Conference | Origins and the Legitimacy of Architecture in Europe

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on April 9, 2015

From the research program’s website (it includes lots of interesting materials in addition to details of the upcoming conference). . .

Origins and the Legitimacy of Architecture in Europe, 1750–1850
Leiden University and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, 1–2 May 2015

Organised by Maarten Delbeke, Sigrid de Jong, and Linda Bleijenberg

poster-v6From Thursday 30 April to Saturday 2 May 2015 we will host an international conference at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, to conclude our research program at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS). Supported with generous funding from NWO, the project aimed at understanding how, between 1750 and 1850, changing views about the origins of civilization and the arts have affected the theory and practice of architecture in Europe. More in particular, the project aimed to understand how these views of origins, and especially the primitivism they often imply, have been adopted in architectural discourse to buttress the legitimacy of architecture in society.

The questions the conference wishes to address include: how do architectural origins relate to questions of architecture’s legitimacy as an artistic and cultural practice in the period under consideration? Why are origins deemed relevant to address these questions? To which particular architectural problems does the question of origins pertain? With which intellectual contexts and debates do architectural theory and practice enter in dialogue through the matter of origins? How do architectural origins relate to the primitivism that is manifest across a wide range of intellectual and artistic practices of the period? How do notions about origins sustained in historiography writ large affect architectural history and ideas about the historicity of buildings?

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F R I D A Y ,  1  M A Y  2 0 1 5

9.30  Registration and coffee

10.00  Welcome by Maarten Delbeke

10.15  Session I. Myths
• Eric Moormann, ‘Mehr Modell und Puppenschrank als Gebäude’: How Pompeii Did Not Enhance Architectural Studies in the Eighteenth Century
• Hendrik Ziegler, Goethe and the Classical Canon in Architecture
• Sigrid de Jong, Myths of Origins: Stonehenge in the Royal Academy’s Architectural Histories

12.30  Lunch break

14.00  Session II. Histories
• Erika Naginski, On the Colonial Origins of Architecture: Building the ‘Maison Rustique’ in Cayenne, French Guiana
• Matteo Burioni, Imaginary Geographies and Imagined Beginnings: Pietro della Valle, Fischer von Erlach, Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand
• Petra Brouwer, Origins of Architecture in the First Architectural History Survey Texts of James Fergusson, Franz Kugler, and Wilhelm Lübke

17.00  Book presentations, Sigrid de Jong and Caroline van Eck

18.00  Keynote Lecture
• Mari Hvattum, Heteronomic Historicism

19.00  Reception

S A T U R D A Y ,  2  M A Y  2 0 1 5

9.30  Registration and coffee

10.00  Session III: Objects and Language
• Christopher Drew Armstrong, Theorizing the Orient: The Discourse on Origins, Language and Identity in the Paris Académie des Inscriptions
• Maarten Delbeke, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture around 1820
• Ralph Ghoche, ‘La pensée simple que présente un cône’: Unity and Simultaneity in Simon-Claude Constant-Dufeux’s Tomb of Dumont d’Urville

12.15  Lunch break

13.45  Session IV: Religions and Rituals
• Tomas Macsotay, The Distracted Believer and the Return to the First Basilicae: Marqués de Ureña’s Reflexiones sobre la arquitectura, ornato, y música del templo (1785)
• Caroline van Eck, Quatremère de Quincy on the Origins of Architecture, Sculpture and Society: The Debate about Primitivism among Enlightenment Critics of Religion
• Richard Wittman, The Purity of Origins: Architecture in Rome after Napoleon


British Museum Director, Neil MacGregor, to Retire

Posted in museums by Editor on April 9, 2015

From The British Museum:

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum. Copyright Jason Bell.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum. Copyright Jason Bell.

Neil MacGregor announced to his colleagues at the British Museum this morning [8 April 2015] that he has decided to step down as Director at the end of December 2015.

