New Book | Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local

Posted in books by Editor on January 29, 2016

From Princeton UP:

Gülru Necipoğlu & Alina Payne, eds., Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 464 pages, ISBN: 978-0691167282, $60 / £42.

k10693This lavishly illustrated volume is the first major global history of ornament from the Middle Ages to today. Crossing historical and geographical boundaries in unprecedented ways and considering the role of ornament in both art and architecture, Histories of Ornament offers a nuanced examination that integrates medieval, Renaissance, baroque, and modern Euroamerican traditions with their Islamic, Indian, Chinese, and Mesoamerican counterparts. At a time when ornament has re-emerged in architectural practice and is a topic of growing interest to art and architectural historians, the book reveals how the long history of ornament illuminates its global resurgence today.

Organized by thematic sections on the significance, influence, and role of ornament, the book addresses ornament’s current revival in architecture, its historiography and theories, its transcontinental mobility in medieval and early modern Europe and the Middle East, and its place in the context of industrialization and modernism. Throughout, Histories of Ornament emphasizes the portability and politics of ornament, figuration versus abstraction, cross-cultural dialogues, and the constant negotiation of local and global traditions.

Featuring original essays by more than two dozen scholars from around the world, this authoritative and wide-ranging book provides an indispensable reference on the histories of ornament in a global context. Contributors include: Michele Bacci (Fribourg University); Anna Contadini (University of London); Thomas B. F. Cummins (Harvard); Chanchal Dadlani (Wake Forest); Daniela del Pesco (Universita degli Studi Roma Tre); Vittoria Di Palma (USC); Anne Dunlop (University of Melbourne); Marzia Faietti (University of Bologna); María Judith Feliciano (independent scholar); Finbarr Barry Flood (NYU); Jonathan Hay (NYU); Christopher P. Heuer (Clark Art); Rémi Labrusse (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense); Gülru Necipoğlu (Harvard); Marco Rosario Nobile (University of Palermo); Oya Pancaroğlu (Bosphorus University); Spyros Papapetros (Princeton); Alina Payne (Harvard); Antoine Picon (Harvard); David Pullins (Harvard); Jennifer L. Roberts (Harvard); David J. Roxburgh (Harvard); Hashim Sarkis (MIT); Robin Schuldenfrei (Courtauld); Avinoam Shalem (Columbia); and Gerhard Wolf (KHI, Florence).

Gülru Necipoglu is the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art and director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University. She is the author of The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton) and The Topkapi Scroll: Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture. Alina Payne is the Alexander P. Misheff Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University and Paul E. Geier Director of Villa I Tatti, The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti in Florence. She is the author of The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance and From Ornament to Object: Genealogies of Architectural Modernism.

Exhibition | Hubert Robert, 1733–1808

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on January 29, 2016


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From the National Gallery of Art:

Hubert Robert (1733–1808), un peintre visionnaire
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 7 March — 30 May 2016
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 6 June — 2 October 2016

Known fondly as ‘Robert des ruines’ because of his penchant for painting ancient ruins, Hubert Robert was regarded during his lifetime as one of France’s most successful and prominent artists. In the first monographic exhibition showcasing Robert’s full achievement as a draftsman and painter, some 50 paintings and 50 drawings will chart his development in Rome and subsequent high level of accomplishment after his return to Paris. The exhibition will also focus on Robert’s lasting contribution to French visual culture and the fundamental role he played in promoting the architectural capriccio (caprice or fantasy), an art form in which famous monuments of antiquity and modernity were imaginatively combined to create striking and novel city scenes and landscapes.

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The English edition catalogue is published by Lund Humphries:

Margaret Morgan Grasselli with contributions from Yuriko Jackall, Guillaume Faroult and Catherine Voiriot, Hubert Robert (London: Lund Humphries, 2016), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-1848221918, £45.

original_be318300-beae-4ebe-9d73-fbc410220063Known fondly as ‘Robert des ruines’ because of his penchant for painting ancient ruins, Hubert Robert (1733–1808) was one of France’s most successful and prominent artists during his lifetime. This outstanding publication, which accompanies the first monographic exhibition of his work, illuminates Robert’s remarkable artistic achievements and his lasting contributions to French visual culture.

Robert’s skills were manifold—he enjoyed great success as a painter, draftsman, interior decorator and garden architect. During his time in Rome, he fostered close professional bonds with artists such as Piranesi, Panini and Fragonard, while in Paris he flourished under the patronage of several wealthy French supporters including the Marquis de Marigny, brother of the famed Madame de Pompadour. Robert’s work later addressed the demise of this glittering society through both ominous scenes of disaster and representations of vandalized royalist monuments. Upon his own release from imprisonment following the French Revolution, Robert completed a series of meditative variations on the Grande Galerie of the Musée du Louvre, of which he had been appointed curator in 1784.

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The French edition catalogue is published by Somogy:

Guillaume Faroult, ed., Hubert Robert (1733–1808) : un peintre visionnaire (Paris: Somogy, 2016), 544 pages, ISBN: 978-2757210642, 49€.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.35.55 PMHubert Robert fut l’un des créateurs les plus séduisants du siècle des  Lumières. Artisan de cet art de vivre poli, galant et souriant qui paraît l’une des quintessences de l’esprit français au XVIIIe siècle, l’artiste attire  d’emblée la sympathie. Il parvint à s’introduire dans les cercles les plus brillants de son temps,  édifiant une carrière exemplaire dans la France de l’Ancien Régime jusqu’au règne de Napoléon.

Formé à Rome vers le milieu du siècle, en pleine fièvre antiquaire, Robert  s’impose dès son retour à Paris comme « peintre d’architecture ». Le  philosophe Denis Diderot célèbre aussitôt la «poétique des ruines » du jeune artiste. La production de Robert fait preuve au cours de sa carrière d’une exceptionnelle dynamique d’amplification: les œuvres, les projets, les charges y atteignent une dimension considérable. L’artiste devient très recherché pour la production de vastes ensembles de décors peints. Il se lance enfin avec succès dans une forme d’« art total » en tant que créateur de jardins, dont le parc de Méréville (de 1786 à 1793) fut sans doute le chef-d’œuvre.

Frappé par le bouleversement historique de la Révolution française, il en consigne les premières manifestations en représentant, dès l’été 1789, La Bastille dans les premiers jours de sa démolition. En 1795, il réintègre sa fonction de conservateur du «Muséum national », c’est-à-dire du musée du Louvre qui vient d’ouvrir ses portes, et dont il avait préparé activement la création. Sans aucun doute, l’œuvre de Robert est parcourue par un sens de l’écoulement inexorable du temps et, par-delà, par une conscience de la marche de l’histoire, tour à tour triomphante ou déplorable, qui en constitue l’impressionnante grandeur.