Call for Papers | Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 31, 2014

From the call for papers:

Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries
Amsterdam, 17–18 September 2015

Proposals due by 15 April 2015


Anatomical studies of a human heart, attributed to Jan l’ Admiral, 1700–1750 (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum).

Anticipating plans for a future exhibition on Art and Science in the Early Modern Low Countries (ca 1550–1730), the Rijksmuseum and the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands (Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences) organize a preliminary, two-day conference. This event will take place at the Rijksmuseum (September 17th) and the Trippenhuis (September 18th) in Amsterdam.

The Low Countries were flourishing in the early Modern Period, influenced by developments in Northern Italy and Southern Germany. First Antwerp and later Amsterdam emerged as centers of artistic and scientific innovation and creativity, and as nodal points in the exchange of goods, knowledge and skills. It is certainly no coincidence that a high level of artistic productivity in the Low Countries coincided with the so-called ‘Scientific Revolution’. Seen from a contemporary point of view, ars and scientia were complementary concepts, rather than opposites.

The aim of the conference is to explore the possibilities, prospects and also the pitfalls of the conjunction of ‘art and science’, and to contribute to the developing conversation between historians of art, historians of science and everyone interested in the visual and material culture of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Low Countries. The organizers look forward to receiving original submissions that address the relationships between art and science on both a material and a conceptual level.

Proposals which take objects, works of art, images, or illustrated texts as their point of departure are particularly welcomed. These may include ‘borderline’ topics—cross-overs between art and science, such as decorated shells, maps, models, pop-up books or anatomical preparations. Although the focus of the conference will be the Low Countries—both the South and the North—proposals which make reference to developments elsewhere shall certainly be considered, so long as the overall relevance for the main theme is clear.

Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to
• the fluid borders between art and nature, both in theory and in practice (e.g. life casting techniques, strategies of display),
• the influence and use of new theories and instruments of visual representation (e.g. the use of perspective, anatomical analysis, the telescope, microscope and camera obscura),
• the processes and techniques that artists used for the visual representation of the increasing body of traditional and new knowledge, such as different print media and the use of color, multi-sheet and interactive prints.
• the mediation of direct observation by visual conventions and the specific demands of illustrations concerned with the production of new knowledge (for instance with regard to previously unknown flora, fauna and peoples, and to anatomical and astronomical discoveries),
• the emergence in visual materials of new conceptions of objectivity and trustworthiness (e.g. the meaning of ‘ad vivum’ and its cognates; the character and use of illustrations in natural histories and ‘scientific’ treatises),
• spaces where scholars, craftsmen and artists cooperated, discussed and produced new knowledge, such as cabinets of curiosities, the workshop, the anatomical theatre and the botanical garden,
• the role of religion in the definition and construction of knowledge and its influence on the visualization of knowledge.

We invite proposals for 20-minute and 10-minute papers, presenting the results of new or ongoing research. A 300-word abstract (preferably including an image or reference to a work of art), together with a short curriculum vitae, should be sent to both Jan de Hond (j.de.hond@rijksmuseum.nl) and Eric Jorink (eric.jorink@huygens.knaw.nl). Proposals should be submitted no later than April 15, 2015. The selection of proposals will take place during the following month.

Historic New England’s Wallpaper Collection Now Available Digitally

Posted in museums, resources by Editor on December 30, 2014

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Press release via Art Daily (29 December 2014). . .

Thanks in part to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Historic New England announces the completion of a digitization project that makes its extensive wallpaper collection more accessible. For the past two years, Historic New England has been cataloguing and digitizing its wallpaper collection. Now, more than 6,000 samples have been electronically catalogued and are available at WallpaperHistory.org. The collection includes rolled, flat, oversize, and three-dimensional materials, which each require unique handling and digitization methods.

The project makes accessible a collection that spans three centuries and ranges from very early imported items to William Morris designs to vinyl wallpapers from mid-1960s. The entire Waterhouse Archive of Historic Wallpapers has been newly catalogued and digitized, and there are upgrades and a redesign to 4,800 additional records that improve image quality and data content.

“Now the collection is searchable by date, location, and manufacturer, and by keywords like color and type of pattern”, says cataloguer Peggy Wishart. “You can zoom in to see every detail.”