MacGregor said, “It’s a very difficult thing to leave the British Museum. Working with this collection and above all with the colleagues here has been the greatest privilege of my professional life. But I’ve decided that now is the time to retire from full-time employment and the end of this year seems a good time to go. The new building has been completed, so we at last have proper exhibition space, new conservation and scientific facilities, and first class accommodation for our growing research activities. We have built strong partnerships with fellow museums across the UK, and are rapidly expanding our programme of loans and training around the world.

The Museum is now ready to embark on a new phase—deploying the collection to present different histories of the world. It is an exhilarating prospect, and it will start with the new Islamic Galleries and with plans for the future of the Old Reading Room.

The Museum is in a strong position to respond to these energising challenges. It has a distinguished international Board under a new Chairman Sir Richard Lambert. To everything it does the BM brings the highest levels of professionalism. Around the world it is a valued partner and the Board has clearly defined the British Museum’s role as a worldwide resource for the understanding of humanity, to be made available as widely and as freely as possible.”

MacGregor added, “Although I shall no longer be working full-time I shall be involved in a number of projects. I shall be working with the BBC and the BM on a new Radio 4 series on Faith and Society. I shall be chairing an Advisory Board to make recommendations to the German Minister of Culture, Monika Grütters, on how the Humboldt-Forum, drawing on the outstanding resources of the Berlin collections, can become a place where different narratives of world cultures can be explored and debated. In Mumbai, I look forward to working on the presentation of world cultures with the CSMVS Museum and its Director Mr Sabyasachi Mukherjee under whose tenure it has emerged as one of the finest and most active museums in South/South East Asia.”

The full press release is available here»

New Book | Graffitis: Inscrire son nom à Rome, XVIe–XIXe siècle

Posted in books by Editor on April 8, 2015

From the publisher:

Charlotte Guichard, Graffitis: Inscrire son nom à Rome, XVIe–XIXe siècle (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2014), 176 pages, ISBN: 978‑2021172027 20€.

Guichard-Charlotte-Grafftis-coverVues de près, les peintures antiques de la villa Adriana à Tivoli, les fresques de Raphaël au palais du Vatican, mais aussi celles de la galerie des Carrache dans le palais Farnèse, et tant d’autres, offrent un spectacle étonnant. Ce sont des œuvres striées de noms, de dates et même d’esquisses, très différentes des images lisses, intactes et éclatantes auxquelles les livres d’art nous ont habitués. Les graffitis y sont omniprésents. Ils furent réalisés par des artistes parfois célèbres, au cours de leur période de formation à Rome, par des amateurs lors du Grand Tour, par des soldats ou des touristes de passage à Rome entre les XVIe et XIXe siècles.

Ces graffitis nous mènent au cœur de la tradition artistique européenne et occidentale. Apposés sur des œuvres majeures, ils sont la survivance de gestes d’empreinte, d’attestation et d’inscription, de signatures et d’écritures individuelles. Trace urbaine griffant les hauts lieux de Rome, le graffiti manifeste un rapport matériel et familier aux œuvres.

Ce livre invite à un autre regard sur l’art et son histoire : non pas esthétique mais archéologique ; un regard de biais, littéralement. Ainsi rendus à leur visibilité, les graffitis donnent à voir une autre histoire du chef-d’œuvre, matérielle, tactile et anthropologique.

Lauréate de la villa Médicis (2012–13), Charlotte Guichard est chargée de recherche au CNRS (Institut d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, Paris). Ses travaux portent sur l’histoire de l’art et du patrimoine au XVIIIe siècle. Elle a notamment publié Les Amateurs d’art à Paris au XVIIIe siècle (Champ Vallon, 2008).

New Book | The Gardens of the British Working Class

Posted in books by Editor on April 7, 2015

From Yale UP:

Margaret Willes, The Gardens of the British Working Class (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 416 pages, ISBN: 978-0300187847, $40.

