Exhibition | Lost Treasures of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 30, 2014

Press release for the exhibition now on at the Winter Palace in Vienna:

Lost Treasures of the Jewish Ghetto / Schätze des Jüdischen Ghettos in Venedig
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 21 February — 28 April 2013
Ca’ d’Oro, Venice, 1 June — 29 September 2013
Winter Palace, Vienna, 28 April — 6 July 2014


Torah Crown, 1796. Parcel-gilt silver
(Collection of the Comunità Ebraica di Venezia)

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In 2016, the Jewish Ghetto of Venice will celebrate its 500th anniversary. Venice was considered a hub of Jewish culture over the centuries, with its ghetto being home to a flourishing international Jewish community. In order to properly mark this anniversary, the international organisation Venetian Heritage, in cooperation with Maison Vhernier, has organised the temporary exhibition Treasures of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, which is being presented at the Winter Palace from 28 April to 6 July 2014. Although created as a site of segregation, the Venice ghetto developed into a place of encounter for numerous groups of Jews from different countries and into an important source of inspiration for Jewish culture in many other regions around the globe. From 1516 to 1797—almost over three centuries—a community of various ethnical backgrounds (Germans, Italians, Jews from East and West) coexisted in Europe’s most tolerant town. In 1943, a number of precious objects were hidden by the Nazis. These valuables had then fallen into oblivion, until they were unearthed during the restoration of the Scola Spagnola several years ago. The show illustrates the richness and beauty of practiced Jewry until destroyed by National Socialism; it also keeps track of the conservation of the objects before they were stolen and their recent rediscovery.

Cover.htmlThe decorative art objects created by Venetian artisans between the 17th and early 20th centuries belong to a heritage that vividly demonstrates how Venetian culture, with its wide ethnic spectrum and multicultural feel, provided a role model for the rest of Europe. The former Winter Palace of Prince Eugene, who was known for his open-mindedness and far-reaching interests, offers itself as an ideal exhibition venue. The cult objects, which were in a deplorable state when they were found and have now been restored to their former splendour, represent a small part of the collections of the Jewish Museum in Venice and impressively attest to the great significance of the Venetian art of goldsmithing.

Most of the silver and bronze objects on display were used in rituals in Venetian synagogues during mass and on special occasions and holidays. Such liturgical pieces include, for example, the wooden tikim (Torah cases) in which the Torah scrolls are kept when not in use, and the magnificent Thora crowns and pairs of rimmonim adorning the scrolls or the tikim. Hanging above each tik is a lamp called a ner tamid (eternal light) that illuminates the tik or a larger ark in a synagogue. Two spice containers, used in the Havdallah service at the closing of Sabbath to bring worshipers back to reality from the ecstasy of Sabbath, are also on view, along with two yads (pointers helping readers follow a text) used during services. Utensils associated with traditional dietary include, among other things, the jug and bowl for washing one’s hands before meals, and the two Seder plates that were used on the evening of the Seder.

When Italy was occupied by the Nazis in September 1943, these objects were hidden and only surfaced several years ago. Thanks to an initiative by Venetian Heritage and Maison Vhernier, it was possible to restore them and present them to the public. From now on, they will form the heart of the Museo Ebraico di Venezia, which will be reopened on the occasion of the 500th anniversary celebrations of the Venetian ghetto.

Venice in the 18th Century


Rimmonim, Italian, silver, 48 x 10 cm, 1747 (Collection of the Comunità Ebraica di Venezia)

In 18th-century Venice, tourism became a booming branch of the economy. The charm of Venice depended not least on the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the town. Vedutists captured its enchanted atmosphere and sights, such as the church of Santa Maria della Salute, the Rialto Bridge, and the Doge’s Palace, their works serving as coveted souvenirs for visitors. The paintings were destined to be prominently installed in drawing rooms as status symbols proving that their owners were among those privileged citizens who could afford to undertake a Grand Tour through Italy.

