New Book | Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth

Posted in books by Editor on February 28, 2014

Published in December by Princeton UP:

Malcolm Bull, Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth: Vico and Neapolitan Painting (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), 160 pages, ISBN: 978-0691138848, $25 / £17.

k10123Can painting transform philosophy? In Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth, Malcolm Bull looks at Neapolitan art around 1700 through the eyes of the philosopher Giambattista Vico. Surrounded by extravagant examples of late Baroque painting by artists like Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena, Vico concluded that human truth was a product of the imagination. Truth was not something that could be observed: instead, it was something made in the way that paintings were made–through the exercise of fantasy.

Juxtaposing paintings and texts, Bull presents the masterpieces of late Baroque painting in early eighteenth-century Naples from an entirely new perspective. Revealing the close connections between the arguments of the philosophers and the arguments of the painters, he shows how Vico drew on both in his influential philosophy of history, The New Science. Bull suggests that painting can serve not just as an illustration for philosophical arguments, but also as the model for them–that painting itself has sometimes been a form of epistemological experiment, and that, perhaps surprisingly, the Neapolitan Baroque may have
been one of the routes through which modern consciousness
was formed.

Malcolm Bull is university lecturer in fine art at the University of
Oxford. His previous books include Anti-Nietzsche, The Mirror
of the Gods
, and Seeing Things Hidden.


1. Vico
2. Icastic Painting
3. Fantastic Painting
4. Theological Painting

Call for Participation | Technologies of Turning

Posted in graduate students, opportunities by Editor on February 28, 2014

From the Call for Participation:

Technologies of Turning: An Exploration of Making and Meaning
Harvard University, 20–22 May 2014

Applications due by 18 March 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.16.36 AMOrganized by Jennifer L. Roberts (Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University) and Ethan W. Lasser (Margaret S. Winthrop Associate Curator of American Art, Harvard Art Museums)

Eligibility: Current graduate students in any discipline; space is limited to nine students.

This workshop is the second in a new annual series focusing on processes of making in the fine, decorative, and industrial arts. The workshops will bring together faculty, artists, museum professionals, and graduate students for demonstrations, hands-on exercises, and discussion. Each day will combine instruction in historic techniques with the close analysis of related historic objects. One of the features that will differentiate this workshop from others like it is that it will include time for extensive discussion about the merits of bringing technical and artisanal knowledge into the historical and interpretive disciplines in a conceptually rigorous way. Rather than focus on a specific medium or type of object, each workshop is organized around a single species of physical operation that cuts across multiple media and can also be evocatively transposed into cultural and theoretical dimensions.

This year we will concentrate on “turning.” From the lathe to the spindle to the potter’s wheel to the turntable, rotational dynamics sit at the heart of multiple mechanical and artisanal practices. The workshop will trace processes of turning through pottery throwing, textile production, and media playback and projection. What modes of thinking and approaches to materials link these processes? How have makers across time conceptualized working “in the round” and how might such modes of embodied making inform our understanding of the creative process? What are the implications of turning’s intricate relationship to control in artisanal and industrial settings? How does turning engage with problems in programming, tacit knowledge, and automation?

Each participant will be expected to complete a short list of preliminary readings and to attend all portions of the workshop. The workshop is organized by Americanists and will focus primarily on American material, but students in all fields are encouraged to apply. Lodging for four nights and most meals will be provided for selected participants. Participants will be responsible for supporting their own travel to and from Cambridge.

Send a CV and a short statement explaining your reasons for wishing to participate in the workshop to both roberts6@fas.harvard.edu and elasser@fas.harvard.edu by March 18, 2014, 5pm. Selected participants will be notified by March 25. Space in this workshop will be limited to nine students.

