New Book | Four Emperors and an Architect

Posted in books by Editor on April 2, 2014

From Oxbow Books:

Alicia Salter, Four Emperors and an Architect: How Robert Adam Rediscovered the Tetrarchy (Lexicon Publishing, 2013), 196 pages, ISBN: 978-0957571907, £20.

four emporersThe eighteenth century saw an explosion of interest in the architecture of ancient Rome, spawning the phenomenon of the Grand Tour. The palace of Diocletian at Split, however, remained unappreciated and under the radar until its 1757 rediscovery by the young British architect, Robert Adam. This superbly illustrated volume narrates Adam’s pioneering work and the influence it had on his own architectural practice, interweaving his story with that of Diocletian himself and his colleagues in power, the Tetrarchs. Above all Alicia Salter explores their architecture, showing how it was used to symbolise their rule, and describing in detail not only the palace at Split, but work by the other Tetrarchs in their capitals at Milan, Trier, Nicomedia and Thessalonica, as well as at Rome itself.

Alicia Salter read history at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. After marriage and three children, she graduated to Art History (The Study Centre at The Victoria and Albert Museum), specialising in the history of architecture—her great love. For seventeen years, together with two friends, she ran her own small business—Art Circle—concentrating on the great wealth of art to be found in a city such as London. Some years later research into the work of Sir Robert Taylor led to an interest in Robert Adam and his archaeological survey of Diocletian’s palace in Split.

More information is available at book’s website.


Conference | The Sculpture of the Écorché

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 2, 2014

From the Henry Moore Institute:

The Sculpture of the Écorché
Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 7 June 2014


Thomas Mewburn Crook ‘Stage 9a: Anatomical Studies of the Human Figure from the Flat’ 1893 Pencil, ink and watercolour on paper Leeds Museums & Galleries (Henry Moore Institute Archive)

This one-day conference takes the écorché as its subject, reconsidering the many ways that models of the flayed figure have been understood from the sixteenth century to the present day. Across seven papers, the conference addresses the écorché variously as a teaching object for the education of sculptors, as a scientific model crucial to the understanding of anatomy, as a sculptural process and as a sculptural object in its own right.

The écorché has frequently operated across disciplinary boundaries and registers of respectability. Makers of wax écorchés in the eighteenth century, such as the Florentine Clemente Susini (1754–1814), were highly acclaimed during their lifetimes, with their work sought by prestigious collectors. By the nineteenth century, however, wax had come to be seen as a merely preparatory, or even a disreputable, medium for sculpture with its capacity for forensic detail and mimetic reproduction of bone, muscle and skin operating against the prevailing neoclassical tendency towards ideal form. As a result of this change in taste, the écorché in plaster of Paris became the primary teaching object for anatomical studies in European academies and schools of art into the twentieth century.

The conference will be chaired by Professor Fay Brauer (University of East London/University of New South Wales College of Fine Arts), Dr Nina Kane (University of Huddersfield) and Dr Rebecca Wade (Henry Moore Institute). Advanced booking is required for this event. Book here.

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S A T U R D A Y ,  7  J U N E  2 0 1 4

10.30  Registration

11.00  Introduction

11.10  Panel 1: Cigoli and Ceroplastics: Wax Écorché in Seventeenth-Century Italy
• Roberta Ballestriero (Open University), Under the Wax Skin: Representation of the Écorché in the Art of
• Lisa Bourla (University of Pennsylvania), Cigoli’s Écorché, Giambologna’s Studio and the ‘Poe Paradox’

12.20  Lunch

1.30  Panel 2: Dissection as Sculptural Practice: Criminality, Pathology, and the Academy
Meredith Gamer (Yale University), ‘A necessary inhumanity’: William Hunter’s Criminal Écorchés
• Naomi Slipp (Boston University), Thomas Eakins and the Écorché: Understanding the Human Body in Three
• Natasha Ruiz-Gómez (University of Essex), In Sickness and in Health: Doctor Paul Richer’s Écorché at the École
des Beaux-Arts

3.30  Tea

4.00  Panel 3: Écorché, Modernism, and the Sculptural Canon
• Elena Dumitrescu (National University of Arts, Bucharest), The Écorché by Brancusi and Gerota: An Artwork Created at the School of Fine Arts of Bucharest
• Stefan Grohé (University of Cologne), An Anatomy of Sculpture: The ‘Ecorche, dit de Michel-Ange’ and its Transformations in Modern Art

5.20  Closing remarks

Exhibition | In the Library: Deforming and Adorning

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 2, 2014

Of the 29 volumes on display (dating from 1471 to 1973), 8 are from the eighteenth century, including Reynolds’s copy of Walpole’s Anecdotes of Painting and Christoph Gottlieb von Murr’s copy of Philipp von Stosch’s gem collection, Description des Pierres gravés du feu Baron de Stosch.