The Jewish Ghetto of Venice

As Christians were not permitted to lend money to other Christians for interest, Jews played an important role in Venetian society as moneylenders, pawnbrokers, and merchants in second-hand articles. Whereas in earlier days Jews had only been allowed to stay in Venice for a maximum of 15 days a year, they were eventually allowed to settle in the town from 1509 on, if only under strict reservations. They were forbidden to openly practice their religion, purchase land, entertain sexual relationships with Christians, and wear ostentatious yellow or red hats. In 1516, the Senate of Venice declared the premises of a former foundry (geto) as a dwelling zone for Jews, arguing that Jews could impossibly be allowed to live in the city and move around freely. The ghetto was completely secluded: two gates were built that remained blocked for Jews during the dusk-to-dawn curfew. The area was extremely densely populated, with several thousand residents living on 2.4 hectares and five large synagogues accommodating various ethnic groups. In spite of these severe restrictions, Venice was considered one of the best places for Jews to live. In 1797, the Council of Venice handed the town over to Napoleon, and the gates to the Jewish ghetto were demolished to loud calls for freedom. The Jews of Venice were still years away from full equality, but they were no longer locked up in the ghetto.

Venetian Heritage

Venetian Heritage is an international non-profit organisation located in New York and Venice and is part of the UNESCO Private Committees Programme for the Safeguarding of Venice. Venetian Heritage supports cultural initiatives through restoration projects, exhibitions, publications, lectures, studies, and research programmes aimed at raising global awareness of the rich cultural heritage of the Veneto region in Italy and areas once belonging to the Republic of Venice, known as La Serenissima.

Catalogue: Agnes Husslein-Arco and Georg Muzicant, Treasures of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice (Vienna: Belvedere, 2014), 104 pages, ISBN 978-3902805454 (German/English/Italian), €19.

New Book | Confronting the Golden Age

Posted in books by Editor on April 29, 2014

Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Junko Aono, Confronting the Golden Age: Imitation and Innovation in Dutch Genre Painting 1680–1750 (Amsterdam University Press, 2014), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-9089645685, $99.

9789089645685Dutch genre paintings of the period between 1680 and 1750 have historically been cast as uninspired repetitions of art from the mid-seventeenth-century Dutch Golden Age. In Confronting the Golden Age, Junko Aono reconsiders these oft-dismissed paintings, repositioning them as dynamic works that played an instrumental role in the canonization of the art of the Golden Age.

Drawing on archival documents, sales catalogs, and other texts, Aono closely analyzes a range of genre paintings—many of them handsomely reproduced in this volume. In the process, she deepens our understanding of these works and reveals how they illuminate the relationships among painters, collectors, and the dominant artistic currents of the time.

Junko Aono is associate professor of art history at Kyushu University, Fukuoka in Japan.


I. Confronting the Heritage of the Golden Age: The Situation around Dutch Genre Painting 1680–1750

1.  Painter and collector in transition: the search for a new relationship
2. The collector ’s taste: in praise of seventeenth-century Dutch genre painting
3. Popular subject matter of genre painting in eighteenth-century collections
4. The painter ’s choice: updating seventeenth-century genre painting

II.  Reproducing the Golden Age: Copies after Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting in the First Half of the Eighteenth Century

1. Commercial misuse of copies: discussion between Johan van Gool and Gerard Hoet
2. Copies as substitutes for seventeenth-century painting
3. The painter ’s choice: in search of a favorite painte and subject matter
4. Case study: the candlelight scene as popular subject
5. The function of copying: looking back to the Golden Age

III. Emulating the Golden Age: The Painter’s Choice of Motifs and Subject Matter in Dutch Genre Painting of the First Half of the Eighteenth Century

1. The painter ’s choice of subject matter
2. Competing with the ‘old masters’: pendants by Gerard Dou, Willem van Mieris and Hieronymus van der Mij
3. ‘Pleasurable enjoyment of dissimilar similarity’

IV. Ennobling Daily Life: A Question of Refinement in Early Eighteenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting

1. Gerard de Lairesse’s attempt to ennoble genre painting
2. The painter ’s practice of idealizing figures in genre painting
3. To meet new demands of collectors: seeking ideal versatility

Symposium | Exploring Maria Sibylla Merian

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 29, 2014

As noted by Hélène Bremer, from the conference website:

Exploring Maria Sibylla Merian
Artis Library, University of Amsterdam, 26–28 May 2014

merian banana small

Banana (Musa × paradisiaca) with moth and larva of the bullseye moth (Automeris liberia); plate 12, M.S. Merian, 1719, Over de voortteeling en wonderbaerlyke veranderingen der Surinaemsche insecten (University of Amsterdam)

Artis Library (Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam) will host a three-day symposium titled Exploring Maria Sibylla Merian on May 26–28, 2014. The program will open on the evening of May 26 with a reception and presentation and continue the following day with panels of invited scholars who will discuss their research on Merian’s life and her work in both art and science. On the third day the discussion will focus on the challenges and future of research on Merian. The themes of the symposium will be Merian’s biography, her work in the context of early modern entomologists and artists, the biology/ecology in Merian’s work, and her influence on both art and science. This symposium also aims to be the starting point for the preliminary work on an international conference in 2017, the 300th anniversary of the death of Merian.