9780300187847This magnificently illustrated people’s history celebrates the extraordinary feats of cultivation by the working class in Britain, even if the land they toiled, planted, and loved was not their own. Spanning more than four centuries, from the earliest records of the laboring classes in the country to today, Margaret Willes’s research unearths lush gardens nurtured outside rough workers’ cottages and horticultural miracles performed in blackened yards, and reveals the ingenious, sometimes devious, methods employed by determined, obsessive, and eccentric workers to make their drab surroundings bloom. She also explores the stories of the great philanthropic industrialists who provided gardens for their workforces, the fashionable rich stealing the gardening ideas of the poor, alehouse syndicates and fierce rivalries between vegetable growers, flower-fanciers cultivating exotic blooms on their city windowsills, and the rich lore handed down from gardener to gardener through generations. This is a sumptuous record of the myriad ways in which the popular cultivation of plants, vegetables, and flowers has played—and continues to play—an integral role in everyday British life.

Margaret Willes is an enthusiastic gardener and the former publisher at the National Trust.

Call for Articles | Art and Art History Libraries

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 7, 2015

From H-ArtHist:

Art and Art History Libraries
2016 Issue of Perspective: La Revue de l’INHA

Proposals due by 15 June 2015; finished papers due by 1 June 2016

The next special issue of Perspective (the journal of the Institut national d’histoire de l’art) will focus on topics relating to art and art-history libraries and their specificity as bibliographic, artistic, and documentary resources. We will examine these places, which make information pertaining to our discipline available to artists and researchers, while at the same time endeavoring to conserve their collections of texts and images. This double purpose requires examining the practices and profiles of users, the way in which people visit these institutions, either by consulting the images in reading rooms or websites (consultation of reproductions as opposed to reading monographs, digital access to works, etc.), and also a study of their collections: in addition to books and magazines, art libraries also preserve prints, photographs, manuscripts, artist books, etc.

The interest of such a project for an art-historical review lies partly in the difficulty in defining the exact scope of an art library. However, the planned reopening by the INHA in 2016 of the Salle Labrouste, which will house one of the most important art libraries in the world in terms of its number of volumes, its symbolic importance, and its accessibility, offers a unique opportunity for a collective historical and aesthetic reflection on the forms and ambitions of these collections of art and knowledge, past and present. Nevertheless, this issue will not be limited exclusively to the example of the INHA. On the contrary, consistent with the editorial philosophy of Perspective,
the volume will contain articles that cover a historical range in their study of art libraries in general and present the most innovative studies from an international standpoint. At the same time, we aim to publish original papers on the place of the library in the work of artists and architects.

We would like to suggest several potentially interesting paths, without excluding others: issues related to the conservation and dissemination of ephemera and small publications such as invitation cards, almanacs, booklets, announcements, etc.; the study of exceptional bibliophiles such as, for example, Doucet, Wyder, and Oechslin; the correlation between library holdings and research topics (the Mesnil collection given to the Warburg Institute and research projects at University College, London in the 2000s); the study of art libraries during wartime similar to research on artworks plundered during such extreme periods; evaluation of the losses and gains following the merger of disparate collections originally belonging to art schools, museums, universities (for example, the INHA Library); the particular fate of iconographic documentation (Bildarchiv Foto Marburg); the recent foundation of specialized research centers with libraries created from scratch like the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal; and also the inclusion of various media resources, including recordings, such as oral archives at the British Library (artists’ interviews) or performance videos in the Kandinsky Library of the Centre Georges Pompidou. Finally, projects are certainly needed from the perspective of the history of art education, on specialized establishments for art craftsmen such as the Bibliotheque Forney and the Ratti Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, without neglecting the opportunity offered by digital technology in new ways of disseminating collections.

The proposals could range from a synthetic short article focusing on a specific aspect of the art library, or on relations between art and the library in a given period and in a particular geographic area (25,000 characters), to a detailed and multidisciplinary study of a moment in art library history, or even the problematization of their absence in time and space (45,000 characters).

