Seminar | ‘Those Wilder Sorts of Painting’: Revisiting Murals in Britain

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on March 26, 2016

From the seminar flyer:

‘Those Wilder Sorts of Painting’: Revisiting Murals in Britain, 1600–1750
Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, 16 September 2016

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Antonio Verrio’s Ceiling for the Banqueting House at Hampton Court (Historic Royal Palaces)

This interdisciplinary seminar will focus on mural painting and its place within the cultural life of Britain in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, highlighting new ways of looking at the work, its artists, and patrons. The aim is to stimulate interest in this often overlooked genre and its place in British art-historical studies. We hope to encourage curators, academics, and museum professionals to exchange ideas about the history, meaning, workshop practice, and iconography of mural art, as well as its significance within contemporary British and Continental visual cultures. The seminar is organised by the British Art Network Sub Group ‘British Mural Painting’. The event is free, but booking is essential; contact Lydia Hamlett, lkh25@cam.ac.uk.

Confirmed speakers and themes include
• Stijn Bussels (Leiden) and Ute Engel (LMU Munich) on Continental parallels
• Andrew Pinnock (Southampton) on opera
• Richard Johns (York) and David McNeil (Dalhousie) on architectural typologies
• Nick Nace (H-SC Virginia) on country house poetry
• Julie Farguson (Oxford) on artist/patron case studies
• Stacey Hickling (UCL) on Antonio Verrio
• Lydia Hamlett (Cambridge) on Louis Laguerre
• François Marandet (IESA) on Louis Chéron
• Anya Matthews (ORNC Greenwich) on James Thornhill
• Laurel Peterson (Yale) on Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini


New Book | Framing Majismo: Art and Royal Identity in Spain

Posted in books by Editor on March 24, 2016

From Penn State UP:

Tara Zanardi, Framing Majismo: Art and Royal Identity in Eighteenth-Century Spain (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2016), 264 pages, ISBN: 978-0271067247, $95.

978-0-271-06724-7mdMajismo, a cultural phenomenon that embodied the popular aesthetic in Spain from the second half of the eighteenth century, served as a vehicle to ‘regain’ Spanish heritage. As expressed in visual representations of popular types participating in traditional customs and wearing garments viewed as historically Spanish, majismo conferred on Spanish ‘citizens’ the pictorial ideal of a shared national character.

In Framing Majismo, Tara Zanardi explores nobles’ fascination with and appropriation of the practices and types associated with majismo, as well as how this connection cultivated the formation of an elite Spanish identity in the late 1700s and aided the Bourbons’ objective to fashion themselves as the legitimate rulers of Spain. In particular, the book considers artistic and literary representations of the majo and the maja, purportedly native types who embodied and performed uniquely Spanish characteristics. Such visual examples of majismo emerge as critical and contentious sites for navigating eighteenth-century conceptions of gender, national character, and noble identity. Zanardi also examines how these bodies were contrasted with those regarded as ‘foreign’, finding that ‘foreign’ and ‘national’ bodies were frequently described and depicted in similar ways. She isolates and uncovers the nuances of bodily representation, ultimately showing how the body and the emergent nation were mutually constructed at a critical historical moment for both.

Tara Zanardi is Assistant Professor of Art History at Hunter College.

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List of Illustrations

Majismo, the Spanish National Character, and the Elite Cultivation of Cultural Patrimony
2  Swaggering Majos: Performing the Masculine Ideal
3  Performing the Bullfight: Spanish Bodies as Noble Spectacle
Majas, Elites, and Female Agency
Majismo and Elite Identity


New Book | Thirty-Six Views: The Kangxi Emperor’s Mountain Estate

Posted in books by Caitlin Smits on March 23, 2016

From Dumbarton Oaks Research Library

Kangxi Emperor, translated by Richard Strassberg, with an introduction by Stephen Whiteman, Thirty-Six Views: The Kangxi Emperor’s Mountain Estate in Poetry and Prints (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, 2016), 316 pages, ISBN: 978-0884024095, $50.


