Exhibition | Botanical Watercolours from the the Van Berkhey Collection

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 17, 2012

On at NCB Naturalis, as noted by Hélène Bremer:

Passion for Flowers: Drawings from the Van Berkhey Collection
NCB Naturalis, the Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity, Leiden, 29 March — 8 July 2012

Johannes le Francq van Berkhey (1729-1812) was a man of the Enlightenment. His love for the arts, antiquities, literature and the natural sciences was reflected in his being an artist, collector, writer and lector in Natural History. He obtained a doctorate in medicine in his beloved home town of Leiden for his thesis on botanical studies. Over a period of forty years he assembled a magnificent and wide-ranging collection of natural history objects, including a remarkable collection of drawings and engravings, intended as a classified version of the entire living nature. Having a wide interest in his time, he could not keep himself out of politics. After being denounced for his political ideas, he was forced to sell his collections at auction in order to pay for his defence in court in 1785. The Spanish Royal Cabinet for Natural History realised the value of Van Berkhey’s collection and acquired it to advance the knowledge of natural history.

At Naturalis, for the first time, we present a careful selection of 41 of his botanical illustrations, meticulously preserved in Madrid’s Royal Botanic Gardens. The species represented include clovers,
lilies, peonies, roses, bamboos, chrysanthemums, asters, poppies and a flowering branch of a cherry or plum tree; species that typically started being introduced into European gardens during the 18th century.

Passie voor bloemen is on view until 8 July 2012.

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NCB Naturalis, the Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity, was launched on 28 January 2010. The centre is the result of cooperation between Amsterdam University (Amsterdam Zoological Museum), Leiden University and Wageningen University and Research Centre (National Herbarium Nederland) and the National Natural History Museum Naturalis in Leiden. The partners’ collections will come together at NCB Naturalis into a collection totalling over 37 million objects. In terms of collection size, NCB Naturalis is one of the top five natural history museums in the world.

Call for Papers | CAA in New York 2013

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 16, 2012

The following represents a selection of panels that might be of interest for scholars of the eighteenth century, though readers are encouraged to consult the full Call for Papers. HECAA members are asked to pay special attention to the session organized by Hector Reyes ‘Art in the Age of Philosophy?’ along with an Open Session for New Scholars. -CH.

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101st Annual Conference of the College Art Association
New York, 13-16 February 2013

Proposals due by 4 May 2012

The 2013 Call for Participation for the 101st Annual Conference, taking place February 13–16 in New York, describes many of next year’s programs sessions. CAA and the session chairs invite your participation: please follow the instructions in the booklet to submit a proposal for a paper or presentation. This publication also includes a call for Poster Session proposals and describes the eight Open Forms sessions.

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Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture
Art in the Age of Philosophy?
Hector Reyes, University of California, Los Angeles, hreyes@humnet.ucla.edu
The relationship between philosophy and art has been a rich field of research for scholars of eighteenth-century painting. Such inquiry has identified philosophical motivations for the pursuit of pleasure, especially aesthetic pleasure, and led to a new understanding of the intellectual foundations and commitments of supposedly frivolous painters, such as Fragonard, Greuze, Boucher, and Chardin. This panel seeks to broaden the inquiry in eighteenth-century philosophy and art by considering a wide range of philosophical and artistic practices. Are there neglected philosophies that might relate to artistic theory or production? How might philosophical approaches help us to rethink the status of other media or artistic production more generally in the eighteenth century? Does an emphasis on philosophical questions occlude or lead us away from important formal questions? Papers that question or interrogate the philosophical approach to art-historical research are as welcome as those that present new research or propose new approaches and methodologies.

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The Decorative Arts within Art Historical Discourse: Where Is the Dialogue Now and Where Is It Heading?
Christina Anderson, University of Oxford, and Catherine Futter, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; cm.anderson@usa.net and cfutter@nelson-atkins.org.
The decorative arts are frequently regarded as minor arts in comparison with the “beaux arts” of painting, sculpture, and architecture. Although William Morris wished to democratize art, his writings tended to exacerbate this gulf. The Wiener Werkstätte, Omega Workshops, and Bauhaus also all tried, but failed, to bridge the gap. Today, art history students often encounter the decorative arts late in their careers, if at all. Even among scholars, the decorative arts have become associated with “material culture,” a social science term. This panel will investigate the current status, and future direction, of the decorative arts within art history from a number of different approaches, including material culture, gender studies, Marxism, and semiotics. Are museums better repositories of decorative arts scholarship than universities? Is the term “decorative arts” appropriate, or is it as limiting as “applied arts,” “material culture,” “design,” and “craft?”