Historic New England extensive wallpaper collection contains individual samples, historic photographs of wallpaper in situ, and ephemera dealing with the wallpaper industry. The wallpapers range from pristine examples with complete repeats to small fragments that are part of a sequence in a particular room and also includes scrapbooks, borders, bandboxes, fireboards, and scenic panels, many of which are accessible online for the first time. Historic New England is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the nation. We bring history to life while preserving the past for everyone interested in exploring the New England experience from the seventeenth century to today. Historic New England owns and operates thirty-six historic homes and landscapes spanning five states. We share the region’s history through vast collections, publications, programs, museum properties, archives, and family stories that document more than 400 years of life in New England.

More information is available here»

New Book | Ladies of the Grand Tour in Naples and Environs

Posted in books by Editor on December 30, 2014

Published by Grimaldi and available from ArtBooks.com:978-88-98199-21-1

Lucio Fino, Ladies of the Grand Tour in Naples and Environs between the 18th and 19th Centuries (Naples: Grimaldi, 2014), 197 pages, ISBN: 978-8898199211, 95€ / $150.

Large volume with 145 color plates, many of which are full-paged reproductions—some previously unpublished—of prints, drawings, paintings, and watercolours from public and private collections. English text.

Call for Papers | The Enlightenment of the Senses

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

From the Calgary-based Enlightenment Group:

The Enlightenment of the Senses
Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta, 6 March 2015

Proposals due by 30 January 2015

For its third symposium, The Enlightenment Group at Mount Royal University invites paper propositions on the enlightenment of the senses. This symposium is also open to undergraduate and graduate students.

The publication of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding in 1690 rejuvenated the relationship between thought and senses by rejecting the concept of innate ideas and establishing sense experience as the basis of knowledge. While the senses were no longer seen as the cause of errors or illusions, this new empiricism was difficult to reconcile with long privileged themes such as the nature of the soul and of the real essence of things. Voltaire and others would make use of those tensions in their critiques of orthodox theology. The work of writers such as Condillac would prolong the effect of Locke’s empiricism throughout the eighteenth century.

Given the influence of this epistemological revolution in Europe across philosophy, science, literature and the arts, this symposium aims at examining the notion of sensualism in the Enlightenment through the lens of various disciplines in order to map out the similarities and the differences in the reception and application of sensualism in the Enlightenment world.

Topics may include, but are not limited to
• Empiricism and science
• Arts and senses
• Sensualism and literature
• Senses and philosophy
• Taste and sensibility
• Social dynamics of sensibility and taste

Please submit abstracts of 250 words by January 30, 2015 to Antoine Eche (aeche@mtroyal.ca)
STUDENTS: submit your abstract by February 17, 2015.

The Enlightenment Group is an interdisciplinary group of MRU scholars engaged in the study of the Eighteenth Century.

Exhibition | Eighteenth-Century Fans from the Lázaro Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 28, 2014


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Thanks to Pierre-Henri Biger for noting this exhibition now on view at the Fundación Lázaro Galdiano:

Abanicos del Siglo XVIII en la Colección Lázaro
Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid, 10 October 2014 — 26 January 2015

Curated by Carmen Espinosa

La exposición Abanicos del siglo XVIII en la Colección Lázaro, comisariada por Carmen Espinosa, conservadora jefe del Museo Lázaro Galdiano, se compone de una cuidada selección de 24 piezas correspondientes a la edad de oro del abanico, elemento fundamental del adorno personal femenino, signo de distinción y de lujo. La gran variedad de abanicos que atesoró José Lázaro es muestra de su incansable búsqueda como coleccionista, de meses e incluso años, para encontrar piezas con las que obsequiar a su esposa, Paula Florido, desde que la conoció en 1901.

Los ejemplares expuestos en Abanicos del siglo XVIII en la Colección Lázaro constituyen un excelente repertorio que permite al visitante apreciar la evolución de este complemento femenino. Se muestran obras tempranas, del primer tercio del siglo XVIII, donde las referencias al barroco clasicista son evidentes; piezas en las que vemos cómo se va fraguando el gusto rococó que dio lugar al abanico galante, fiel reflejo de la vida refinada y placentera de los nobles y burgueses europeos del segundo tercio de la centuria; y otras de estructura sencilla, pero de calidad, que nos adentran en el estilo neoclásico y la moda Imperio.