If you are interested in attending the symposium (the cost will be 50 Euros), please contact Florence Pieters at the email address below. Space is very limited and so we also ask that you let us know if you must cancel for any reason.


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2 6  M A Y  2 0 1 4

Opening reception and presentation of parts of the Maria Sibylla Merian documentary film in progress. Filmmakers Jo Francis and John Fuegi will discuss their work in researching the film.

2 7 – 2 8  M A Y  20 1 4

Speakers will present 20-minute papers and time will be allotted for discussion. The order is not finalized, but capsule descriptions of the topics are below.

Presenting Merian, Kurt Wettengl
The talk will reflect on the Merian exhibition in Nürnberg 1967 and the exhibition in Frankfurt in 1997, touching on questions about the background of the exhibitions and the different intentions of exhibitions. This presentation will also reflect on the necessity of new investigations into Merian’s life and work.

Studying Insects before Merian: Johannes Goedaert en Johannes Swammerdam, Eric Jorink
Two Dutchmen, Johannes Goedaert (1617-1668) and Johannes Swammerdam (1637–1680) brought insects, considered as the ‘less esteemed of God’s creatures’, to the center of scientific and artistic attention. Basing themselves on philosophical and religious arguments, both argued that insects were among nature’s most intricate and ingenious creatures, showing the Creator’s magnificence par excellence, and their books were largely responsible for arousing interest in collecting and studying insects.

From Lay Expert to Fabulist: Merian’s scientific reputation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Brian Ogilvie
Maria Sibylla Merian’s engraved works on insects were widely circulated in the eighteenth century and were used and cited favorably by leading naturalists, but in the 19th century, her mistakes were often cited as grounds for rejecting her authority entirely. This paper will examine how this shift in naturalists’ assessment of Merian is related to changes in European society and in the organization and practice of entomology.

Merian’s holistic view of the tiny, Katharina Schmidt-Loske
Merian developed a unique style of drawing insects and their development stages and is famous for depicting the caterpillars’ food plants. Her perspective, details of the insects’ structure, and documentation of parasitic cycles characterize her work. This presentation will compare Merian’s still life studies, her ‘Studienbuch’, caterpillar book and entomological watercolours with those of Johannes Goedaert, Wenceslaus Hollar, Herman and his son Anton Henstenburgh, and Johannes Bronckhorst.

The Ecology of the Raupen books, Kay Etheridge
Merian’s Raupen (caterpillar) books contain a wealth of insightful observations on interactions among the species portrayed – the very foundation of the study of ecology. This presentation will focus on her study of factors central to ecological science, including her descriptions of environmental effects on insect development and abundance, and her observations on insect food choice and feeding behavior.

Challenges in transcribing Merian’s correspondence, Florence F.J.M. Pieters
This presentation is linked to that of Brigitte Wirth, who discovered a major transcription error in a letter written by M.S. Merian in 1711. Brigitte’s correction throws new light on the coloring procedures in Merian’s atelier. Furthermore, the letter helps to clarify price differences between several types of hand-colored copies of her books.

Maria Sibylla Merian, Baltasar Scheid and Richard Bradley: Some remarks on their letters and on the struggle with incorrect transcriptions and translations, Brigitte Wirth
In several letters the Amsterdam trader Baltasar Scheid (circa 1660–1724 ) wrote to J.G. Volkamer about Merian’s Metamorphosis, describing its development in a few words from the early beginning to the end. With the details given in these letters it is possible to specify the time of production of this book. The English botanist Richard Bradley, who visited Merian in 1714, mentioned original drawings and hand-colored books he saw in her house in his correspondence with James Petiver. The presentation will also discuss how comparison of transcriptions and translations of Merian’s letters revealed differences in meaning that should be corrected.

The printing history of Merian’s Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, Leslie Overstreet
In 1705 Merian published her classic work Surinam work in two languages and with plates in four modes: uncolored on paper, hand-colored on paper, and hand-colored counter-proofs on either paper or vellum. Through the 18th century, five further ‘editions’ were produced, again in several languages both uncolored and colored. This presentation will demonstrate how surviving copies provide evidence of significant divergence of later editions from the original coloring, raising questions about the scientific reliability of those versions.

