Film | National Gallery

Posted in films, museums by Editor on November 2, 2014

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Frederick Wiseman’s new documentary from Zipporah Films has its US premier in New York this month at Film Forum (November 5–18), with the director himself appearing at several of the early screenings (November 5, 7, and 8). The DVD release is scheduled for early 2015.

Frederick Wiseman, National Gallery (Zipporah Films, 2014), 181 minutes.

London’s National Gallery, one of the world’s foremost art institutions, is itself portrayed as a brilliant work of art in this, Frederick Wiseman’s 39th documentary and counting. Wiseman listens raptly as a panoply of docents decode the great canvases of Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Turner; he visits with the museum’s restorers as they use magnifying glasses, tiny eye-droppers, scalpels, and Q-tips to repair an infinitesimal chip; he attends administrative meetings in which senior executives do (polite) battle with younger ones who want the museum to become less stodgy and more welcoming to a larger cross-section of the public. But most of all, we experience the joy of spending time with the aforementioned masters as well as Vermeer and Caravaggio, Titian and Velázquez, Pissarro, and Rubens and listen to the connoisseurs who discourse upon the aesthetic, historical, religious, and psychological underpinnings of these masterpieces.

More information is available from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Exhibition | The Diligent Needle

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 2, 2014


Needlework picture, 1750–1800
(Winterthur: Gift of Henry Francis du Pont 1961.1697)

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Now on view at Winterthur:

The Diligent Needle: Instrument of Profit, Pleasure, and Ornament
Winterthur, Wilmington, Delaware, 23 August 2014 — 5 July 2015

For centuries, instruction in needlework was an important part of women’s education. Both plain sewing and fancy embroidery are skills that take considerable time and effort to acquire, and as a result, many women took great pride in their work. Women might use their skill to earn a living through teaching or sewing, to create objects of beauty for themselves and for others, or to embellish clothing and household furnishings. This exhibition showcases the evolution of needlework and the prominent role it played in women’s lives during the 17th through 19th centuries. It opens with the diligence and skill required to learn and excel at needlework and delves into the various applications of the skill with sections on diligence, profit, pleasure, and ornament, featuring stunning visual examples:

Samplers diligently worked on in day and boarding schools are the best documented examples of a girl’s education, but needlework skills were also learned at home, where women of all ages too part in the needlework activities of the household.

Women could use their skill with a needle to generate extra income or support themselves and their families. Some women, known as mantua makers, milliners or tailoresses, created fine dresses and other clothing, others taught embroidery or offered their skill in decorating clothing and furnishings, while others used the skill for plain sewing, mending and hemming.

Not everyone loved embroidery, but those who did would continue to develop their skill and artistry throughout their life.

Those skillful with a needle often used their talent to embellish their own clothing, accessories, and textile furnishings.


Call for Papers | Entre l’œil et le monde, 1740–1840

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

From H-ArtHist:

Entre l’œil et le monde: dispositifs et expédients d’une nouvelle
épistémologie visuelle dans les sciences de la nature entre 1740 et 1840
Université de Neuchâtel, 4–7 November 2015

Proposals due by 5 January 2014

I. Contexte de l’événement

Du 6 au 7 novembre 2014 aura lieu à Neuchâtel un colloque intitulé “‘La bêtise des yeux’. Illusions des sens et épistémologie visuelle au XVIIIe siècle” (“‘Der Augen Blödigkeit’. Trugwahrnehmungen und visuelle Epistemologie im 18. Jahrhundert”). Il s’agit de se pencher sur les dimensions physiologique, individuelle et sociale du processus de perception visuelle, tel que le mettent en scène la littérature, les beaux-arts et la philosophie du XVIIIe siècle. Nous avons placé au centre de cette rencontre les expériences visuelles problématiques, qu’elles relèvent de l’illusion ou soulignent la faiblesse des sens, voire le caractère trompeur des informations prodiguées par ceux-ci, relativisant ainsi la valeur d’une connaissance essentiellement fondée sur une ‘idéologie de la lumière et de l’œil’. En novembre 2015, un second volet de cette réflexion sera organisé autour de questions plus spécifiquement liées aux sciences naturelles et expérimentales des années 1740 à 1840. (more…)

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