind—as an uncontrollable force, inspiring awe and terror. “Passion and Precision in the Age of Revolution” features about forty-five works by artists including Ingres, Delacroix, Desprez, Prud’hon, Turner, Blake, Gericault, Girodet, Flaxman, and Schinkel.

Gainsborough Linley Portraits Reunited at Dulwich

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 13, 2011

Press release from Dulwich Picture Gallery in London:

Thomas Gainsborough, "Elizabeth and Mary Linley," ca. 1772 (Dulwich Picture Gallery)

Known in their times as the ‘nightingales’, Elizabeth and Mary Linley were the most beautiful and talked-about young girls in Bath’s society in the 1770s. From a musical family, they were applauded on the theatre stages of Bath and London, as much as they appeared in the newspapers of the day as society figures. They were portrayed together, in 1772, by Thomas Gainsborough, who was a close friend of their father’s, and their neighbour in Bath. The painter had seen Elizabeth and Mary grow before his eyes and tenderly represented them in their magnificent large canvas known as The Linley Sisters, now at Dulwich Picture Gallery.

In the same year as the Dulwich painting was finished by Gainsborough, Elizabeth eloped to France with the young playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, causing a great scandal. A year later, in 1773, the two were married. Elizabeth did not expect the marriage to be an unhappy one, constantly marked by Sheridan’s infidelities. Elizabeth gave up singing and supported her husband in his career as a writer and politician.

Thomas Gainsborough, "Mrs. Elizabeth Richard Brinsley Sheridan," 1785-87 (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery)

Gainsborough was to portray Elizabeth at different points in her life. This is his last image of her – aged thirty-one- only a few years before her untimely death of tuberculosis in 1792. Elizabeth sits under a tree in the open countryside – a windswept valley so different from the delicate violets and primroses of the earlier double portrait at Dulwich. Elizabeth’s entire figure is transformed by the romantic wind in the canvas, just as passion swept her short life. After her death, William Jackson noted that “as a singer she is perished forever, as a woman she still exists in a picture painted by Gainsborough.”

Earl A. Powell III, the Director of the National Gallery of Art Washington, said: “We are delighted that Gainsborough’s Mrs Richard Brinsley Sheridan will represent the National Gallery of Art at the Bicentenary celebrations of Dulwich Picture Gallery.” The masterpiece will be on display from 6 September – 2 October 2011.

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