In 1712, the Kangxi emperor published Imperial Poems on the Mountain Estate for Escaping the Heat (Yuzhi Bishu shanzhuang shi) to commemorate his recently completed summer palace. Through his perceptions of thirty-six of its most scenic views, his poems and descriptions present an unusually intimate self-portrait of the emperor at the age of sixty that reflected the pleasures of his life there as well as his ideals as the ruler of the Qing Empire. Kangxi was closely involved in the production of the book and ordered several of his outstanding court artists—the painter Shen Yu and the engravers Zhu Gui and Mei Yufeng—to produce woodblock prints of the thirty-six views, which set a new standard for topographical illustration. He also ordered Matteo Ripa, an Italian missionary serving as a court-artist, to translate these images into the medium of copperplate engraving, which introduced this technique to China. Ripa’s hybridized interpretations soon began to circulate in Europe and influenced contemporary aesthetic debates about the nature and virtues of the Chinese garden. This artistic collaboration between a Chinese emperor and a western missionary-artist thus marked a significant moment in intercultural imagination, production, and transmission during an earlier phase of globalization.

The British Art Journal (Winter 2015/16)

Posted in journal articles by Editor on March 22, 2016

Items pertaining to the eighteenth century in the current issue:

The British Art Journal 16 (Winter 2015/16)

• Editorial: William MB Berger Prize for British Art History 2015 Winner: William Pressly, James Barry’s Murals at the Royal Society of Arts: Envisioning a New Public Art (2014).

• Romana Sammern, “Woman in Bed by Matthew William Peters (1742–1814): Titian, Reynolds, and  Painted Revenge”

• M. T. W. Payne and J. E. Payne “Samuel Collings (d. 1810) and the Manifestation of ‘Annibal Scratch'”

• Neil Jeffares, “Francis Cotes (1726–1770) and His Family”

• Katherine McHale, “George Vertue and the Case of the Counterfeit Paintings: Rescuing the Reputations of Sebastiano Ricci (1659–1734) and Niccolo Cassana (1659–1713)”

• Alex Seltzer, “Catesby’s Conundrums: Mixing Representation with Metaphor”

• Peter S. Forsaith “‘A Far Greater Genius Than Sir Joshua’: Did Joshua Reynolds (1723–1789) Paint John Wesley (1703–1791)?”

• Charles S. Ellis, Review of Giulia Coco, Artisti, dilettanti e mercanti d’arte nel salotto fiorentino di sir Horace Mann (2014).


Exhibition | In Arcueil’s Leafy Groves: Drawing an 18th-Century Garden

Posted in exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on March 21, 2016


 Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Vue du parc d’Arcueil
(Musée du Louvre, dist. RMN – Grand Palais / Suzanne Nagy)

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From The Louvre:

In Arcueil’s Leafy Groves: Drawing an 18th-Century Garden
À l’ombre des frondaisons d’Arcueil: Dessiner un jardin du 18e siècle
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 24 March — 20 June 2016

Curated by Xavier Salmon

The Arcueil domain knew its golden age in the early 18th century. Situated near the aqueduct built for Marie de Medici between 1614 and 1624, the château was surrounded by a vast garden that included flowerbeds, woodland, covered galleries, and stairs. After the death of the Prince de Guise, the domain found a new owner, whose heirs subdivided it. When it was sold in 1752, the château and its grounds were razed under circumstances that remain unclear. Between the 19th and 20th centuries, the town of Arcueil sprang up around the aqueduct; of this substantial estate, with its sumptuous gardens and numerous outbuildings, only a few fragments now remain. Nonetheless, the memory of this historic site lives on in landscape drawings of Arcueil made by various artists in the 1740s. The goal of the exhibition is to present virtually all of these drawings for the first time.

New Book | Frederick the Great: King of Prussia

Posted in books by Editor on March 21, 2016

From Random House:

Tim Blanning, Frederick the Great: King of Prussia (London: Allen Lane, 2015), 688 pages, ISBN: 978-1400068128, $35.

9781400068128Few figures loom as large in European history as Frederick the Great. When he inherited the Prussian crown in 1740, he ruled over a kingdom of scattered territories, a minor Germanic backwater. By the end of his reign, the much larger and consolidated Prussia ranked among the continent’s great powers. In this magisterial biography, award-winning historian Tim Blanning gives us an intimate, in-depth portrait of a king who dominated the political, military, and cultural life of Europe half a century before Napoleon.