The intention of this call for papers is not to cover all possible topics exhaustively: all proposals are welcome. However, within the framework of an art-historical review dedicated to recent international research in the field, we wish to emphasize historical and aesthetic approaches, rather than research relevant to library studies proper. Projects in whatever language—Perspective takes responsibility for translations—will be reviewed by the scientific committee consisting of Laurent Baridon, Ewa Bobrowska, Anne-Élisabeth Buxtorf, Penelope Curtis, Godehard Janzig, Thomas Kirchner, Rémi Labrusse, Anne Lafont, Johanne Lamoureux, Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Michel Melot, Pierre-Michel Menger, Philippe Saunier, Jean-Claude Schmitt, Valérie Sueur-Hermel, Veerle Thielemans and Bernard Vouilloux.

Please submit your proposals (2000–3000 character summary and a 2–3 line biography) to revue-perspective@inha.fr up to and including June 15, 2015. Full texts of accepted contributions will need to be sent by June 1, 2016.


Call for Panel Proposals | Creating Markets, Collecting Art

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 7, 2015

From AAH:

Creating Markets, Collecting Art
Christie’s King Street, London, 14–15 July 2016

Proposals due by 1 June 2015

To commemorate the traditional founding date of Christie’s auction house in 1766, a two-day conference, 14–15 July 2016, will be held at Christie’s King Street, focusing on the theme of Creating Markets and Collecting Art.

Christie’s Education is known for its collaborative and cross-disciplinary approach to the study of works of art through its Master’s programmes in the History of Art and its Markets, Art-world Practice and Art, Law and Business internationally. This conference hopes to explore this cross-disciplinary area, looking at the interrelationship of commerce, collecting and the academy.

Sessions should engage with current scholarship on any aspect of the art market, in particular on creating markets, collecting, regulation and cultural heritage, from the eighteenth century to the present day, and in all geographical regions. Session proposals may address the following:
• the role of the intermediary in the structure of art ecosystems
• the economics of taste and its relationship to value(s)
• how artefacts are transformed into works of art by the market and by enthusiasts and collectors
• the role of regulation and the law
• the auction house as cultural space
• current theoretical debates surrounding ‘aura’ and the making/meaning of authenticity

Session proposals should include a title and abstract (maximum 250 words), the contact details of the convenor(s) and a brief biography. Please submit the Session Proposal Form by e-mail to the Conference Secretary (aking@christies.com) by 1st June 2015. This will be followed by a Call for Papers in July 2015.


New Book | Académie Royale: A History in Portraits

Posted in books by Editor on April 6, 2015

From Ashgate:

Hannah Williams, Académie Royale: A History in Portraits (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), 394 pages, ISBN: 978-1409457428, $110.

9781409457428From its establishment in 1648 until its disbanding in 1793 after the French Revolution, the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture was the centre of the Parisian art world. Taking the reader behind the scenes of this elite bastion of French art theory, education, and practice, this engaging study uncovers the fascinating histories—official and unofficial—of that artistic community.

Through an innovative approach to portraits—their values, functions, and lives as objects—this book explores two faces of the Académie. Official portraits grant us insider access to institutional hierarchies, ideologies, rituals, customs, and everyday experiences in the Académie’s Louvre apartments. Unofficial portraits in turn reveal hidden histories of artists’ personal relationships: family networks, intimate friendships, and bitter rivalries. Drawing on both art-historical and anthropological frames of analysis, this book offers insightful interpretations of portraits read through and against documentary evidence from the archives to create a rich story of people, places, and objects.

Theoretically informed, rigorously researched, and historically grounded, this book sheds new light on the inner workings of the Académie. Its discoveries and compelling narrative make an invaluable and accessible contribution to our understanding of this pre-eminent European institution and the social lives of artists in early modern Paris.

Hannah Williams is Junior Research Fellow in Art History at St John’s College, University of Oxford.