Las pinturas de los países están realizadas sobre papel o vitela -piel de vaca o ternera, adobada y pulida-, materiales que permiten el plegado, y están inspiradas en asuntos mitológicos, históricos, galantes y pastorales. Los poemas homéricos de la Iliada y la Odisea, unidos a la Eneida de Virgilio y Las Metamorfosis de Ovidio, fueron una fuente inagotable para los pintores de abanicos junto a las gestas de Alejandro Magno cuya figura encarnó los ideales de valor, poder y nobleza. La pintura de los abanicos de estilo Luis XV, identificados con el rococó, refleja la creciente hegemonía de la mujer en la vida social, protagonista indiscutible reflejada en la diosa Venus, personificación del amor, la belleza y la fertilidad; en Juno, diosa del matrimonio y protectora de la mujer; o en Onfalia que hizo que Hércules olvidará su valentía abandonándose a los placeres del amor. De la historia religiosa, habitual en abanicos del primer tercio del siglo, se escogieron relatos del Antiguo Testamento, aquellos donde la mujer desempeñó un papel fundamental como Sansón y Dalila, Salomé, Betsabé o la reina de Saba. A partir de 1750, a la literatura se unen, como fuente de inspiración para los pintores, el teatro, la ópera y el ballet.

Las pinturas de Antoine Coypel, Charles Le Brun y sobre todo las de Jean Antoine Watteau y François Boucher, creadores de la fiesta galante y de la pintura pastoral, son otro gran referente para la decoración de los abanicos dieciochescos. Esta riqueza iconográfica se muestra en los abanicos de la Colección Lázaro y queda patente en esta exposición.

Variedad y calidad están presentes en los abanicos de esta muestra, citemos como ejemplo uno francés con la representación de la Alegoría de las Artes o el italiano con una escena de toilette, que figuran entre las más ostentosas de la colección. También podemos deleitarnos con los elegantes varillajes realizados en marfil o carey con trabajo de piqué -técnica italiana adoptada en Francia e Inglaterra que consiste en la incrustación de pequeños fragmentos de oro y plata-, tallados y calados en forma de rejilla o puntos -grillé / pointillé-, a los que se añaden pequeñas láminas de madreperla, plata dorada o corlada, nácar y, en ocasiones, piedras preciosas en el adorno de las palas y en el clavillo -pasador que sujeta las varillas, las fuentes y palas, del abanico-.

La colección de abanicos, compuesta por noventa piezas, es un caso especial entre todas las que conforman la Colección Lázaro. Sus obras, nos explica Carmen Espinosa, son algo más que objetos de colección, fueron testigos mudos de una relación personal, la de los coleccionistas José Lázaro y Paula Florido: desde que se conocieron, en 1901, y hasta la muerte de Paula en 1932, Lázaro regaló a su esposa abanicos en dos fechas muy señaladas: el 15 de enero, día de su cumpleaños, y el 29 de junio, en que celebraba su onomástica. Estos abanicos responden al gusto de Lázaro que se esforzó por encontrar las piezas con las que agasajar a su esposa aunque, evidentemente, existió cierta complicidad pues conocía su preferencia por la época de Luis XV y Luis XVI. Los abanicos del XVIII estaban considerados, a comienzos del siglo XX y aún hoy, como verdaderas joyas, muy buscadas y de gran valor.

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From La Tienda de Los Museos Online:

Este catálogo recoge la colección completa de abanicos (casi un centenar) en la que están incluidas las 24 piezas de la exposición.

Arte, Lujo y Sociabilidad: La Colección de Abanicos de Paula Florido (Año Edición, 2009), 134 pages, ISBN: 978-8496411906, 12€.

1549_12092014_img1Se trata de una muestra de abanicos de elite, con materiales en su mayoría nobles de textiles, metales, brillantes, países y varillaje bien hecho y torneado, en madera de peral o de carey, con ejemplares muy selectos que abarcan los siglos XVIII y XIX.

Entre los abanicos expuestos también se encontraban cocardas (tipo paipai redondeado y recogido) o pericones, de mayor tamaño, así como abanicos de baraja. En su mayoría abanicos franceses, italianos e ingleses, con escenas bíblicas, mitológicas, heroicas, galantes, de la Comedia del arte y muy pocos con motivos políticos como el del matrimonio de doña Isabel II. En el abanico elegante se buscaban brillos y destellos de luz para impactar en sociedad.

Un bello cuadro de Luis Paret y Alcazar La Tienda (1772), perteneciente al mismo museo, ilustra sobre el modo en que un caballero y una dama adquieren ejemplares de abanico o miniaturas en aquel colmado ilustrado.