A brilliant, ambitious, sometimes ruthless monarch, Frederick was a man of immense contradictions. This consummate conqueror was also an ardent patron of the arts who attracted painters, architects, musicians, playwrights, and intellectuals to his court. Like his fellow autocrat Catherine the Great of Russia, Frederick was captivated by the ideals of the Enlightenment—for many years he kept up lively correspondence with Voltaire and other leading thinkers of the age. Yet, like Catherine, Frederick drew the line when it came to implementing Enlightenment principles that might curtail his royal authority.

Frederick’s terrifying father instilled in him a stern military discipline that would make the future king one of the most fearsome battlefield commanders of his day, while deriding as effeminate his son’s passion for modern ideas and fine art. Frederick, driven to surpass his father’s legacy, challenged the dominant German-speaking powers, including Saxony, Bavaria, and the Habsburg Monarchy. It was an audacious foreign policy gambit, one at which Frederick, against the expectations of his rivals, succeeded.

In examining Frederick’s private life, Blanning also carefully considers the long-debated question of Frederick’s sexuality, finding evidence that Frederick lavished gifts on his male friends and maintained homosexual relationships throughout his life, while limiting contact with his estranged, unloved queen to visits that were few and far between.

The story of one man’s life and the complete political and cultural transformation of a nation, Tim Blanning’s sweeping biography takes readers inside the mind of the monarch, giving us a fresh understanding of Frederick the Great’s remarkable reign.

Until his retirement in 2009, Tim Blanning was a professor of modern European history at the University of Cambridge, and he remains a fellow of Sidney Sussex College and of the British Academy. He is the general editor of The Oxford History of Modern Europe and The Short Oxford History of Europe. He is also the author of The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture, which won a prestigious German prize and was short-listed for the British Academy Book Prize; The New York Times bestseller The Pursuit of Glory; The Triumph of Music; and The Romantic Revolution. In 2000 he was awarded a Pilkington Prize for teaching by the University of Cambridge.

Exhibition | We are One: Mapping America’s Road

Posted in exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on March 20, 2016

From The Boston Public Library:

We are One: Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence
Boston Public Library, 2 May — 29 November 2015
DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, 5 March 2016 — 29 January 2017
New-York Historical Society, 2017

We-Are-One-BPLWe Are One maps the American road to independence. It explores the tumultuous events that led thirteen colonies to join to forge a new nation. The exhibition takes its title from Benjamin Franklin’s early design for a note of American currency containing the phrase “We Are One.” This presaged the ‘E Pluribus Unum‘ found on the seal of the United States, adopted in 1782, and on all U.S. coins.

Using geographic and cartographic perspectives, the exhibition traces the American story from the strife of the French and Indian War to the creation of a new national government and the founding of Washington, D.C. as its home. Exhibited maps and graphics show America’s early status as a British possession: thirteen colonies in a larger trans-Atlantic empire. During and after the French and Indian War, protection of those thirteen colonies exhausted Britain economically and politically, and led Parliament to pass unpopular taxes and restrictions on her American colonial subjects. The Stamp Act, the Tea Act, and limits on colonial trade and industry incited protests and riots in Boston, as contemporaneous portrayals in the exhibition show.

When tensions between Britain and her American colonies erupted into war, British cartographers and other witnesses depicted military campaigns, battles, and their settings. These maps, drawings, and military artifacts now bring the long, bloody struggle for independence to life.

Finally, We Are One shows how, in the aftermath of the Revolution, America took stock of her new geography with surveys and maps. During this period, the Founders struggled to craft a new national government that would confederate thirteen colonies with different economic interests and cultures. European maps reflect their success by recognizing America’s triumphant new status of nationhood and her expanding territory.

More information is available here»

New Book | The Philadelphia Country House

Posted in books by Editor on March 20, 2016

From Johns Hopkins UP:

Mark Reinberger and Elizabeth McLean, The Philadelphia Country House: Architecture and Landscape in Colonial America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), 464 pages, ISBN: 9781421411637, $70.

51w7WcUSrfL._SX381_BO1,204,203,200_Colonial Americans, if they could afford it, liked to emulate the fashions of London and the style and manners of English country society while at the same time thinking of themselves as distinctly American. The houses they built reflected this ongoing cultural tension. By the mid-eighteenth century, Americans had developed their own version of the bourgeois English countryseat, a class of estate equally distinct in social function and form from townhouses, rural plantations, and farms. The metropolis of Philadelphia was surrounded by a particularly extraordinary collection of country houses and landscapes. Taken together, these estates make up one of the most significant groups of homes in colonial America.