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Introduction: Face-to-Face with the Académie Royale

Part I. The Official Face
1  An Institutional Image: Portrait of the Artist as an Academician
2  Rituals of Initiation: Becoming and Being in the Académie
3  On the Wall: Portraits, Spaces, and Everyday Encounters at the Académie

Part II. The Unofficial Face
4  Bloodlines: Portraits of Family
5  Reciprocal Acts: Portraits of Friendship
6  Facing Off: Portraits of Rivalry

Epilogue: The End of an Institution


Call for Papers | CIHA 2016 Session, The Other and the Foreign

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 6, 2015

Below is the general Call for Papers for the 2016 meeting in Beijing of the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA), along with details for the session on “The Other and the Foreign.” Many of the 21 sessions will be of interest and the full CFPs is available here.

34th CIHA World Congress of Art History: Terms
Beijing, 15–22 September 2016

Proposals due by 30 June 2015

The Chinese CIHA Committee will host the 34th CIHA World Congress of Art History in Beijing and invites art historians from all over the world to attend and discuss Terms. Scholars from a vast cross-section of disciplines and fields of professional interest are called upon to discuss together ways of seeing, describing, analyzing, and classifying art works. The topics are divided into 21 sections. The sections should enable comparisons to be made between different viewpoints and methods. Each panel will compose a program reflecting the CIHA’s commitment to the idea of diversity, which should allow talks on different genres, epochs, and countries to be brought together. Please submit the abstract of your paper directly to the chairs with a copy to info@ciha2016.org before 30 June 2015.

Session 14: The Other and the Foreign: Contact, Curiosity, and Creative Exchange

Session Chairs
Petra Chu, Seton Hall University, New Jersey (petra.chu@shu.ed)
DING Ning, Peking University, Beijing (dingning@pku.edu.cn)
LIANG Shuhan (Junior Chair), Peking Univeristy, Beijing (liangtiantian@hotmail.com)
Jennifer Milam, Sydney University (jennifer.milam@sydney.edu.au)

This session is concerned with the representation of the ‘other’ and the ‘foreign’ in art as well as with the reception of ‘other’ and ‘foreign’ art forms. It acknowledges that, in a global world, the notion of ‘othering’ is not restricted to the geographically or ethnically distant (‘foreign’), but occurs within one’s own (geographically defined) culture between different social classes, genders, age groups, and religious affiliations. More generally, the session focuses on the phenomenon of artistic encounter and exchange. While its parameters are worldwide, papers on all topics related to the ‘other’/’foreign’ are solicited in as far as they pertain to the creation and reception of art and/or the transmission of creative ideas. Papers on the contacts between specific regions or the role and place of individual artists in the process of artistic exchange are welcomed.

Questions to be addressed may include but are not limited to the following:
• Can we distinguish universal paradigms for the ways in which ‘the other’ is represented in art, globally?
• In the global history of art, how have animals been used as devices for ‘othering’, not solely as subject matter, but as a means through which artists and their audiences engage with the nature of self—other relationships?
• How can we improve our theoretical models of the reception of foreign and, more generally, ‘other’ art?’
• Are there degrees of ‘otherness,‘ and if so, can we measure them? Can a work produced within one’s own (geographically defined) culture be just as ‘other’ as, or more so than, a work produced in a ‘foreign’ culture?
• How can we theorize ‘artistic exchange?’
• How do we define ‘hybridity’ in art? Is more than one definition possible?
• What is the relation/difference between exchanges between cultural centers and those that happen at peripheries, specifically in connection with ‘hybrid’ art forms?
• To what extent can artistic differences and sameness be accounted for through geography?


Researchers Revisit Fragonard’s ‘Young Girl Reading’

Posted in museums by Editor on April 6, 2015

Press release (2 April 2015) from Washington’s NGA:

Researchers were able to establish that Portrait of a Woman with a Book existed as a ‘complete’ painting for at least six months before it was changed into Young Girl Reading. The composition once showed a woman with her head turned outwards, looking at the spectator. She wore a large feathered headdress dotted with colored beads, a thinner neck ruffle than in the subsequent painting, and she was illuminated by a frontal light source. An amorphous folding shape in the background behind her was suggested to be a curtain on the basis of precedents in 17th- and 18th-century French portraiture.

