Trying to Think Seriously about Pinterest, Part 2

Posted in opportunities, site information by Editor on January 17, 2013

From the Editor
Open Position: Clerk of the Pinterest Boards

Silivered brass pins, 1620-1800 (London: V&A Museum, given by R. J. Andrews, #123D-1900)

Silivered brass pins, 1620-1800 (London: V&A Museum, given by R. J. Andrews, #123D-1900) Pinned to Cheryl Leigh’s Pinterest Board, 18th-Century Accessories

Last May I invited Enfilade readers to consider how Pinterest might be put to better use for scholars of the eighteenth century. Over the past few months, I’ve grown even more bullish, optimistic about the potential utility of pinning images with texts (organized under headings) and then distributing those pins via a social network (recent stats for Pinterest usage are available here). Pinterest Business accounts were launched in November, and while these may not be precisely the model for establishing scholarly credibility, the offering suggests Pinterest may slowly be growing up. If art historians are well placed to say what’s wrong with most of what happens on Pinterest, it seems to me we might also start contributing models for making a tool like this work better.

For all of these reasons, I’m now accepting applications for a volunteer position I’ve dubbed Clerk of the Pinterest Boards. I’m especially interested in exploring the following problems:

• How and to what extent might Pinterest be used in the production of knowledge, particularly in terms of collecting information (visual and textual information) and presenting that information together?

• How can we make a Pinterest board into something more than merely a collection of ‘pretty’ pictures?

• Are there things Pinterest could do that other digital formats (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, &c.) don’t do or don’t do well?

• How might we increase broad interest in the art and architecture of the eighteenth century via Pinterest?

I’m envisioning this position as extremely flexible and open-ended. As an experiment, it should probably run for at least a year, but the amount of work should be minimal to modest, perhaps an hour or two each week. For the best candidates, you’re probably already spending this much time on exactly the kinds of searches the positions would require; I just need you to start pinning those results and giving some thought to larger questions of organization and goals.

To apply, please send a message of interest and a recent CV to me at CraigAshleyHanson@gmail.com. As always, comments and feedback are welcome.

— Craig Hanson

P.S. — If this talk of pins brings to mind Adam Smith’s example of a “trifling manufacture,” all the better; you’re in the right place.

Exhibition | Italian Tradition of the Quadreria

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 17, 2013

Now on view at Sperone Westwater:

A Picture Gallery in the Italian Tradition of the Quadreria, 1750-1850
Sperone Westwater, New York, 10 January — 23 February 2013

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Francesco Celebrano, Luncheon in the Countryside, 102 x 69 in (260 x 175 cm), ca 1770-80 (New York: Sperone Westwater)

In collaboration with Galleria Carlo Virgilio, Rome, Sperone Westwater is pleased to present A Picture Gallery in the Italian Tradition of the Quadreria, 1750-1850. The exhibition showcases 29 paintings and drawings, all in the Italian figurative tradition, by various European masters created between the mid-18th and mid-19th century.

The exhibition aims to evoke the manner in which collections – known as quadrerie – were formed in Italy in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the way in which they were displayed, covering entire walls of the palazzo that housed them. This criterion predates the modern picture gallery, which follows a more scientific idea of classification derived from Illuminism. In addition to satisfying decorative motivations, the arrangement of works within a Quadreria followed the collector’s personal taste, with pictures hung according to related subjects or artistic genres.

Most of the works on view have never been exhibited or published, although many of them are widely documented in literary sources of the time. Firmly grounded in research, the exhibition presents significant works – masterpieces in some cases – by artists who are not widely known beyond specialist academic circles, but who nonetheless have played a key role in art history, with a view to illustrating the progress that research in Italy has made over the past thirty years.

The catalogue accompanying the exhibition groups the works according to artistic or iconographic genre, first with a series of portraits that offer insight into society of the time, followed by history and figure painting – considered the noblest artistic genre in the neoclassical academy tradition – and lastly, landscapes, to illustrate the phenomenon of the Grand Tour with Classical ruins and popular views.

Among the works in the exhibition is a painting by Francesco Celebrano shows members of the aristocracy having a luncheon on a country estate. This painting exemplifies the ancien régime and was likely intended as a model for a tapestry destined for the Neapolitan court. A portrait by Matilde Malechini portrays a French baroness in Rome during the Napoleonic occupation, while Giuseppe Tominz offers an austere, full-length portrait of a member of the new bourgeoisie in Trieste, the founder of the Assicurazioni Generali. The academy nude studies of Francesco Monti and Placido Fabris are followed by two demanding depictions of episodes from Classical history by Gaspare Landi and Pelagio Palagi – influential figures in the artistic circles of Rome and Milan.

The visionary reconstructions of Antiquity in the colored drawings by Giovan Battista Dell’Era counterbalance the series of sentimental mythological evocations by Friedrich Rehberg, Natale Carta and Henry Tresham, who presented his large painting, Sleeping Nymph and Cupid, to the Royal Academy of London in 1797. This section culminates in the romantic Renaissance literary subject by Francesco Podesti. A significant counter-revolutionary allegory by August Nicodemo shows the Dauphin at the tomb of his father, Louis XVI, while another large-format allegory by Francesco Caucig depicts the sentiment/malaise of melancholy with its remedies from Classical medicine.

After the sublime Biblical subject by François Gérard, the monochrome by Bernardino Nocchi of a sculpture by Canova, there follows a series of views of famous buildings of the time such as Hubert Robert’s interior of Palazzo Farnese at Caprarola, and of Classical ruins like the Temple of Diana at Baia in the capriccio by Carlo Bonavia. Two aristocratic travelers admire ruins in the paintings by Andrea Appiani, while an aqueduct is featured in the Roman campagna by Beniamino de Francesco. Volcanoes are the subject of two large-scale paintings by Pierre-Jacques Volaire and Carlo de Paris – the 1771 eruption of the Vesuvius in the Volaire, a virtuoso study of the effects of light caused by the glow of the lava, with lightning and the glare of the moon illuminating the panorama towards Naples and Ischia in the distance. The second volcano is the Pico de Orizaba in Mexico, in a work by a Roman school artist who attempted to document the native customs of Mexico and the grandiose and unspoiled landscapes of that country prior to the imminent transformations that would be brought by civilization. In contrast to this work, there is Antonio Basoli, who produced numerous imaginary views without almost ever leaving his native Bologna.

Curated by Stefano Grandesso, Gian Enzo Sperone and Carlo Virgilio, the exhibition has been produced in collaboration with Galleria Carlo Virgilio in Rome, a gallery that specializes in international art in Italy over the 18th and 19th centuries.

A fully illustrated catalogue will be published on occasion of this exhibition. The book includes an introduction by Joseph J. Rishel, the Gisela and Dennis Alter Senior Curator of European Painting before 1900 and Senior Curator of the John G Johnson Collection and the Rodin Museum, and scholarly entries by Emilie Beck Saiello, J. Patrice Marandel, Fernando Mazzocca, Ksenija Rozman and Nicola Spinosa.

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