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The Watercolor: 1400–1750
Susan Anderson, Harvard Art Museums, and Odilia Bonebakker, Harvard University; susan.anderson.phd@gmail.com and bonebakk@gmail.com
Art history tends to view watercolor as a modern phenomenon. However, the medium (including gouache and distemper) enjoyed broad-ranging application in a wide spectrum of independent, finished objects produced before 1750. Neither painting nor drawing, and practiced by professionals and amateurs, watercolor resisted contemporary categorization and cohesive analysis during this period of institutionalizing art and its makers. Despite watercolor’s conspicuous presence, a thorough discussion of its theory, practice, and collecting habits from 1400–1750 has been wanting. We seek to re-inscribe watercolor as a significant category in the history of early modern art. Rather than view early watercolors as inevitably leading to the grand British tradition as codified by the Royal Watercolor Society, this session first and foremost aims to place these earlier objects within their own historical, geographical, and cultural moments. Papers from a range of topics and methodological approaches are welcome.

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Open Session: French Art, 1715–1789
Colin B. Bailey, The Frick Collection, New York, Bailey@frick.org
Papers that shed new light on individual painters, draftsmen, printmakers, sculptors, practitioners of the decorative arts, and architects in the period between the Regency and the end of Louis XVI’s reign are encouraged. It is hoped that the presentations will also illuminate the range of approaches and methodologies that have revitalized the study of eighteenth-century French art in the past two decades.

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Tapestry and Reproduction
Barbara Caen, Universität Zürich, and K.L.H. Wells, University of Southern California; barbaracaen@gmail.com and katharlw@usc.edu
The session will examine how the tapestry has developed as a reproductive art from the sixteenth century, when Raphael’s famous Acts of the Apostles tapestries were widely copied throughout Europe, to the present day, when digital imaging facilitates the creation of almost photorealist tapestries by contemporary artists. Focusing on tapestry suggests not only that the issue of reproduction was relevant long before the onset of photography, but also that the workshop traditions of the early modern period continue to shape artistic production today. This session asks how tapestry’s status as a collaboratively crafted reproduction of a prior design, cartoon, or model has influenced its production and reception. Papers could address the working relationship between designers and weavers, the role of the market, or perceived differences between manual and mechanical reproduction. We invite papers by scholars working in a range of historical time periods and methodologies, as well as by artists who have participated in tapestry production.

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Historians of British Art
Parallel Lines Converging: Art, Design, and Fashion Histories
Julie Codell, Arizona State University; Julie.codell@asu.edu
Historians of art, design, and fashion, long separated into discrete disciplines, have begun shared investigations of British culture, often focused on material objects from which radiate a range of topics: domesticity, collecting, museums, gender, consumption, empire, objects’ social and economic trajectories, and social identities constructed through things, among others. Yet, scholars may retain different disciplinary methodologies through which they examine social, historical and cultural meanings of art, objects, dress, furnishings, and spaces. Papers on British visual culture from all historical periods and media are welcome and should address aspects of this convergence, such as (but not limited to) its history in the Arts and Crafts movement or the Gesamtkunstwerk; its appearance as a consequence of commercial or academic changes; its effects on rethinking periodicity and styles; similar objects studied through different methods; design or fashion in paintings; advertising and art history; film costume and mise-en-scene; art and design histories converging in studies of empire.

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Imagining Creative Teaching Strategies in Art History
Marit Dewhurst and Lise Kjaer, City College, City University of New York; mdewhurst@ccny.cuny.edu and lkjaer@ccny.cuny.edu
Exciting discoveries and challenging new scholarship in the field of art history are commonly taught in a pitch-dark classroom, in a classical lecture style. This session calls for papers that will address, rethink, and critique alternative pedagogical strategies in teaching art history on both graduate and undergraduate levels. Papers may address a variety of teaching theories that actively engage students, such as cooperative learning, critical pedagogy, experiential learning, and inquiry-based learning. Papers may consider methods that empower students in an active and self-motivated investigation of art history. Finally, creative teaching strategies that explore critical research and writing assignments are also welcome.