Se añaden algunos grabados de Goya que también dan cuenta del uso del abanico en Los Caprichos, objeto de indumentaria de lujo en principio, que paulatinamente se fue popularizando. El abanico era una pieza utilizada por el hombre o la mujer indistintamente, aunque era la mujer la que ofrecía con él todo un código de señales de sociabilidad.


New Book | Architectural Temperance: Spain and Rome, 1700–1759

Posted in books by Editor on December 27, 2014

From Taylor & Francis:

Victor Deupi, Architectural Temperance: Spain and Rome, 1700–1759 (New York: Routledge, 2014), 214 pages, ISBN: 978-0415724395, $155.

9780415724395Architectural Temperance examines relations between Bourbon Spain and papal Rome (1700–1759) through the lens of cultural politics. With a focus on key Spanish architects sent to study in Rome by the Bourbon Kings, the book also discusses the establishment of a program of architectural education at the newly founded Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid.

Victor Deupi explores why a powerful nation like Spain would temper its own building traditions with the more cosmopolitan trends associated with Rome; often at the expense of its own national and regional traditions. Through the inclusion of previously unpublished documents and images that shed light on the theoretical debates which shaped eighteenth-century architecture in Rome and Madrid, Architectural Temperance provides readers with new insights into the cultural history of early modern Spain.

Victor Deupi teaches the history of art and architecture at the School of Architecture and Design at the New York Institute of Technology and in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts
at Fairfield University. His research focuses on cultural politics in
the early modern Ibero-American world.

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Introduction: Architectural Temperance
1  Spain and Rome in the Early Eighteenth Century
2  Italian Grandeur
3  Metropoli Dell’ Universo
4  Iberian Architects in Rome
5  Santissima Trinità Degli Spagnoli in Via Condotti
6  Bourbon Patronage and Italian Influence
7  The Written Word and the Artifact


Exhibition | Giambattista Bodoni: The Invention of Simplicity

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 26, 2014


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From the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal:

Giambattista Bodoni: a invenção da simplicidade
Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon, 29 November 2014 — 21 February 2015

Curated by José de Monterroso Teixeira

A exposição procura, numa abordagem holística, alavancar-se em três protagonistas, que estão na base da sua constituição: Francisco Vieira, o Portuense (1765–1805), Rodrigo de Sousa Coutinho (1745–1812), 1.º conde de Linhares, e Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813). A matéria-prima centra-se no inestimável acervo saído dos prelos do célebre editor parmense que a Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal guarda e que configura um dos seus mais relevantes núcleos de livro antigo.

Giambattista Bodoni dirige a Stamperia Reale de Parma, desde 1768, dando à estampa, vinte anos depois, o marcante e aclamado Manuale Tipografico, que corresponde à codificação da arte tipográfica na sua depuração mais rigorosa. Admirava o talento de Vieira Portuense e convidou-o a colaborar em duas edições fundamentais: Pitture di Antonio Allegri detto il Correggio esistenti in Parma nel monistero di San Paolo (Parma: Nel Regal Palazzo, co’ tipi Bodoniani, 1800) e Le più insigne pitture parmense indicate agli amatori delle belle arti (Parma: Dalla Tipografia Bodoniana, 1809), projetos para os quais o pintor português realizou todos os desenhos do elenco das ilustrações.

Em 1798, já em Londres, Vieira Portuense propõe a Rodrigo de Sousa Coutinho, inspetor da Real Biblioteca Pública da Corte (e da Junta Económica, Administrativa e Literária da Impressão Régia), a aquisição da coleção de edições do amigo e impressor parmense, que entretanto reunira, participando-lhe: «ter eu toda a Colecção Bodoniana tão completa que mesmo Bodoni não haver companha e só me dizia ser como a de [2.º] Lord Spencer [1758–1834] nesta corte [inglesa]», o que vem efetivamente a acontecer, e cuja entrega simbólica, sob as arcadas do Terreiro do Paço e já com António Ribeiro dos Santos como bibliotecário-mor, ocorre em 1802.

Os anais da história da edição reservam a Giambattista Bodoni um lugar distinto como «legislatore del libro» e talentoso fautor da arquitetura gráfica neoclássica.