Contemporary clients for Merian’s colored copies, Truusje Goedings
Merian advertised and sold both colored and uncolored copies of her heavily illustrated books. Hand-colored books were highly profitable and must have been a major source of income for Merian. This paper will examine some of her contemporary clients for these rather expensive materials, their interests, and what they bought.

Portfolio Wiesbaden, Joos van de Plas
This contemporary artist will address her research in which she investigated the alleged link between specimens in the Wiesbaden Gerning Collection and Merian’s work. Van de Plas visually compared the dried insects in the Gerning Collection with the life-size depictions in Merian’s Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium; she verified her findings using computer comparisons and by additional comparisons with specimens in other 17th- and 18th-century collections. Van de Plas also will relate how her decade-long investigation profoundly influenced her own art.

Speaker information is available here»

Call for Papers | Accessorising the Long Eighteenth Century

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 29, 2014

As noted at The University of York’s British Art Research:

Fashion, Function and Ornament: Accessorising the Long Eighteenth Century
York Hilton Hotel and Fairfax House, York, 19 September 2014

Proposals due by 28 July 2014

In fashion the term ‘accessory’ covers a wide range of items such as gloves, sashes, reticules, spectacles, watches, parasols, and potentially many other articles. Accessories can be seen as marginal to the nature of fashion, but historically they have played a key role in shaping the character of men’s and women’s fashions, combining ornament and function and giving scope for the expression of individual and collective identities. The era from the late Stuart to the early Victorian period saw the accessory achieve new prominence as a fashion statement, an expression of wealth, status and taste, and a desirable object of consumption, possession and display.

This symposium aims to bring together interested parties from curatorial, conservation, academic and other backgrounds with an interest in fashion, textiles, clothing and related topics to explore the nature and significance of accessories in the history of fashion from c.1660 to c.1840. Relevant topics to be addressed in contributions to the symposium may include (but would certainly not be limited to) the gender, class and identity dimensions of the accessory, collecting and collections cultures of consumerism and consumption, style, fashion and ornament, exoticism and the antique in accessory design and ornament, and the accessory in the visual and literary culture of the ‘long eighteenth century’.

Proposals are invited for symposium contributions not exceeding 20 minutes in length. Please send outlines of c.200 words to fairfaxhousesymposium@gmail.com by Monday 28 July 2014. Please direct any queries about the symposium to the same email address.

Exhibition | History and Stories of Doges and Dogaressas

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 28, 2014

From the Palazzo Ducale:

The Serenissimo Prince: History and Stories of Doges and Dogaressas
Doge’s Palace, Venice, 26 January — 30 June 2014

Curated by Camillo Tonini

Giovanni Bonazza Testa del doge Carlo Ruzzini (1732-1735) 1732 ca. Museo ·

Giovanni Bonazza, Doge Carlo Ruzzini (1732–35), ca. 1732 (Venice: Museo Correr)

In the renovated space of the Doge’s Apartment in Palazzo Ducale, the exhibition aims to tell—through works from the prestigious collections of the Museo Correr, its library and its drawing cabinet, prints and numismatics—the historical evolution of this symbol, which returns in paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, coins, medals and insignia of traditional power, in memory of the extraordinary life of a world collapsed in 1797 and later immortalized in the size of the myth.

The scenic itinerary starts with three important pictorial representations of the Lion of St. Mark, the work of Jacobello del Fiore (1415), Donato Veneziano (1459) and Vittore Carpaccio (1516), which is the preface to the beautiful portraits of the Doge Francesco Foscari, Alvise Mocenigo and Leonardo Loredan, respectively by Lazzaro Bastiani, Giovanni Bellini and Carpaccio, among which the latter highlighted the image of the prince as a real icon of the Serenissima. The Portrait of Sebastiano Venier by Andrea Vicentino closes the series of the doges that have made grown Venice with the use of weapons, which culminated in the Battle of Lepanto.

A part of the exhibition is dedicated to the figure of the dogaressas such as Morosina Morosini Grimani (1595–1605), of whom is displayed a portrait attributed to Palma il Giovane and a celebrative painting of her coronation, and Elizabeth Querini Valier (1694–1700), the fourth and last wife of a ‘Serenissimo’ to officially receive a public investiture.