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The Darwin Effect: Evolutionary Theory, Art, and Aesthetic Thought
Michael Dorsch, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and Jean M. Evans, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; michaelscottdorsch@gmail.com and jmevans@uchicago.edu
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution bore a decisive influence on aesthetic thought that was nothing if not diverse. Its impact has cropped up in a variety of places, ranging from the dating of geometric ornament of so-called primitive cultures to Emmanuel Frémiet’s sculptures of entanglements between simians and prehistoric humans and ultimately to the work of contemporary artists. Using the wealth of new scholarship that resulted from the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of the Species as a springboard, this session will examine the impact of evolutionary theory. To that end, we seek papers that examine the role of Darwinian theory in the construction of trans-cultural, trans-historical discourses on artistic practice, aesthetic theory, and the historiography of art history.

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Putting Design in Boxes: The Problem of Taxonomy
Craig Eliason, University of St. Thomas; cdeliason@stthomas.edu
When design historians label a chair as “Louis XV” style or a typeface as a “humanist sans-serif,” they are imposing classification schemes upon these design artifacts. This taxonomic approach, which has shaped much of design history, itself deserves attention. This panel welcomes papers that address the problem of taxonomy in the historiography of design, whether through case studies or theoretical reflections. Papers might consider the entrenchment of classification systems in the practice of design studies (e.g., in textbooks and syllabi); might address the roles of industry in both demanding and supplying classification schemes; or might probe the points at which taxonomic systems fail. Looking ahead, papers might also propose new strategies for effective classification (perhaps employing bottom-up semantic tagging in place of top-down fixed categorical schemes). The panel will consider how the intentional examination of the problem of taxonomy can generate insights both about design and about the scholarship thereof.

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Material and Narrative Histories: Rethinking Studies of Inventories and Catalogues
Francesco Freddolini and Anne Helmreich, The Getty Research Institute; AHelmreich@getty.edu
This session aims to identify innovative scholarly approaches to inventories and catalogues by exploring these texts as narratives and material objects. Rethinking the role of these texts is particularly pertinent now when digital humanities have fuelled a quest for “empirical data.” Our questions include: What is the role of authorship and who constitutes the author(s) and additional protagonists? How were these texts developed as multivalent strategies? How is meaning produced at the linguistic, semantic, rhetorical, visual, and material levels? Are there sufficient commonalities to regard these texts as genres? How is the reader understood at the original point of production and in subsequent reception histories? How do such temporal shifts impact on our approach? Papers may investigate case studies but should nonetheless explore the larger theoretical and methodological significance of the materials. We are particularly interested in lesser-known inventories and catalogues posing unusual problems as well as exploring a diverse breadth of chronological and geographic material.

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Building for the “Common Good”: Public Works, Civic Architecture, and Their Representation in Bourbon Latin America
Luis J. Gordo-Peláez, University of Texas at Austin, and Paul B. Niell, University of North Texas; pelaezluis@mail.utexas.edu and paul.niell@unt.edu
In 1700, a new king, Philip V, and a new royal dynasty, the French Bourbons, ascended the Spanish throne and introduced ambitious governmental, military, and fiscal reforms in the overseas colonies. For the next century, the cities of colonial Latin America experienced a considerable transformation in their urban landscapes. Viceroys, Corregidores, Intendentes, and Cabildos promoted drastic improvements of public works, buildings, and repairs of city halls, jails, bridges, fountains, paved roads, granaries, slaughterhouses, and parks. This panel seeks to examine civic architecture, public infrastructures, and their representation, built for the “common good,” during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Latin America. It also explores the relationship between such public improvements and late colonial identities. The panel thus invites papers dealing not only with architectural history, but also with the history of the image and other forms of material culture.

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CAA International Committee
Crossing Continents: Expatriate Experiences and the History of Art History
Geraldine A. Johnson, University of Oxford; geraldine.johnson@hoa.ox.ac.uk
The history of art history has often been a history of expatriate experiences. Already in the sixteenth century, Van Mander not only read Vasari, but traveled to Italy. The influence of time spent abroad continues to shape the discipline as seen in the peripatetic careers of Okwui Enwezor or T. J. Clark. In intervening centuries, Italy in particular attracted Winkelmann, Burckhardt, Ruskin, Berenson, and many others. From the later nineteenth century, art historians began traveling farther afield, as seen in Warburg’s 1895–96 trip to New Mexico or Sirén’s 1918 visit to Asia. Later, Panofsky, Gombrich, and others fled National Socialism in Europe, with their subsequent writings inevitably affected by their expatriate status. This session explores how such experiences have shaped art history, both what has been studied (or ignored) and how. Proposals on individual scholars, particular approaches or travel to specific countries/regions from Early Modern times to the present are welcome.