Bodoni ou a invenção da simplicidade realiza-se em articulação com duas outras exposições, a decorrer simultaneamente no Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga: Il celebre pittore. Vieira Portuense (Desenhos de Parma), que redescobre os trabalhos gráficos da época em que se relacionou com Bodoni; e A Coleção de Franco Maria Ricci, editor de exceção e grande colecionador, profundamente marcado pelas obras de Bodoni e de Jorge Luís Borges.

Exhibition | Splendor et Gloria: Five Exceptional 18th-Century Jewels

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 26, 2014

From Lisbon’s MNAA:

Splendor et Gloria: Five Exceptional 18th-Century Jewels / Cinco Joias Setecentistas de Excepção
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, 24 September 2014 — 11 January 2015

Curated by Anísio Franco, António Filipe Pimentel and Luisa Penalva

capa_splendor_et_gloria_stp_2014One of the MNAA’s most ambitious projects, this exhibition illustrates the artistic splendour of the court of Lisbon during the 18th century and reflects the role of several exceptional artists: the architects João Frederico Ludovice and Mateus Vicente de Oliveira, the sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro and the crown jewellers Adam and Ambrose Pollet.

Reunited for the first time, the five pieces of exception are the Bemposta Monstrance, a masterpiece from the MNAA collection; the Patriarchal Cathedral Monstrance (Lisbon); the Halo of Our Lord of the Stations of the Cross (Lisbon); the Halo of the Lord Holy Christ of Miracles (Ponta Delgada); and the Habit of the Three Military Orders (Ajuda National Palace, Lisbon).

The exhibition aims to consolidate the advances of the most recent historiography, as addressed within The Prodigious Commission. From the Patriarchal Basilica to the Royal Chapel of St. John the Baptist (Museu of São Roque nucleus), an exhibition which the MNAA and the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa-Museu de São Roque organised in 2013.

The exhibits in the Tecto Pintado Room (Painted Ceiling Room)—so named to flaunt part of the original quadratura produced by the Tuscan painter Vincenzo Bacherelli (1672–1745)—have the study, conservation and recovery of the pieces on display and the MNAA collection as a common foundation.

Exhibition | Decorated Paper

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 25, 2014


French xylographic and polychrome paper. 15 x 21 cm. Second half of the eighteenth century. Black impression. Blue, red, green, pink and yellow applied with stencils. Signed: A PARIS CHEZ LES (Palma: Manuel Ripoll Billón Collection)
More information is available here»

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Now on view in Madrid:

El Papel Decorado: Técnicas tradicionales y creación contemporánea
Imprenta Municipal—Artes del Libro, Madrid, 2 December 2014 — 12 April 2015

Los papeles decorados a mano, el papel de guardas, marmoleado o producido con otras técnicas es el objeto de esta exposición, siendo la primera vez que se realiza en España un proyecto que aborda el tema del papel decorado de forma total: historia y creación actual.

cartel INVITACION copiaA través de más de 300 obras expuestas, entre piezas históricas y obras contemporáneas, explicamos la evolución del papel decorado: sus antecedentes históricos, que se remontan al siglo XII en Oriente, su desarrollo en Occidente con la invención de la imprenta y el aumento del número de ejemplares que era necesario encuadernar, hasta llegar a nuestros días, en que una parte de la producción de este tipo de papeles ha trascendido su carácter utilitario y meramente decorativo o auxiliar de la encuadernación, pasando a constituir nuevas técnicas de creación artística con entidad propia.

Durante todos estos años se fueron diversificando las técnicas y naciendo estilos decorativos diferentes, que enriquecieron esta manifestación plástica, estrechamente vinculada a la historia del libro, ya que nace para decorar las hojas que servían como guardas de cada uno de los ejemplares encuadernados. La exposición quiere englobar todos estos aspectos y resaltar, como colofón final, la vigencia de esta técnica en la actualidad recorriendo el panorama mundial de esta expresión artística con obras de artistas contemporáneos procedentes de diversos países: España, Turquía, Canada, Estados Unidos, Sudáfrica, Australia o Alemania.

Para más información visita el blog papelesdecoradosenmadrid.

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Marbled paper, eighteenth century, the little comb pattern or paper from Germany, better know after Woolnough as 'Old Dutch' pattern with swirls in frieze shape, endleaves of the book: Esopo, Fábulas (Amsterdam, Etienne Roger, 1714). 25 x 19 cm.

Marbled paper, eighteenth century, the little comb pattern or paper from Germany, better know after Woolnough as ‘Old Dutch’ pattern with swirls in frieze shape, endleaves of the book: Esopo, Fábulas (Amsterdam, Etienne Roger, 1714). 25 x 19 cm.