Conference Recap | MAHS 2014, St. Louis

Posted in conferences (summary) by Editor on April 28, 2014

While I’m afraid it’s a bit late, I nonetheless want to draw attention to the excellent slate of papers presented in conjunction with a panel I chaired earlier this month at the 41st annual meeting of the Midwest Art History Society (MAHS), hosted by the Saint Louis Art Museum. If your ears perked up at yesterday’s posting on The Wallace’s small exhibition, Reproducing the 18th Century: Copying French Furniture, I would especially draw your attention to Tobias Locker’s paper; it nicely brought the eighteenth century to St. Louis, indeed to the doorstep of the museum, which is located in Forest Park, the site of the 1904 exhibition. My warm thanks to all four speakers for their fine work. I’ve also included the abstract for Judy Mann’s presentation on an exciting acquisition for SLAM, Joseph Claus’s Bust of Caracalla (a press release is available here). -Craig Hanson

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MAHS Annual Meeting, Eighteenth-Century European Art
Saint Louis Art Museum, 3–5 April 2014

“Cornelis de Bruyn (1652–1726): Artist, Traveler, and Writer,” Rebecca Brienen, Vennerberg Professor of Art and Professor of Art History, Oklahoma State University

This paper addresses the fascinating career of Cornelis de Bruyn (1652–1726), an artist, traveler, and writer from The Hague who spent nearly thirty years outside of the Dutch Republic, living and working in places as far flung as Rome, Constantinople, and Batavia in the Dutch East Indies. During his lifetime, De Bruyn was in contact with other Dutch and European artists, many of them leading painters of the day. In addition, major political figures, including Dutch Stadholder and English king William III, Tsar Peter I of Russia, and Nicolaes Witsen (Dutch East India Company Director and burgomaster of Amsterdam) were patrons and supporters of de Bruyn. The existing literature on de Bruyn has focused specifically on his published travel accounts, but not on his career as an artist in Europe and abroad, areas that this paper will address.

“Capturing Genius: Collecting Salvator Rosa’s Etchings in Eighteenth-Century England,” Nicole N. Conti, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Minnesota

British artists, antiquarians, and aristocrats in the eighteenth century transformed Baroque artist Salvator Rosa (1615–1673) into an archetypal figure embodying the spirit of the Grand Tour. Rosa’s persona pervaded many aspects of intellectual life in England: tourists experienced Rome through his eyes, staying in his former home and comparing their journeys to his landscapes; collectors bought his paintings and etchings; artists emulated Rosa’s style in their works, and created original works that featured Rosa; and composers, novelists, poets, and playwrights wrote works of fiction casting Rosa as a revolutionary. This paper looks at the role collecting Rosa’s prints had in this eighteenth-century revival of Rosa and his cult of genius. It specifically examines albums compiled by eighteenth-century aristocrats of Rosa’s Figurine—a set of 64 small etchings that contains between 1 and 5 figures such as ragged soldiers, knights, Roman sentinels, and seductresses. While each composition contains a unique image, the prints share many visual rhymes: the same figures reappear in different combinations; some figures point off the page; others display dramatic gestural reactions; some compositions mirror each other; some images appear to represent the same group from a different vantage point; etc. This iconography allowed the prints to play off one another in an unlimited number of ways, encouraging the collector to interact with the images and to create personal narratives between the figures. Through the act of recombining these images, the album-maker asserted his own interpretive agency over the images and assigned a new meaning to Rosa and his oeuvre that reflected the needs of the collector.

“Sèvres’ Teaching of Love and the Concept of Marriage in Eighteenth-Century France,” Sarah S. Jones, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Missouri–Columbia

In 1763, the royal porcelain manufactory at Sèvres, France, produced a small sculpture entitled The Teaching of Love. The mythological subject of the piece references an episode in the life of Cupid, god of love, in which he was taught to read by Mercury. Produced in unglazed biscuit porcelain, the Sèvres group displays an adolescent Cupid passing along his knowledge to three young women on the verge of marriageable age. If Mercury, the god of eloquence, taught Cupid about rhetoric, then Cupid, god of love must be relaying his knowledge of love to these girls. Cupid is often cast as an allegory for love and sentiment, an ingredient emphasized in marital relationships during the romantic Rococo era. Eighteenth-century philosophers developed the notion of love, or sentiment, as a vital part of marriage. I propose that Cupid teaching a young girl, as he was taught by Mercury, denotes that an education in the ways of love was an integral element in grooming a girl for her marital relationship in mid-eighteenth century France. Education controlled the passions of the mischievous god; love and sentiment controls immoral passions that threatened the stability of the early modern marriage. I suggest that this scene of girls under the tutelage of a charismatic Cupid relates to the shifting ideas about the concept of marriage and proper aspects of a woman’s preparations for her marital relationship in eighteenth-century France.