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Harems Imagined and Real
Heather Madar, Humboldt State University, Art Department,
1 Harpst St., Arcata, CA, 95521; Heather.Madar@humboldt.edu
The eroticized odalisque is a familiar cliché of Orientalist art. The harem of the Ottoman sultans in particular was much mythologized by Western Europeans, creating a lurid popular image rife with misconceptions. The harem became a key trope of Orientalist thought, encapsulating European perceptions of the decadent, despotic yet desirable East. Images of the harem produced by nineteenth-century Orientalist artists are well known. Yet harem imagery both predates and postdates the time frame of canonical Orientalist art; it was produced by both internal and external observers and, in some cases, by and for women. This panel seeks to critique harem imagery and harem discourse, and to reconsider the sociopolitical freight of harem imagery and the symbolic significance born by depictions of women’s bodies and spaces gendered as female. Papers that examine lesser-known works, including imagery from outside the nineteenth century, depictions of less commonly represented harems, and images by women artists or indigenous representations, are particularly invited.

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Artists, Architects, Libraries, and Books, 1400–1800
Sarah McPhee, Emory University, and Heather Hyde Minor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; bookscaa2013@gmail.com
Bernini possessed a manuscript of Galileo’s Mecchaniche and Marino’s poetry. Inigo Jones owned books by Plato and Plutarch. Jacques Lemercier collected 3,000 books, including the Koran; Velazquez had books on navigation and the planets. How are historians to understand the content of these libraries? What kinds of libraries did architects/artists assemble and how did they use them? How did their reading affect their art? Traditional approaches to these questions have followed a bibliographic method, equating the contents of books with the owner’s mind and considering individual volumes as sources in the creation of buildings or works of art. But this approach oversimplifies the historical reality of books and the ways people read them. Recently, the basic constituents of study—author, book, reader—have been revised; with this session we hope to gauge the current state of research. We seek papers that consider artists and architects as authors, readers, publishers, borrowers, and collectors of books.

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Interpreting Animals and Animality
Susan Merriam, Bard College; merriam@bard.edu
This session will focus on the representation of animals or animality in Western visual culture from about 1500 to the present. Since the publication of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation in 1975, animal studies has emerged as an important topic in the humanities. Historical studies, philosophy, and literature have increasingly devoted attention to the study of animals. Yet, arguably, animals are more important in the visual arts than in any field excepting anthropology or the environmental and biological sciences. The extent to which we believe things to be true about animals (that, for example, they think and feel in certain ways) has been informed by images; these beliefs, in turn, have important environmental and ethical consequences. Papers might examine anthropomorphism, or analyze how images of animals shape attitudes about human relationships and cultural practices. Aesthetics is another topic that might be addressed: What type of artistic techniques or compositional forms are used to convey information about animals? The concept of animality itself might also be considered.

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The Art of the Gift: Theorizing Objects in Early Modern Cross-Cultural Exchange
Nancy Um, Binghamton University, and Leah Clark, Saint Michael’s College; nancyum@binghamton.edu and leah.clark@mail.mcgill.ca
This panel focuses on the visual culture of gifts during the dynamic early modern era, when objects of exchange played an important role in burgeoning cross-cultural encounters, long-distance economic interactions, and diplomatic engagements. Its aim is to examine the unique contributions that art history may offer to the critical legacy of the gift, with its anthropological and sociological roots, such as a concern for the visuality of objects in motion, an interest in collecting and display, and an awareness of how objects of exchange may give rise to new social and artistic practices. The panel organizers encourage theoretically engaged papers that represent the broad geographic scope of the gift encounter, locate gifts in dynamic cross-cultural matrices of circulation and consumption, stake out territory within or in response to exchange theory, and/or consider the shifting and unstable meanings of objects as they changed hands across time and space.

Conference | Two Centuries of Mapping Washington, D.C.