Sponsored by the American Art Workshop Fund and the Department of American Art, Harvard Art Museums

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

T U E S D A Y ,  2 0  M A Y  2 0 1 4 — C E R A M I C S

Demonstration and hands-on studio session, Harvard Ceramics Studio (Allston, MA)
Handling session with historic material
Debriefing and reflection

W E D N E S D A Y ,  2 1  M A Y  2 0 1 4 — T E X T I L E S

Demonstration and hands-on session with early machinery, American Textile History Museum (Lowell, MA)
Handling session with historic material
Debriefing and reflection

T H U R S D A Y ,  2 2  M A Y  2 01 4 — M E D I A

Demonstration and hands-on session, Harvard Film Archive
Final debriefing, workshop conclusion

Exhibition | Anglo-American Portraiture in an Era of Revolution

Posted in exhibitions, museums by Editor on February 27, 2014

From the Louvre:

Anglo-American Portraiture in an Age of Revolution
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1 February — 28 April 2014
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 17 May — 15 September 2014
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 28 September 2014 — 18 January 2015

Curated by Guillaume Faroult


Attributed to Charles Wilson Peale, George Washington after the Battle of Princeton, 3 January 1777, ca. 1779 (National Museum of the Palace of Versailles and the Trianons)

The Louvre continues its exploration of the history of painting in America with a third special exhibition that compares and contrasts five Anglo-American portraits from 1780 to 1800 and slightly later, produced in the midst of a revolution that would lead to the independence and creation of the United States of America. The selected artworks revolve around the guardian and emblematic figure of General George Washington (1732–1799), elected first president of the United States in 1789.

The exhibition features three portraits of the Father of the Country, including one attributed to Charles Wilson Peale (1741–1827) depicting him as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, on special loan from the Musée du Château de Versailles. Portraits of the opposing belligerents, notably a stunning, newly restored portrait of Captain Robert Hay of Spot by Scottish painter Sir Henry Raeburn (1756–1823), are presented in response to the magnificent portrait of Washington as president of the young nation painted in 1797 by Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828)—one of the most talented American portrait artists—on loan from the Crystal Bridges Museum.

This special exhibition is part of a long-term partnership with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the Terra Foundation for American Art, and was made possible through their generous support.

Digital Plans at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Posted in museums by Editor on February 27, 2014

Press release (12 February 2014) from the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina:

Joseph Blackburn, Portrait of Elizabeth Browne Rogers, 1761, oil on canvas (Reynolda House Museum of American Art)

Joseph Blackburn, Portrait of Elizabeth Browne Rogers, 1761, oil on canvas (Reynolda House Museum of American Art)

As metropolitan museums across the country begin to focus personnel resources on digital content and new media strategies, Reynolda House Museum of American Art has created a new position to develop the extension of the museum’s desired impact and mission to an online audience. Trish Oxford has been named Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications, a position that will focus on the evolving need for digital communications. In this role she will create synergy between on-site experiences and virtual experiences through management of the Museum’s new website, email, social media, and other digital platforms. Oxford will also work closely with the curatorial staff to explore ways to enhance the visitor experience. She first joined the museum part-time in 2012 as Audience Engagement and Communications Specialist.

Oxford’s new position is part of a larger Reynolda House initiative called the Digital Engagement Project launched in 2010 with the digitizing of the museum’s collections. The federally funded project included cataloging each object in the museum’s collections, redesigning the museum’s website to facilitate access to collections, and creating new opportunities for people to interact with the museum online. Allison Perkins, Reynolda House executive director, said in her new position Oxford will invite museum visitors, online and in-person, to contribute their own interpretations and ideas, making all interactions with Reynolda House more impactful. (more…)

Historic New England 2014

Posted in opportunities by Editor on February 27, 2014

From Historic New England:

Program in New England Studies
16–21 June 2014

Each year, Historic New England presents the Program in New England Studies, an intensive learning experience with lectures by curators and architectural historians, workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours of Historic New England’s properties and collections, as well as of other museums and private homes in the region.

Program in New England Studies examines New England history and material culture from the seventeenth century through the Colonial Revival, and delves into building design and technology, and the wide-ranging lifestyles illustrated by the historic sites on the itinerary. The program is designed to appeal to owners of historic houses, collectors, museum professionals, graduate students, and those who enjoy New England history, and is limited to twenty-five participants.