In this masterly volume, Mark Reinberger, a senior architectural historian, and Elizabeth McLean, an accomplished scholar of landscape history, examine the country houses that the urban gentry built on the outskirts of Philadelphia in response to both local and international economic forces, social imperatives, and fashion. What do these structures and their gardens say about the taste of the people who conceived and executed them? How did their evolving forms demonstrate the persistence of European templates while embodying the spirit of American adaptation?

The Philadelphia Country House explores the myriad ways in which these estates—which were located in the country but responded to the ideas and manners of the city—straddled the cultural divide between urban and rural. Moving from general trends and building principles to architectural interiors and landscape design, Reinberger and McLean take readers on an intimate tour of the fine, fashionable elements found in upstairs parlors and formal gardens. They also reveal the intricate working world of servants, cellars, and kitchen gardens. Highlighting an important aspect of American historic architecture, this handsome volume is illustrated with nearly 150 photographs, more than 60 line drawings, and two color galleries.

Mark Reinberger is a professor of architecture at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Utility and Beauty: Robert Wellford and Composition Ornament in America. Elizabeth McLean is a research associate in botany at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. She is the coauthor of Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth-Century Natural History Exchange.

Call for Papers | NEASECS 2016, UMass Amherst

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 20, 2016


NEASECS Annual Conference
Translation, Transmission, Transgression in the Global Eighteenth Century
University of Massachusetts Amherst, 20–22 October 2016

Proposals due by 1 April 2016 / 15 May 2016

The annual meeting of NEASECS will be held at the UMass Amherst Campus Center. The theme is Translation, Transmission, Transgression in the Global Eighteenth Century. The conference will include a plenary address by Suvir Kaul from the University of Pennsylvania and a performance of Molière’s The Misanthrope; the registration fee will include two cocktail receptions, a banquet dinner on Friday night, and continental breakfasts.

Possible topics include translations, transmissions, and transgressions across cultures, languages, and literatures; across local and national borders; and across gender identities, racial identities, and class identities in the global eighteenth century. How do texts and ideas travel? Who and what determines when a translation or transmission crosses over into a transgression? Papers could address empire and colonialism, war, the slave trade, the book trade, Orientalism, and constructions of nation, nationality, and race. In keeping with NEASECS tradition, panels and papers devoted to elements of the long eighteenth century not directly related to the conference theme are also welcome.

Proposals for panels or roundtables should be uploaded to the online submission page by April 1. Organizers should submit a CV and a 100–200 word summary of the topic. Once a session has been approved, it will be posted to the conference website; individuals should submit abstracts and CVs directly to the organizer. Completed panels should be submitted to the organizing committee by May 15.

Individual paper proposals, including a CV and a 250-word abstract, should be uploaded to the online submission page by May 15. Individuals will be notified of the status of their proposals by June 15. Prior to submitting your individual proposal, please review the listing of approved panels on the ‘Approved Panels’ tab on the website. If you wish to join one of the approved panels, please email your paper proposal to the session chair directly before May 15.

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‘Approved panels’ include these, which may be of particular interest to art historians:

French Women Artists in England
Nadine Berenguier, University of New Hampshire (nsb@unh.edu)
Many French women artists left France and took up residence in England for extended periods of time during the long 18th century. Their reasons varied as much as their experiences abroad, but all were influenced by and influenced the culture in their new home. This panel will focus on women artists who became part of that migration, and how their British ‘séjour’ influenced them and their artistic endeavors and conversely what their impact was across the Channel.

Worldly Objects: Decorative Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century
Alden Cavanaugh, Indiana State University (alden.cavanaugh@indstate.edu)
This session welcomes papers that address the global decorative arts in the eighteenth century: that is, the intricate systems of transmission and translation that governed and created decorative objects, as well as the spaces in which those objects were displayed or used. Papers that use innovative or novel approaches in the interest of exploring decorative arts and/or interior design as manifestations of a transcontinental or global focus are particularly desirable. Potential topics could include, but are not limited to: Translations (or mistranslations) of styles, subject matter or narratives Trade, supply, or logistics Secondary markets Conceptions of Others (Chinoiserie, Turquerie, etc.) Fashions in decorative arts Marketing or production issues Economic realities related to decorative arts or interior decoration Lacquer, porcelain, glass, metalwork, jewelry, furniture, textiles or other material production Material exoticism Nationalistic impulses Objects of self-fashioning or personal maintenance Patterns of consumption.

