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»



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