“Celebrating Rococo Splendor in St. Louis: Historicizing Prussian Furniture at the 1904 World’s Fair,” Tobias Locker, Lecturer, Saint Louis University, Madrid

Early World Fairs were showcases for technical innovations and achievements in the arts. Nations presented themselves with spectacular pavilions that often referenced a glorious period of their past with distinct architectonical forms or interiors, thereby endowing chauvinist narratives and economic ambitions with historical weight. At the 1904 St. Louis Fair, the German Empire pursued a concept that had proven successful at the Paris Exhibition four years earlier. In St Louis, the Imperial pavilion resembled the central building of Charlottenburg Palace, and its interiors emphasized the Frederician Rococo, embellished with a mix of original and recreated interiors intended to recall the time when Prussia became a major player in Europe.

In particular, this paper addresses the important work of the contemporary luxury furniture producer Joseph-Émmanuel Zwiener (c. 1848–after 1910). On the basis of new archival findings, various examples will illustrate how this Berlin-based cabinetmaker—‘purveyor to the court of his majesty the German King and Emperor William II’—adopted historic French and Prussian models. The paper links his production to the royal furniture the Swiss-born Johann Melchior Kambly (1718–1784) had created for Frederick of Prussia, and it will explain how the objects of these two artisans had already been used to support a nationalistic narrative at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. Considering that Zwiener’s outstanding Neo-Rococo furniture was seen by contemporaries as equal to the works of the famous Parisian entrepreneur François Linke, the political dimension in exhibiting his luxury objects as ‘German’ creations is explained. Thus, it will become clear how historic and historicizing furniture were instrumentalized within a nationalist cultural discourse reflecting the competition between Prussia and France at the beginning of the twentieth century.

MAHS Annual Meeting, Recent Acquisitions in Midwestern Collections
Saint Louis Art Museum, 3–5 April 2014

Joseph Claus’s Bust of Caracalla: An Eighteenth-Century Look at an Ancient Masterpiece, Judith W. Mann, Curator, European Art to 1800, Saint Louis Art Museum


Joseph Claus, Bust of the Emperor Caracalla (r. 198–217 AD), signed and dated 1757, white marble, height 71.5 cm
(Saint Louis Art Museum)

Joseph Claus’s Bust of Caracalla demonstrates the sculptor’s great talent at rendering likeness and his adept carving of marble, making it a masterful example of the Neo-classical style. The bust is one of six known copies after the famous ancient Caracalla that was acquired by the Farnese family in Rome during the sixteenth century. That bust remained in the ducal family’s palace until 1787, when it was shipped together with the rest of the Farnese collection to Naples, where it can still be seen at the Museo Nazionale. Very little is known about Joseph Claus; he has yet to be the focus of extended study. He was born in Cologne, and his earliest dated bust (1754) portrays Clemens August von Wittelsbach, Archibishop and Elector of Cologne and a member of one of the most powerful families of the time. Claus arrived in Rome by 1755 and remained there for most of his career. He is known for his finely-detailed classicizing portraits that are tour-de-forces of marble carving and for his copies after the antique. This paper analyzes Claus’s Bust of Caracalla in terms of what little is known about the artist and evaluates the sculpture in the context of other copies executed by Claus’s contemporaries.

The full conference programme is available here»



Display | Reproducing the 18th Century: Copying French Furniture

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 27, 2014

Now on at The Wallace:

Reproducing the 18th Century: Copying French Furniture
The Wallace Collection, London, 10 March — 29 August 2014

Secretaire, Pierre-Antoine Foullet, c.1777

Secretaire, Pierre-Antoine Foullet, c.1777
(London: The Wallace Collection)

In the second half of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, many of the best pieces of 18th-century French furniture were copied by skilled cabinet-makers in Paris and London. Rather than being dismissed as mere ‘reproductions’, these copies were of great quality and were highly prized by their owners.

In this display in the Conservation Gallery, the Wallace Collection’s desk by Pierre-Antoine Foullet (circa 1777) is compared with one such copy, kindly lent by Butchoff Antiques, enabling visitors to compare the construction techniques and finishes of two different periods of cabinet making.

Much more information is available at The Wallace Collection’s blog»

Symposium | The Collector and His Circle

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 27, 2014

From The Seminar on Collecting and Display:

The Collector and His Circle
Institute of Historical Research and The Wallace Collection, London, 1–2 July 2014

This two-day workshop presents new research in the area of collecting and art markets in the early modern era (1700–1900). Speakers examine the mutual interests of collectors and art patrons; the client relationships between dealers and collectors; the roles of advisers, museum curators and critics; and the importance of art publications.