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 15, 2012

From the Library of Congress:

Visualizing the Nation’s Capital: Two Centuries of Mapping Washington, D.C.
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 18-19 May 2012

“Plan of the City of Washington,” engraving, March 1792 (Wikimedia Commons)

Visualizing the Nation’s Capital: Two Centuries of Mapping Washington, D.C. is the first conference devoted to mapping the nation’s capital, covering the period from Pierre-Charles L’Enfant’s 1791 Plan of the City of Washington to the present. Participants include historians, archaeologists, building and landscape architects, urban planners, cartographers, geographers, land surveyors, Library of Congress specialists and Anthony Williams, the former mayor of Washington, D.C. The conference is presented by the Library and the Philip Lee Phillips Society, which was established in 1995 as an association of collectors, geographers, historians and map enthusiasts, with a shared interest in supporting and promoting the programs and activities of the Library’s Geography and Map Division. The conference is free and open
to the public. Reservations are needed; contact
SpecialEvents@loc.gov or call 202-707-1616.

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Friday, 18 May 2012 (Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building) (more…)

At Auction | Rare 1792 Silver Center Cent Coin

Posted in Art Market by Editor on April 14, 2012

A Heritage Auctions press release (5 April 2012), as noted at ArtDaily.com:

Heritage Auctions, Central States U.S. Coin Auction
Schaumburg, Illinois, 18-20 April 2012

Highest bid as of 13 April: $1,000,000

DALLAS – One of the most historic coins struck by the early U.S. Mint, a 1792 Judd-1 Silver Center cent pattern, MS61 Brown PCGS, headlines the Heritage Auctions April 2012 Central States Signature U.S. Coin Auction, April 18-20, with Platinum Night offerings on April 19.

“Our long-running relationship with the Central States Numismatic Society and conducting its annual convention’s official auction is alive and well,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage, “as is our tradition of bringing important rarities to those auctions. The 1792 Silver Center cent is tremendously important to the history of U.S. coinage – arguably far more so than a number of better-known and more celebrated rarities.”

The 1792 Silver Center cents were experimental pieces designed by Chief Coiner Henry Voigt to remedy a flaw in the Mint Act of 1792: the official weight for one cent coins would have made them too large and heavy for practical use. Voigt suggested a small silver plug, worth ¾ of a cent, surrounded by copper worth ¼ of a cent. The value of the metal would be the same, but the Silver Center cent was designed to be smaller and easier to handle. The Silver Center cents were the first coins struck on the grounds of the U.S. Mint, lending them great historical importance, but they never went into general production and are very rare today. Congress reduced the official weight of the cent instead, making an all-copper coin more practical. Heritage’s roster of Silver Center cents counts only 14 positively identified survivors. This Silver
Center cent, presented as An Offering From The Liberty Collection,
was used to illustrate the type in Walter Breen’s famous
Encyclopedia and is pictured in certain past editions of A Guide
Book of United States Coins,
popularly known as the “Red Book.” . . .

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Update (added 20 April 2012) — The coin sold for $1million (plus the 15% commission), as noted here»

Catherine Molineux on Visual Ethnography

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on April 14, 2012

Catherine Molineux | Visual Ethnography:  The Travelogue Illustration as a Site of Encounter
The Newberry Library, Chicago, 28 April 2012

Please join us Saturday, April 28, 2012, 2-4 pm for our Newberry Library Eighteenth-Century Seminar works-in-progress session with Catherine Molineux of Vanderbilt University.

Between the 1730s and 1780s, a French traveler’s tale about the coronation of a West African king circulated through France, England, and the Netherlands. Embedded in this description of Hueda rituals surrounding kingship was a story about European rivalry for the favor of a key African player in the Atlantic slave trade.  As this commercial drama played out in Europe through multiple retellings of the story, engravers transformed the single image that accompanied it, reworking  the original sketch into a full-color engraving. The illustration’s evolution tells a modern story about the role of the visual in securing imperial hierarchies threatened by the encounter with African sovereignty.

The Newberry Library Eighteenth-Century seminar is designed to foster research and inquiry across the scholarly disciplines in eighteenth-century studies.  It aims to provide a methodologically diverse forum for work that engages our ongoing discussions and debates along this historical and critical terrain.