More information, including an itinerary, is available here»

2014 Summer Institute in Technical Art History for PhD Students

Posted in graduate students by Editor on February 27, 2014

From the Institute of  Fine  Art’s Conservation  Center:

2014 Summer Institute in Technical Art History for Doctoral Students in Art History
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 9–20 June 2014

Applications due by 24 March 2014

The Summer Institute in Technical Art History (SITAH) is an intensive two-week course, geared towards PhD candidates in art history who are looking to delve more deeply into technical studies. Students are immersed into the world of technical art history and conservation of works of art, with faculty ranging from conservators to conservation scientists, curators, art historians, and artists. The course takes full advantage of the wonderful resources of New York City, and many sessions are held in local conservation labs, where attendees have the opportunity to closely examine works of art with experts in the field. Off-site visits also include artists’ studios, museum permanent collections, and, where relevant, special exhibitions and galleries. A priority is placed on case studies and discussions, and students are encouraged to build relationships within the group, in the hopes of enriching their own research.

The Artist’s Book: Materials and Processes

A good understanding of material aspects of works of art is becoming increasingly important to art historical studies. The Artist’s Book is a two-week, intensive seminar that examines how technical art history might simultaneously clarify and complicate established art historical narratives of this important art form. The program will focus on works from the modern era, and will consider a variety of different formats. These might include: traditional letterpress printed books, deconstructed texts and book blocks, artists’ photo books, and other unique works. Bound volumes, as well as forms like scrolls, fold-outs, concertinas, loose leaves kept in boxes, and e-books may all be examined. This topic will allow us to explore the intersections of book construction, photography, printmaking, and graphic design within the context of literature, both experimental and traditional.

Under the direction of Professors Constance Woo (Long Island University) and Michele Marincola (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University), participants will study with distinguished conservators, book artists, scholars and master craftspeople. We will consider specific artworks as case studies, examine materiality and process through close looking and recreation of techniques and processes, and create a book in the studio. Participants will ascertain how these methodologies materially and theoretically inform their own diverse research interests. This seminar will provide a forum to develop critical skills in the interpretation of object-based analyses related to the scholarship of artist’s books.

Generously funded by the Mellon Foundation, the seminar will be held at the Institute of  Fine Art’s Conservation  Center,  with  selected  sessions  at  area libraries, artist  studios  and  in  the conservation labs of New York City’s leading museums.

Eligibility and Application Process
Students currently enrolled in or completing a doctoral program in the US and Canada are eligible to apply. No background in science or conservation is required. A maximum of fifteen participants will be admitted to the program. Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of their academic accomplishment to date and on their expressed interest in integrating technical art history into their own research.

Applicants should submit  a  cover  letter addressed to Professor Michele Marincola, Sherman Fairchild Chairman of the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU; a statement  of  purpose of interest in integrating technical art history into their research; a letter of support from their advisor that addresses their academic standing and their interest in the topic; and an academic and professional CV. The application deadline is March 24, 2014. Please submit applications in electronic format to: Sarah Barack, course coordinator, sb340@nyu.edu.

Participants will receive housing (single room occupancy) and stipends of $1,300 to help defray travel and living costs. For further information, please contact: Professor Michele Marincola at 212-992-5849,email: michele.marincola@nyu.edu.

New Book | Johann Paul Egell, 1691–1752

Posted in books by Editor on February 26, 2014

From Imhof Verlag (and available at Artbooks.com). . .

Stefanie Michaela Leibetseder, Johann Paul Egell (1691–1752), Der kurpfälzische Hofbildhauer und die Hofkunst seiner Zeit: Skulptur – Ornament – Relief (Petersberg: Imhof, 2013), 176 pages, ISBN: 978-3865688514, 39€ / $75.