From the National Gallery of Art in Washington: 

In the Library: Deforming and Adorning with Annotations and Marginalia
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 3 March — 27 June 2014



Horace Walpole, Anecdotes of Painting in England (Strawberry Hill, 1762–1771). National Gallery of Art Library, Gift of Joseph E. Widener. The remarks throughout this four-volume set reveal that this copy of an important 18th-century work on British paintings once belonged to Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792). His commentary illuminates his relationship with the author and his role as the head of the Royal Academy of Arts.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

This exhibition highlights a selection of rare books that are unique not because of their content or imprint, but because of the one-of-a-kind markings and additions that readers of the past made to the printed text. From their hand-written marginal commentary and sketches to custom bindings with extra pages and illustrations to editorial notes, each of these books has been transformed from a standard mass-printed volume into a uniquely personal object. They illuminate us with insights into the texts themselves, as well as the readers who read, enjoyed, and annotated them—and the relationships between the two.

The printing press was introduced in the West by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. Prior to this, manuscripts were often copied by hand—a laborious process that was both expensive and prone to errors. In contrast, the printed page permitted the creation and distribution of exact copies of a book to a wide audience. This revolutionary technology changed the spread of knowledge forever.

Yet even a mass-printed volume has the potential to survive as a unique artifact: perhaps all other copies of a particular edition are destroyed; perhaps an individual copy gains notoriety through its provenance, having belonged to a figure of historical importance; or perhaps the book is bound in a peculiar way. In the hand-press period, variance in collation is common for a variety of reasons. Alterations to the text might be made during the print run; moreover, bookbinding was performed separately from the actual publishing process, which allowed for the possibility of pages being lost, added, trimmed, or bound in a different order.

In spite of all these variations, the specific focus of this exhibition is alterations made to the text by readers. The books on view all began as copies identical to hundreds or thousands of others, but each has been transformed by the addition of new information. Many include annotations ranging from navigational aids to detailed critiques of the text.

In the manuscript era, extra-large margins were sometimes provided for scholars to provide commentary, known as glosses. Many early printed books incorporated these earlier glosses along with the main text, and modern readers continued the tradition of adding their own thoughts in the margins. Benjamin Franklin was known to have penned entire debates with authors in the blank spaces of his books; other readers adorned the text with sketches and illustrations. Some readers had their books rebound and included extra material such as prints, notes, and correspondence. In several cases, the author has made editorial notes and revisions for the next edition of his book.

Call for Essays | Art and Social Change, La Salle University Art Museum

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 2, 2014

Art and Social Change: The Collection of La Salle University Art Museum
Abstracts for an edited volume due by 30 June 2014; completed essays due by 30 January 2015

We are seeking scholarly essays (3,000–6,000 words) for an edited book on the subject of art and social change. The book will focus on Western art from the Renaissance to about 1950 (after which artists-activists and art for social change become important themes—and the focus of numerous other recent books). Scholarly essays should address some aspect of the subject and should ideally engage with one or more artworks in the collection of La Salle University Art Museum. (See the museum’s website for images of artworks on display; detailed lists of artworks in storage are also available on request.)

We welcome proposals from established scholars, recent Ph.D. recipients, upper level graduate students and museum professionals. The deadline for submission of abstracts (300–600 words) is June 30, 2014, with notification by August 30, 2014. The deadline for completed essays is January 30, 2015, with peer reviews taking place in early spring 2015. More information is available here.

Please direct proposals and inquiries to the editors:
Susan Dixon, Ph.D., Chair/Associate Professor Art History, La Salle University Deptartment of Fine Arts, dixons@lasalle.edu
Klare Scarborough, Ph.D., Director/Chief Curator, La Salle University Art Museum, scarborough@lasalle.edu

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