Attendance at all events is free and open to the public but in order to receive the precirculated paper, participants are asked to register in advance by contacting the Center for Renaissance Studies at: renaissance@newberry.org. A reception follows each presentation. It is also the custom of the seminar to gather at a restaurant in the Newberry neighborhood to continue our conversation. If you would like to join us for dinner after any session, please email Lisa Freeman at lfreeman@uic.edu. For more information about the seminar, please visit our website. We welcome your attendance and participation at the seminar and look forward to continuing our lively discussions.

Timothy Campbell, University of Chicago
Lisa A. Freeman, University of Illinois at Chicago
John Shanahan, DePaul University
Helen Thompson, Northwestern University

Conference | Carrara Marble and the Low Countries

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 13, 2012

I’ve included only a selection of the sessions, generally as directly related to the eighteenth century, but the entire conference looks fascinating. For more information, consult the listing at H-ArtHist. -CH

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Carrara Marble and the Low Countries from the Late Middle Ages to  Today
Rome and Carrara, 4-8 June 2012

Registration due by 15 May 2012

Marble quarries above Carrara (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Organized by Academia Belgica, Roma; Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome; Université Libre de Bruxelles; Universiteit Gent; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; Université de Liège; Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels; Royal Museums of Fine-Arts of Belgium, Brussels; Nederlands Interuniversitair Kunsthistorisch Instituut, Firenze; The Low Countries Sculpture Society, Brussels

4-5 June 2012 (Monday and Tuesday morning)
Pre-Conference Study Days in Rome: The sculpted and painted decoration of galleries in Roman palaces and villas c.1500-1830
Please note that during the one-and-a-half days of  Pre-Conference Excursions we will be visiting embassies and other official residences that are rarely or never open to the public, but which may be closed at short notice for official functions. If this were the case, we might have to change the order of the individual visits or even attempt to substitute the cancelled visit with another. The provisional programme includes the galleries of : Raphael’s Villa Madama, Palazzo Farnese, Borromini’s Palazzo Pamphilj (Piazza Navona), Algardi’s Villa Doria-Pamphilj (Via Aurelia Antica), Museo Pio Clementino and Casino di Pio IV in the Vatican Gardens and the stone conservation workshops of the Vatican Museums.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Academia Belgica, Roma via Omero 8
14.30-15.00  Registration
15.00  Welcome by Ambassadors Vincent Mertens de Wilmars and Alphonsus Stoelinga (tbc), Prof Dr Walter Geerts, director of the Academia Belgica and Prof Dr Bernard Stolte, director of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome . . .

Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Academia Belgica, Roma via Omero 8
9.00  Registration
Session Three — The trade in Carrara marble to the Low Countries: local and international actors and strategies, and their impact on the design and production of luxury goods
9.30  Dr Cristiano Giometti, Università di Pisa, Marble merchants from the Low Countries in the early 18th century from the documents of the State Archives of Massa
10.00  Muriel Barbier, Institut National du Patrimoine, Paris, Carrara marble for French fireplaces delivered by Flemish marble masons in the 18th century
10.30  Prof Dr Krista De Jonge, Catholic University of Leuven, Luxury Artefacts: The Early Modern Low Countries and the Genoese Trading Network in Carrara Marble
11.00 Dr Francis Tourneur, Association Pierres et Marbres de Wallonie, Namur, Marble gleanings: commerce, design, production and techniques from Boussu to Corroy-le-Château
11.25  Discussion
11.40  Coffee
Session Four — The social prestige of Carrara marble vs. alabaster
12.00  Dr Aleksandra Lipi?ska, University of Wroclaw (PL), « Marbre blanc qu’on dit albastre. » Italian marble vs. Transalpine alabaster in 16th-century Low Countries sculpture
12.30  Géraldine Patigny, Université Libre de Bruxelles/Royal Institute of Cultural Heritage, Brussels, La place du marbre dans la sculpture à Bruxelles à l’époque de Jérôme Du Quesnoy père et fils
12.55  Discussion
13.10  Lunch
Session Five — Carrara marble as a vehicle for classical ideals
14.00  Dr Léon Lock, Catholic University of Leuven, The techniques of Carrara marble carving in Antwerp in the 17th century between tradition and innovation
14.30  Inger Groeneveld, Royal Academy of Arts, Den Haag, Carrara marble for the Dutch Interior 1600-1800
15.00  Dr Sophie Mouquin, Université de Lille III / Ecole du Louvre, Paris, Poetics, symbolism and science: The perception of Carrara marble in Paris and in the Low Countries in the 18th century
15.25  Discussion
15.40  Coffee
16.00  Dr Emile van Binnebeke, Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels, The theory and practice of Carrara marble sculpture by Gabriel and Godecharle
16.30  Wim Oers, WENK Sint-Lucas Brussels-Gent / University of Oxford, The use and meaning of Carrara marble sculptures and decorations at Schönenberg (the current royal palace at Laken), near Brussels, 1781-87 . . .