51LDiaKukhL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Der kurpfälzische Hofbildhauer Paul Egell (1691–1752) zählt zu den bedeutendsten Bildhauern Deutschlands im 18. Jahrhunderts. Wie kein anderer Bildhauer der Zeit markiert sein Werk den Paradigmenwechsel zwischen den italienisch geprägten Traditionen des Barock und der französisch geprägten Formensprache des Rokoko. Das Buch spürt anhand exemplarischer Werke erstmals den Entstehungsbedingungen von Egells Werk nach. Im Mittelpunkt stehen sein Beitrag zum Nymphenbad des Dresdner Zwingers sowie die Skulpturen und Stuckaturen, die er für die kurpfälzische Residenz in Mannheim schuf. Es wird die ikonografische Tradition untersucht, in der sich Egell bewegte, und aufgezeigt, dass dessen Schaffen bereits sehr früh die Kunst der Régence in Frankreich rezipierte. Damit wird zum einen die Grundlage für eine differenziertere Einschätzung von Egells Œuvre gelegt, zum anderen werden Anregungen für die Auseinandersetzung mit anderen Bildhauern des deutschen Rokoko gegeben.

Conference | Maritime Culture in the Age of J. M. W. Turner

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on February 26, 2014

Next month at Greenwich:

Maritime Culture and Britain in the Age of J.M.W. Turner
Royal Museums Greenwich, London, 21–22 March 2014

Registration due by 20 March 2014

J.M.W. Turner, The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805, 1822–24, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

To coincide with a major exhibition of the work of J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851), Royal Museums Greenwich is hosting an interdisciplinary conference exploring the cultural impact of the sea in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Turner and the Sea is the first full-scale examination of the artist’s lifelong preoccupation with the sea, and features many of his most celebrated works, from his transformative Academy paintings of the late 1790s and early 1800s to the unfinished, experimental seascapes he produced towards the end of his life. The exhibition offers the opportunity to discover the myriad ways in which Turner responded to the maritime art—past and contemporary—while challenging his audiences with new ways of representing the sea. The conference aims to locate Turner’s seascapes within a broader maritime context, and explore the cultural and political significance of the sea during his lifetime.

Conference fee: £100 (concessionary rate £90). Including Friday evening reception and private view of the Turner and the Sea exhibition. To book tickets contact Lizelle de Jager on 020 8312 6716, research@rmg.co.uk.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

F R I D A Y ,  2 1  M A R C H  2 0 1 4

10.30  Registration and refreshments

11.00  Session 1
• ‘Now for the painter’: Turner and the Sea at Greenwich: Richard Johns (University of York)
• ‘Commercial care and busy toil’: Turner’s Image of Downriver Thames: Geoff Snell (National Maritime Museum and University of Sussex)
• Turner, the Mouth of the Thames and Commerce: Leo Costello (Rice University, Texas)

12.30  Lunch

14.00  Session 2
• Craft and Labour in John Ruskin’s Romantic Tradition: ‘The Harbours of England’: Carmen Casaliggi (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
• Nautical Zombies: Death and the Undead in Romantic Maritime Literature: James Robertson (University of Leeds)

15.00  Coffee and tea

15.30  Session 3
• Sperm, Blood, Blubber, Bone, Oil and Water: the 19th-Century Visual and Literary (Sub)Cultures of Whaling: Jason Edwards (University of York)
• Turner’s Abstraction and the Culture of Steam Power in the Ships of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company: Jonathan Stafford (Kingston University)

16.45  Keynote
• Stephen Deuchar (The Art Fund)

17.45  Reception and private view of Turner and the Sea

S A T U R D A Y ,  2 2  M A R C H  2 0 1 4

8.45  Pre-conference discussion in Turner and the Sea exhibition

9.45  Coffee and tea

10.00  Session 4
• ‘Baptism of the Waves’: Vernet, Turner and the Near-Death Experience: Melanie Vandenbrouck (Royal Museums Greenwich)
• Literal or Littoral? Constable’s Representations of the Sea: Annie Lyles (independent scholar)
• Perceptions, Practice, Association: Turner and Stanfield: Pieter van der Merwe (Royal Museums Greenwich)

11.30  Coffee and tea

12.00  Session 5
• Carthage, Venice and Holland: Turner, British Identity and the Sea Powers of the Past: Andrew Lambert (King’s College, London)
• ‘One haunting conception’? Turner’s ‘Trafalgar’ Paintings: Christine Riding (Royal Museums Greenwich)