Different Composition in Jean-Honoré Fragonard's Young Girl Reading

Details of Young Girl Reading, the near infrared hyperspectral image (HSI) and the x-ray florescence (XRF) scan for the element mercury (thought to show the presence of vermilion) are shown alongside a simulation of Portrait of a Woman with a Book, generated by cross-referencing various imaging techniques (simulated image by Becca Goodman and Denis Doorly).

One of the most beloved paintings in the National Gallery’s permanent collection, Young Girl Reading (c. 1770) by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, shows a young woman in profile, reading the book in her hand. It is now clear that a completely different face was painted underneath, that of an older woman looking out towards the viewer. Using groundbreaking imaging techniques and new art historical investigation, Yuriko Jackall, assistant curator of French paintings, John Delaney, senior imaging scientist, and Michael Swicklik, senior paintings conservator, all at the National Gallery of Art, recovered and reconstructed this first composition, a fully-realized, ‘lost’ painting newly referred to as Portrait of a Woman with a Book.

Their research was sparked by the discovery, at a June 2012 Paris auction, of a drawing by Fragonard showing the Washington picture as a woman looking out at the viewer. The drawing further indicated that the Gallery’s painting once belonged to a series of 18 so-called ‘fantasy figures’, an ensemble painted for a single commission about which many details are still unknown. Today, these works have been dispersed among distinguished private collections and public institutions such as the Musée du Louvre, the Clark Art Institute, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In the 1980s, x-radiography had indicated the presence of another composition beneath Young Girl Reading, but many details including the extent to which the artist had altered his canvas remained unknown. In the last decade, innovations in imaging technologies have provided completely new ways to examine paintings. Using a diverse range of methodologies combining traditional high-resolution color imaging, digital x-radiography, and cross-sectional analysis with chemical information from Delaney’s newly developed, high sensitivity, near infrared hyperspectral imaging (HSI) camera and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) scanning sensor, Jackall, Delaney, and Swicklik investigated the process by which Fragonard changed one composition into the other. The technology was developed recently at the Gallery as part of an ongoing initiative to create new analytical imaging tools for conservation led by Delaney. Funding was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon and Samuel S. Kress Foundations and a grant from the National Science Foundation to the Gallery and George Washington University (GWU). Image-registration algorithms designed by GWU’s Murray Loew and his team aided in the reconstruction of the prior composition.

At crucial points in their work, Jackall, Delaney, and Swicklik relied upon the expertise of colleagues across the Gallery, particularly in the departments of science, conservation, and imaging and visual services. Swicklik, who had previously written a pioneering article on the use of varnish in French painting, was critical in making sense of Fragonard’s painting technique. Jackall, an expert in 18th-century French painting, brought to the project an unusually deep network of contacts in France, having studied and worked there for a decade prior to her move to Washington, DC. In addition to conducting archival research, she consulted the Paris-based Fragonard specialist, Marie-Anne Dupuy-Vachey, one of the first to discover the drawing when it appeared at the Paris auction.

Moving forward on their research on the ‘fantasy figures’ and Young Girl Reading, Jackall, Delaney, and Swicklik plan to investigate other works in Fragonard’s series, in cooperation with institutions and individuals. Young Girl Reading was a gift of Mrs. Ailsa Mellon Bruce in memory of her father, Mr. Andrew W. Mellon, in 1961. The National Gallery owns 13 paintings, 21 drawings, and 17 prints by Fragonard.

The findings of Jackall, Delaney, and Swicklik, as well as Dupuy-Vachey’s preliminary study of the place of the drawing in Fragonard’s artistic practice (translated from the French by Jackall), appear in the April 2015 issue of The Burlington Magazine.