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T U E S D A Y ,  1  J U L Y  2 0 1 4
Institute of Historical Research

10.00  Registration and coffee

10.25  Welcome from Adriana Turpin, IESA/University of Warwick

10.30  The Early 18th Century

• Charles Avery, Historian of Sculpture and Independent Fine Art Consultant, ‘The sculptor Soldani and the marketing of Baldinucci’s collection of paintings’
• Christophe Guillouet, PhD candidate, Université Paris IV Sorbonne, ‘Genre painting in the circles of Parisian collectors’
• Franny Brock, PhD candidate, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ‘‘‘Chez Monsieur Huquier’’: the role of Gabriel Huquier’s collection in interactions among artists, dealers, and collectors’

12.00  The Role of the Print Market

• Donato Esposito, independent scholar, Birmingham, ‘Charles Rogers (1711–1784) and his circle’
• Lucy Peltz, Curator, 18th Century Collections, National Portrait Gallery, London,  ‘‘‘Brother Chalcographimanians’’: extra-illustration, the Sutherland Clarendon and the print market c. 1790–1840’

13.00  Lunch

14.15  The Collector and His Advisors in the Early 19th Century

• Sarah Bakkali, PhD candidate, Université Paris X Nanterre, ‘John Trumbull’s “speculative” adventure: circles of collecting between Paris and London during the French Revolution’
• Rufus Bird, Deputy Surveyor of The Queen’s Works of Art, The Royal Collections Trust, ‘The Prince and the pâtissier: François Benois’ acquisitions in Paris for the Prince Regent’
• Susanna Avery-Quash, Curator (History of Collecting), National Gallery, London, ‘John Julius Angerstein: an 18th-century London financier and his circle of art advisers’
• Rebecca Lyons, Christie’s Education, London, and PhD candidate, University of Cambridge: ‘Connoisseurship and commerce: the relationship between the Prince Regent and the 3rd Marquess of Hertford’

16.15  Coffee

16.45  Late 19th-Century Collecting

• Dora Thornton, Curator of the Waddesdon Bequest and Curator of Renaissance Europe, The British Museum, ‘Baron Ferdinand Rothschild and the Waddesdon Bequest in the British Museum: a new look’
• Elena Greer, National Gallery, London, ‘Sir Frederic Burton and his Trustees: the politics of collecting for the nation in the late nineteenth century’.

18.00  Reception

W E D N E S D A Y ,  2  J U L Y  2 0 1 4
The Wallace Collection

9.30  Registration and coffee

9.55  Welcome from Christoph Vogtherr, Director, The Wallace Collection

10.00  Jeremy Warren, Collections and Academic Director, The Wallace Collection, ‘Patrons and collectors: new acquisitions for the history of collecting at the Wallace Collection’

10.30  Curators, Antiquarians and Archaeologists

• Judy Rudoe, Curator of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Collections, The British Museum, ‘The role of a remarkable curator: letters from Justus Brinckmann to Charles Hercules Read’
• Elizabeth Norton, Collaborative Doctoral Award Student, The University of Southampton and The British Museum, ‘Polished axes: viewing networks behind the construction of prehistory at the British Museum’
• Francesca de Tomasi, PhD candidate, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, ‘The archeologia mondana and its protagonists’
• Ulf  R. Hansson, Research Fellow, Department of Classics, The University of Texas at Austin, ‘Adolf Furtwängler and the culture of professional and amateur collecting in Munich around the turn of the century 1900’

12.30  Lunch and opportunity to see a display of new acquisitions for the history of collecting at the Wallace Collection

14.00  Artists and Collectors

•  Annalea Tunesi, PhD candidate, University of Leeds, ‘Stefano Bardini and Riccardo Nobili’
• Patricia de Montfort, Lecturer in History of Art, University of Glasgow, ‘Collecting women’s works: Louise Jopling, the Rothschilds and their circle’
• Annie Pfiefer, PhD candidate, Department of Comparative Literature, Yale University, “‘The American Invasion”: Henry James and the collecting of Europe’

15.30  Coffee

16.00  Keynote address: Frank Herrmann, independent scholar and author of The English as Collectors, ‘Lady Charlotte Schreiber: a truly remarkable woman’

16.30  Round table and concluding remarks

Call for Papers | Made People: The Beauty of the Body

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 27, 2014

Made People: The Beauty of the Body in Art and Cosmetics—An Academic Workshop in Two Parts