Exhibition | Lux in Arcana: The Vatican Secret Archives

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 12, 2012

Thanks to Hélène Bremer for drawing my attention to this exhibition in Rome. If only things revealed themselves! -CH

Lux in Arcana: The Vatican Secret Archives Reveals Itself
Musei Capitolini, Rome, 1 March — 9 September 2012

It will be the first and possibly the only time in history that they leave the confines of the Vatican City walls. And they will do so in order to be housed and displayed in the beautiful halls of the Capitoline Museums in Rome. One hundred original and priceless documents selected among the treasures preserved and cherished by the Vatican Secret Archives for centuries. The exhibition which is conceived for the 4th Centenary of the foundation of the Vatican Secret Archives aims at explaining and describing what the Pope’s archives are and how they work and, at the same time, at making the invisible visible, thus allowing access to some of the marvels enshrined in the Vatican Secret Archives’ 85 linear kilometers of shelving; records of an extraordinary historical value, covering a time-span that stretches from the 8th to the 20th century.

The name, Lux in arcana, conveys the exhibition’s main objective: the light piercing through the Archive’s innermost depths enlightens a reality which precludes a superficial knowledge and is only enjoyable by means of direct and concrete contact with the sources from the Archive, that opens the doors to the discovery of often unpublished history recounted in documents. The exhibition is enriched by multimedia installations, guided by an intriguing but rigorous historical narration, to allow the visitor to experience some famous events from the past and to “re-live” the documents, that will come to life with tales of the context and the people involved.

The 100 documents, chosen among manuscript codices, parchments, strings and registers, will remain at the Capitoline Museums for nearly seven months, from 1st March till September 2012. An extremely prestigious location, chosen to host this memorable event since it underlines the profound bond existing between the city of Rome and the Papacy since medieval times; the origins of both institutions involved in the event trace their roots back to Sixtus IV’s artistic sensibility; however, at the same time, the history enshrined in the Vatican Secret Archives is intertwined with the history of Italy, Europe and the World as a whole.

The Vatican Secret Archives represent a cultural world heritage centered in the city of Rome; for this very reason the exhibition has been conceived in cooperation with Roma Capitale, Assessorato alle Politiche Culturali e Centro Storico – Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma and Zètema Progetto Cultura. This memorable exhibition is already creating great expectations, fuelled by the mysterious fascination that the Vatican Secret Archives generate in the collective imagination. All of the above will make Lux in arcana – The Vatican Secret Archives reveals itself an event of unprecedented scientific and media importance.

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An eighteenth-century sample from the exhibition:

A Note from Prison by Marie Antoinette of France, ca. 1792-93

The feelings of those who share my sorrow, my dear brother-in-law, are the only consolation I can receive in this sad circumstance. Please receive my wishes for the new year and reassurance of my sincere devotion, that I am, my dearest brother-in-law, your affectionate sister-in-law and cousin Marie Antoinette.

A note with no date, just over ten lines in French, written in a clear and tidy script on a small sheet of paper, signed by the last queen of France. The contents of this dispirited message that bears no official character suggest it may have been written during one of the gloomiest periods in Marie Antoinette’s existence: between December 1792 and January 1793, just after the revolutionary tribunal’s death sentence against her husband Louis XVI, desacralized as “Citoyen Louis Capet”, and just before his execution on January 19, 1793. Marie Antoinette was held prisoner with all the royal family at the Tour du Temple, an ancient fortress built by the knights Templar in the 13th century. Anxious over her husband’s dire fate and certainly foreseeing her own death, the queen wrote this message to an unknown recipient, possibly Louis XVI’s brother, Charles Philippe, count of Artois and future king Charles X of France. Ten months after this note’s supposed date, Marie Antoinette’s curse fate unfolded: early on October 16, 1793, she was taken to the guillotine on a squalid barrow . . .

The full entry is available here (click on the letter on the far right side, second from the top).

