Enfilade

The Burlington Magazine, October 2013

Posted in journal articles, reviews by Editor on October 26, 2013

The eighteenth century in The Burlington:

The Burlington Magazine 155 (October 2013)

1327_201310_1A R T I C L E S

• Simon Lee, “A Newly Discovered Portrait of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David,” pp. 687–92.

Discusses the various versions of David’s portrait of the emperor, including a previously unknown example.

R E V I E W S

• François Marandet, Review of Karen Chastagnol, Nicolas Colombel, 1644–1717 (Editions Nicolas Chaudun, 2012), p. 711.

Painting in France at the end of Louis XIV’s reign has for many years been regarded as the precursor of the Rococo era. Charles de La Fosse’s aimables figures anticipate Antoine Watteau’s world of the fêtes galantes, who himself was the precursor of the peintre des grâces François Boucher. One of the merits of the exhibition devoted to Nicolas Colombel recently at the Musées des Beaux-Arts, Rouen (closed 24th February), was to demonstrate that the story of history painting c. 1700 was much more complex. Karen Chastagnol, curator of the exhibition, rightly insists on the direct link between early eighteenth-century French artists and the art of Poussin: as well as François Verdier, René-Antoine Houasse and Daniel Sarrabat, to which could be added the names of Sébastien II Leclerc of Henri de Favanne. . .

• Willibald Sauerländer, Review of Guilhem Scherf and Séverine Darroussat, Jean-Jacques Rousseau et son image sculptée, 1778–1798 (Paris: Varia, 2012), pp. 711–12.

The iconography of the grands hommes des Lumières has become a fashionable topic. In 1994 Guilhem Scherf wrote an important essay on the iconographie sculptée of Voltaire; now he has added a substantial text on Jean-Jacques Rousseau et la Révolution: Les avatars d’une representation sculptée. . .

• Robin Middleton, Review of John Martin Robinson, James Wyatt, 1746–1813: Architect to George II (London: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2012), pp. 712–13.

The range and diversity of James Wyatt’s designing, the sheer number of buildings with which he was involved (the Catalogue of Works lists 283 sites) makes any attempt to chart his career a task of the utmost difficulty. Anthony Dale’s pioneering but nonetheless solid account of Wyatt’s career is, however, quite overtaken by John Martin Robinson’s new book. Dates and attributions are sharpened. The nature of the ordnance work is fully revealed — all quite decent. But the most significant revelations are contained in the chapter on Wyatt’s activity as an industrial and furniture designer. . .

• Ann Massing, Review of Noémie Etienne, La Restauration des peintures à Paris, 1750–1815: Pratiques et discours sur la matérialité des œuvres d’art (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2012), p. 713.

The period before and after the French Revolution in Paris was one of enormous change and, due to the French centralised administration, the French National Archives and the AMN (Archives des musées nationaux) are a fertile source of information for one of the most interesting periods of the history of painting restoration — when the King’s painters became professional art restorers. Noémie Etienne’s book contributes much to our knowledge of this fascinating period. Her archival research encompasses not only the rich resources in Paris, but also those in Rome, Venice, Madrid, Antwerp and Brussels. Her approach is mainly based on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century written sources, and the wealth of information she has culled is presented not as a chronological series of events but by theme. . .

• Shearer West, Review of Marcia Pointon, Portrayal and the Search for Identity (London: Reaktion, 2013), p. 714.

Marcia Pointon has a distinguished record of scholarly publication about portraiture, since Hanging the Head (1993) revolutionised and enlivened a historiography that had somewhat fallen in the doldrums. There are few historians of British art who have not been inspired by her nimble imagination, unexpected visual analysis and deep intellectual engagement with her textual and visual sources past and present. Her latest collection of essays on portraiture will not disappoint her admirers, although the more dazzling parts of her analysis are intertwined with sections that have the flavour of a work in progress . . .

• Rüdiger Joppien, Review of Olivier Lefeuvre, Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg (Paris: Athena, 2012), pp. 714–15.

. . . The catalogue raisonné is of exceptional value, and lies at the very heart of the book, . . . [which] gives a splendid account of Loutherbourg’s career as a painter, as well as a thoroughly documented, reliable idea of his artistic output. That this monograph could be published so fully and handsomely is due to the assistance of the Athena publishing house. Its appearance coincided with the retrospective exhibition devoted to the artist at the Musée de Beaux-Arts in Strausbourg (17th November 2012 to 18th February 2013), which the author organized. Both the book and the exhibition are indicative of the esteem in which France still holds the artist, even though he worked less than ten years in Paris and almost forty years in London.

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