Made People I: Make-up
Freie Universität Berlin, 26–27 June 2015
Made People II: Makeover
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz,Max-Planck-Institut, 20–21 November 2015

Proposals due by 31 July 2014

Since antiquity, beauty has been regarded as a work of art in which nature plays a role not so much as a holistic model and ideal but as a basic substance and an ‘assembly kit’. This concept of composite beauty bears the reservation that beauty as an entity only exists in an incomplete form in nature. It suggests that work can be performed on the human body, both to improve and to correct it. The initial hypothesis is that such work represents a concept combining artistic, cosmetic and medical practices that sees the techniques of art in a fundamental field of tension vis-à-vis the substances provided by nature.

Even more than in painting and sculpting, both of which pursued a demonstration of their autonomy and perfection in estheticizing nature in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a supposed inadequacy of what nature had to offer became a lasting point of friction and even the sole legitimisation in the practice of putting on make-up or doing one’s hair and in more recent beauty surgery. While the impression of naturalness remained virulent as a measurement and an ideal, as it also  does in art that continuous to pursue imitatio, the boundary to reality simultaneously became permeable, so that beauty could literally assume the role of a second nature and the stylist could turn into an alter deus.

Designed as an interdisciplinary event, the workshop explores the norms and techniques of such an estheticizing treatment of nature in the fields of art, cosmetics and plastic surgery regarding physical beauty and the instruments and guiding principles of its creation or enhancement. In two sessions, it traces the various degrees of cosmetic and artistic treatment of and intervention in the natural body from antiquity to the present, examining its superficial make-up on the one hand and its far-reaching makeover on the other. Here, special attention is given to the techniques of estheticization, the processes of selection and synthesis as well as the modification or modelling of parts of the body with respect to both colours and shapes. Such a focus also allows for a demonstration of the violent side that the ideal of beauty bears which ultimately always entails changes to nature, a dissection of the body into beautiful individual parts and their chimera-like reassembling.

The aim of the workshop is to promote academic exchange between junior scholars and established experts. Also, with the aid of a selection of source texts and a common discussion of selected museum exhibits on site, a common thematic basis is to be developed that covers beautifying techniques of make-up and makeover and reaches beyond individual specialisation.

Junior scholars from all disciplines are invited to hand in proposals for twenty-minute contributions in German or English on the presentations and design of physical beauty between nature and art and cosmetics and medicine. Abstracts not exceeding 500 words and a brief CV are to be submitted to workshop@gemachtemenschen.net by July 31, 2014. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered if applications for funding are accepted.

Dr. Romana Filzmoser, Universität Salzburg
Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dietrich Löhr, Freie Universität Berlin/Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut
Julia Saviello M. A., Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

New Book | Travel and Tourism in Britain, 1700–1914

Posted in books by Editor on April 26, 2014

From Pickering & Chatto:

Susan Barton and Allan Brodie, eds., Travel and Tourism in Britain, 1700–1914, 4 volumes (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014), approximately 1600 pages, ISBN: 978-1848934122, £350 / $625.

The British led the way in holidaymaking. During the eighteenth century travel was only available to the wealthiest people, but from the 1830s the railways brought a transport revolution, opening up the chance for travel to all classes. As tourism grew in popularity, a whole new industry developed. Many new large, lively towns grew up around spas and at the seaside to meet the needs of visitors. Guidebooks were produced, aimed at all sorts of holidaymakers and the first travel agencies emerged.

This four-volume primary resource collection brings together a diverse range of texts on the various forms of transport used by tourists, the destinations they visited, the role of entertainments and accommodation and how these affected the way that tourism evolved over two centuries. Case studies on specific towns—Bath, Cheltenham and Tunbridge Wells—illustrate the rise of spa tourism, then studies of Brighton, Margate, Blackpool and Scarborough are used to demonstrate the later dominance of the seaside resort. The collection will be of interest to social and economic historians as well as those researching print culture and the history of tourism.

• Contains over 200 rare primary resources
• Includes diaries, memoirs, guide books, journal articles, railways guides, handbills, trade directories, local newspaper articles and poems
• Editorial apparatus includes a general introduction, volume introductions, headnotes and endnotes
• A consolidated index appears in the final volume

Volume 1: Travel and Destination
Volume 2: Spa Tourism
Volume 3: Seaside Holidays
Volume 4: Seaside Resorts

Susan Barton is an honorary fellow at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University. Allan Brodie is an architectural historian for English Heritage.


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