French Porcelain Society Conference Honors Rosalind Savill

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 11, 2012

From The French Porcelain Society’s website:

A Two-Day Symposium in Honour of Dame Rosalind Savill
The Wallace Collection, London, 13-14 April 2012

Symposium Organisers: John Whitehead, Susan Newell, Patricia Ferguson and Mia Jackson

The French Porcelain Society is delighted to announce a two-day symposium to be held in honour of our President, Dame Rosalind Savill. Ros became a star of French decorative arts with the publication of her ground-breaking 3 volume Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain in the Wallace Collection in 1988. Her career as a museum curator started at the Victoria & Albert Museum and continued at the Wallace where she served for 37 years, the last 19 as Director. The symposium is a tribute to her dedication to Sèvres porcelain research and her enjoyment and enthusiasm for the French decorative arts in general. New research on a wide range of subjects relating to French porcelain and the decorative arts will be presented by around 30 speakers – a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of those currently involved in these fields including:

Andreina d’Agliano, Antoine d’Albis, Vincent Bastien, Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue, Anthony du Boulay, Juliet Carey, Yves Carlier, Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, Aileen Dawson, Virginie Desrante, Claire Dumortier, Oliver Fairclough, Alden Gordon, Michael Hall, Ulla Houjkaer, Catrin Jones, Bet McLeod, Errol Manners, Jeffrey Munger, Tamara Préaud, Christophe de Quénétain, Marie-Laure de Rochebrune, Pamela Roditi, Linda Roth, Adrian Sassoon, Dame Rosalind Savill, Timothy Schroder, Christoph Vogtherr and Samuel Witwer.

The first day’s proceedings will be followed by an evening Reception in the upstairs galleries, and on Saturday 14th there is a celebratory Dinner in the Wallace Collection restaurant. For members only, on Sunday 15th, there is an Outing to Boughton. The symposium is open to members and non-members of The French Porcelain Society. Bursaries are available for scholars who wish to attend.

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P R O G R A M M E (more…)

Call for Essays | Interpeting Sexual Violence, 1660-1800

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 11, 2012

Interpreting Sexual Violence, 1660-1800
Volume Editor: Anne Greenfield, Valdosta State University

Abstracts due by 15 May 2012

Sexual violence was a favorite subject of many (long) eighteenth-century writers, artists, and thinkers. This collection seeks to examine the conflicting, intersecting, and shared ideologies within representations of sexual violence over the course of the long eighteenth century. Since depictions of sexual violence appeared in various forms and in a variety of genres, papers examining sexual violence in one or more venues between 1660 and 1800 are welcome.

Please submit to the editor a 250-500 word abstract, along with a biographical statement (indicating your affiliation, prior publications, and contact information) by May 15, 2012. If accepted, a final version of the paper (6,000-8,000 words) would be needed by fall 2012 (details to follow). Inquiries and questions may be directed to Anne Greenfield, algreenfield@valdosta.edu.

New Title | James Wyatt, 1746-1813: Architect to George III

Posted in books by Editor on April 10, 2012

From Yale UP:

John Martin Robinson, James Wyatt, 1746-1813: Architect to George III (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2012), 400 pages, ISBN: 9780300176902, $75.

James Wyatt (1746–1813) is widely recognized as the most celebrated and prolific English architect of the 18th century. At the start of his lengthy career, Wyatt worked on designs for the Oxford Street Pantheon’s neo-Classical interior as well as Dodington, the Graeco-Roman house that served as the model for the Regency country house. Wyatt was the first truly eclectic and historicist architect, employing several versions of Classical and Gothic styles with great facility while also experimenting in Egyptian, Tudor, Turkish, and Saxon modes. His pioneering Modern Gothic marked him as an innovator, and his unique neo-Classical designs were influenced by his links with the Midlands Industrial Revolution and his Grand Tour education.

This groundbreaking book sheds new light on modern architectural and design history by interweaving studies of Wyatt’s most famous works with his fascinating life narrative. This masterly presentation covers the complex connections formed by his web of wealthy patrons and his influence on both
his contemporaries and successors.

John Martin Robinson is an independent architectural historian. He is a partner in Historic Buildings Consultants, Librarian to the Duke of Norfolk, Maltravers Herald Extraordinary and Vice Chairman of the Georgian Group. He is a regular architectural contributor to Country Life and the author of numerous books.

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