13.00  Lunch (from 13.45 to 14.30 a curatorial talk will take place in the Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery by James Davey, Royal Museums Greenwich)

14.45  Session 6
• Glorious Firsts! Turner, War and British Marine Painting: Eleanor Hughes (Yale Center for British Art)
• Relegation or Patriotic Promotion: a Reconsideration of George IV’s Donation of Turner’s Battle of Trafalgar to the National Gallery of Naval Art: Cicely Robinson (National Maritime Museum and University of York)
• The Sailor in the Gallery: Representing the Reception of Maritime Art: Catherine Roach (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Call for Papers | Creatures of Comfort, 1650–1950

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on February 26, 2014

Rienzi’s 15th Anniversary Symposium | Creatures of Comfort, 1650–1950
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 19–21 September 2014

Proposals due by 1 May 2014

Rienzi, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s house museum for European decorative arts, celebrates its 15th anniversary as a public collection with the symposium, Creatures of Comfort, 1650–1950. By examining the period from 1650 to 1950, how and why did the concept of comfort evolve and become an important part of European and American cultures? What objects, inventions, aesthetic or cultural changes improved ones’ physical or emotional well-being simply by making life more comfortable?

Rienzi houses a significant European collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture, porcelain, and silver from the mid-17th to mid-19th centuries. Built in 1953 as a residence and now a house museum, Rienzi evokes the fine European country houses of the 18th century with formal, yet comfortable, furnishings, entertaining and private spaces, and rooms specifically designed for the enjoyment of family and friends. Rienzi also retains many modern amenities such as central air conditioning, a dishwasher, an elevator and other luxurious essentials that defined the ultimate comforts in America in the 1950s.

The Creatures of Comfort, 1650–1950 symposium offers academics and emerging scholars an opportunity to explore the ever-changing role of comfort in European and American cultures. The symposium will take place at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from Friday, September 19, 2014, through Sunday, September 21, 2014.

We invite masters, doctorial students and emerging scholars to submit a 400-word abstract outlining a twenty-minute presentation, along with a current CV by May 1, 2014. Please direct all submissions to rienzisymposium@mfah.org. Selected participants will be notified by July 1, 2014. Participants will be offered a $600 travel and lodging stipend. All presentations will be given on Saturday, September 20, and Sunday, September 21, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Possible themes of investigation may include, but are not limited to: interiors, design, architecture, dining, privacy, leisure activities, etiquette, gender, costume, travel, technology, and economics.

The keynote address will be given on Friday, September 19, 2014 by Dr. Joan DeJean, Cultural Historian and Trustee Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research includes the cultural history and the material culture of late 17th- and early 18th-century France. She is the author of ten books on French literature, history, and material culture, including, The Essence of Style, How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, and Sophistication, The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual and the Modern Home Began, and her most recent publication, How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City.

New Book | Queen Caroline

Posted in books by Editor on February 25, 2014

From Yale UP:

Joanna Marschner, Queen Caroline: Cultural Politics at the Early Eighteenth-Century Court (London: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2014), 232 pages, ISBN: 978-0300197778, $75.

9780300197778As the wife of King George II, Caroline of Ansbach became queen of England in 1727. Known for her intelligence and strong character, Queen Caroline wielded considerable political power until her death in 1737. She was enthusiastic and energetic in her cultural patronage, engaging in projects that touched on the arts, architecture, gardens, literature, science, and natural philosophy. This meticulously researched volume will survey Caroline’s significant contributions to the arts and culture and the ways in which she used her patronage to strengthen the royal family’s connections between the recently installed House of Hanover and English society. She established an extensive library at St. James’s Palace, and her renowned salons attracted many of the great thinkers of the day; Voltaire wrote of her, “I must say that despite all her titles and crowns, this princess was born to encourage the arts and the well-being of mankind.”

Joanna Marschner is senior curator at Historic Royal

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