Transpositions of Locke’s Essay in Eighteenth-Century France
Sarah Cohen, University at Albany, SUNY (scohen@albany.edu)
Even before it was first published in English in 1690, John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding appeared in a nascent Epitome translated and published by Jean Le Clerc in his Bibliothèque universelle et historique of 1688. With the full work translated into French by Pierre Coste in 1700, Locke’s arguments for sensory based knowledge would steadily become a central theme both in the work of French philosophes such as Condillac and in transformations that took place in natural sciences and the arts. This session invites proposals for papers addressing any aspect of how Locke’s Essay was used, translated, or transformed by French intellectuals and artists in the long eighteenth century.


Exhibition | Princely Splendour: The Power of Pomp

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 19, 2016

From the Belvedere:

Princely Splendour: The Power of Pomp / Fürstenglanz: Die Macht der Pracht
Winter Palace, Vienna, 18 March — 26 June 2016

Anton von Maron, Emperor Joseph II with the Statue of Mars, 1775 (Vienna: KHM-Museumsverband)

Anton von Maron, Emperor Joseph II with the Statue of Mars, 1775 (Vienna: KHM-Museumsverband)

The exhibition Princely Splendour: The Power of Pomp explores collecting in the Baroque period and uses the transformation of Prince Eugene’s Winter Palace into a modern museum as an opportunity to look back to princely splendor, Baroque galleries, and the art of order. At the heart of the exhibition are the lavish catalogues of the major European Baroque galleries, proclaiming the prestige of their creators and also marking the origins of modern exhibition and art catalogues. They document princely ideals of beautiful interiors, provide glimpses behind concepts of Baroque (re)presentation and reflect classification systems, ‘public’ accessibility, and display practices typical of the period. These original collection catalogues are combined with portraits of the princes and a selection of paintings from their collections. The exhibition is the first to explore this phenomenon from a pan-European perspective and compare the most important princely collectors from the Baroque period.

Princely Splendour demonstrates the importance that Europe’s former ruling dynasties attached to their art collections. For centuries, owning art was used as a way of flaunting power. This development was accompanied by the increasing status of artists, particularly painters, in the emerging Baroque period. Talented artists became the favourites of princes and securing their services for the court, and the exclusive rights to their work this entailed, were further ‘puzzle pieces’ in the power structure. At the height of the Baroque period outstanding talents, such as Peter Paul Rubens, could even be promoted to diplomats and enjoyed the status of ‘painter princes’.

The exhibits include Theatrum Pictorium (Theatre of Painting), published by court painter David Teniers the Younger in 1660. This lavishly illustrated work is a testimony to the Habsburg Archduke Leopold Wilhelm’s passion for collecting and represents the birth of these elaborately designed books with printed reproductions of the artworks. Also featuring in the exhibition are Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s Tableaux du Cabinet du Roi created under France’s King Louis XIV; the Dresden Galeriewerk under August III, elector of Saxony and king of Poland; as well as a Prodromus, a type of preview compiled under the Austrian Emperor Charles VI in Baroque Vienna around 1720–30 with over one thousand planned painting reproductions grouped into miniature tableaus. This pan-European show features outstanding loans from the Louvre and other museums, with the state portrait of the French Sun King from the Palace of Versailles as the exhibition’s highlight.

The Imperial Picture Gallery’s move from Vienna’s Stallburg to the Upper Belvedere presented an ideal opportunity to compile a new guide to the collection. This small-scale publication provides an insight into the concept and organization of the new hanging which, when compared with other European galleries, reveals a completely new, rationalized order. Increasingly, large albums were being replaced by more reasonably priced shorter catalogues, reflecting the public’s wishes to enjoy the collection in the form of handy guides. In the spirit of the Enlightenment, the opening of aristocratic collections to a new, wider public went hand in hand with the evolution of these gallery catalogues.

Agnes Husslein-Arco and Tobias G. Natter, ed., Fürstenglanz: Die Macht der Pracht (2016), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-3902805973, 39€.


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