Traditional Techniques of Paper Decoration
Xylographic Papers
Brocade Papers
Splashed Papers
Paste Papers
Marbled Papers
a. Early examples of marbling from Japan and Turkey
b. Marbling in Europe and eighteenth-century patterns
c. The eighteenth century in Spain: the Spanish wave
d. The British-Spanish pattern
e. Changing the century: chemical additives
f. Charles Woolnough and British marbling
g. Josef Halfer and the new marbling
h. Christopher Weimann (1946–1988)
i. Marbling uses

Marbled paper, eighteenth century, 24 x 17 cm. The 'commun' pattern, or swirls.

Marbled paper, eighteenth century, 24 x 17 cm. The ‘commun’ pattern, or swirls.

Contemporary Paste Papers
a. Copy and update of traditional patterns
b. Order and chaos
c. Abstract and figurative painting
d. Background painting

Contemporary Marbled Papers
a. Contemporary Suminagashi and Suimonga
b. Floral marbling
c. Calligraphic marbling
d. Spanish marbling
e. Chemical additives
f. New marbling
g. Vignettes
h. Landscapes
i. Figurative marbling

An English summary of each section is available here

Exhibition | Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 24, 2014

In the spirit of marking the 250th anniversary of Horace Walpole’s ’s The Castle of Otranto (published on Christmas Eve, 1764), I draw your attention to this upcoming exhibition, with best wishes for keeping the ghosts of Christmas at bay. CH

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album
The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 26 February 2015 — 25 May 2014

Curated by Juliet Wilson-Bareau and Stephanie Buck

1377.mediumThe Courtauld Gallery presents a groundbreaking exhibition which reunites for the first time all of the surviving drawings from one of Goya’s celebrated private albums. The albums were never intended to be seen beyond a small circle of friends, giving Goya the freedom to create images which range from the humorous, to the macabre and the bitingly satirical. With its themes of witchcraft, dreams and nightmares.

The ‘Witches and Old Women Album’ offers an important perspective on the development of Goya’s interest in old age, the fantastic and the diabolical. Above all, the drawings reveal his penetrating observation of human nature.

Additional information is available at The Guardian (10 December 2014).

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From Paul Holberton:

Juliet Wilson-Bareau with Stephanie Buck, Reva Wolf and Ed Payne, Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2015), 200 pages, ISBN: 978-1907372766, £30.

Goya, Nightmare; Witches and Old Women; Album (D), page 20, ca. 1819–23. Brush, black ink, and wash on Netherlandish laid paper (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1919)

Goya, Nightmare, ‘Witches and Old Women’ Album (D), page 20, ca. 1819–23. Brush, black ink, and wash on Netherlandish laid paper (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1919)

One of the masterpieces of The Courtauld Gallery’s collection of Spanish drawings is a sheet known as Cantar y bailar (Singing and dancing), page 3 from Goya’s Album D, also known as the ‘Witches and Old Women’ album. Bringing together all the extant album pages, currently numbered up to 23, this catalogue proposes a reconstruction of the album that would include the sheets from which Goya’s page numbers have been erased or trimmed away.

Goya began to create ‘journal albums’ of drawings relatively late in life, after the shattering illness that left him stone deaf before the age of fifty. It was a practice he would sustain until his death, creating eight albums (named with letters A to H) that originally included a total of some 550 drawings. Visually, technically and intellectually coherent, these albums are unified in their discrete techniques and types of support, and paginated (after the first). In these album pages Goya committed to paper his views, with or without written comments, on human nature and the world around him. Each album has its own distinctive subject matter, style and technique.

The later history of the eight albums, already expertly chronicled, remains under investigation. The disbound album sheets were remounted in large volumes by Goya’s son, then sold en bloc by his grandson. Following their final dispersal by Federico de Madrazo and Valentín Carderera in the 1860s and 1870s, many gaps remain in all the albums.

This exhibition and the research underpinning it on Album D are the pilot for an international project for the reconstruction of Goya’s graphic oeuvre. The publication will test the extent of Album D and explore the possible sequence and thematic coherence of the sheets. The individual Album D drawings will be reproduced as a proposed reconstructed sequence, each with detailed catalogue entry and technical information. In addition, the publication will define the context of the album by including a number of closely related works by Goya.

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