Exhibition | Landscapes of the Mind: British Landscapes

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 5, 2015

Sir Brooke Boothby 1781 by Joseph Wright of Derby 1734-1797

Joseph Wright of Derby, Sir Brooke Boothby, 1781 (London: Tate)

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As noted at ArtDaily:

Landscapes of the Mind: British Landscapes from the Tate Collection, 1690–2007 / Paisajismo británico. Colección Tate, 1690–2007
Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City, 25 March — 21 June 2015

On March 25th Landscapes of the Mind: British Landscape Painting, Tate Collection, 1690–2007 was presented for the first time ever in Mexico City, an exhibition organized by Tate in association with Museo Nacional de Arte, as part of the celebrations of the Dual Year between Mexico and the United Kingdom. The exhibition presents 111 artworks by British and European artists, with a plurality of techniques (painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture/installation, etc.) which ponder the evolution of British landscape in art history. The term ‘Britain’ is understood as the geographical entity of the British Isles, i.e., the archipelago that includes England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, before the independence of the latter in 1921.

CA9jouTUIAAEHfx.jpg_largeThis genre was explored in Britain during the 16th century with the use of documents describing the topography, geology, history, and legends of the said land. It gained popularity throughout the 17th century, with the discoveries of explorers, naturalists, and merchants who helped expand the limits of the British nation to the four parts of the world. By the late 18th century, the landscape genre had become a dominant trend in Britain.

According to Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, “the reasons for the predominance of landscape in British visual culture are many and varied: the extraordinary diversity of physical landscapes in such a relatively small geographic area; acute sense of loss of a pastoral and rural ideal world because of rapid industrialization during the 18th and 19th centuries; identification of the aristocracy of classical culture field; the immense impact of the natural sciences, and at the same time, the belief that close observation revealed both the moral and the hidden spiritual truth behind appearances”.

The nine topics developed by curator Richard Humphreys aim to introduce British culture through great classical painters of the 18th century such as Thomas Gainsborough; continuing with artworks of romantic and impressionist artists of the 19th century, like John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, John Martin, John Singer Sargent and James Tissot; and finally addressing modern and contemporary landscapes by artists such as David Inshaw, Sir Stanley Spencer, and Paul Nash.

Considering the importance of a current view on the history of landscape and the need for a continued dialogue between the ages; in addition to meeting the great interest of a younger generation in discovering the artistic production of its own time, Dr. Agustín Arteaga, Director of the Museo Nacional de Arte, managed the incorporation of David Hockney’s Bigger Trees Near Warter or /ou Peinture sur le Motif pour le Nouvel Age Post- Photographique. In 1984, Museo Tamayo presented the traveling exhibition Hockney Paints the Stage, an exhibit shown after the failed attempt to include a graphic series of nudes during the Cultural Olympiad in 1968, which were eventually censored. After visiting Mexico City in 1984, Hockney traveled to the state of Oaxaca, where he produced a series of paintings and graphics inspired by a hotel in Acatlán. Tate preserves in its collection some works from this series. Nearly 30 years after, Hockney returns to Mexico with his biggest artwork accomplished so far: a picture of monumental proportions, more than 4.5 by 12 meters, consisting of 50 paintings, done in six weeks in 2007 for the Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of London, and donated to Tate the following year, along with two digital reproductions. The image depicts a landscape of East Yorkshire, a region where the artist lived, shortly before the arrival of spring when the trees begin to sprout.

Alongside Landscapes of the Mind, a comparative exercise linking landscape tradition in Britain and Mexico is included, this latter is exhibited as a dialogue with the newly renovated galleries of the Museo Nacional de Arte in the permanent exhibit. The relationship was established through the canvas Mexico Valley (1837) of the London traveler artist Daniel Thomas Egerton. His work coexists with a selection of paintings by the Mexican artist José María Velasco.

The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalog print run of 2,000 copies, consisting of 142 black/white and color images, with texts by curator Richard Humphreys and edited by Museo Nacional de Arte. As part of the show, Museo Nacional de Arte offers an Academic Program aimed at a wide audience, including a lecture every Thursday at 17:00 with varied presentations including one by the curator Richard Humphreys; a commented film series of the best of British cinematography; weekend and specialized workshops; interpretive materials downloadable via the website, as well as guided tours.


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