Enfilade

Exhibition | In the Course of Time: 400 Years of Royal Clocks

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 31, 2016

Now on view at the Royal Palace in Stockholm:

In the Course of Time: 400 Years of Royal Clocks / I tiden: Kungliga klockor under 400 år
Royal Palace of Stockholm, 22 January — 25 September 2016

Marble and gold-plated bronze table clock with portrait medallions of King Gustav I, King Gustav II Adolf and King Gustav III.

Marble and gold-plated bronze table clock with portrait medallions of King Gustav I, King Gustav II Adolf and King Gustav III. Made for King Gustav III by the Swedish-born clockmaker André Hessén in Paris. Photo: Alexis Daflos/Royalcourt.se

The exhibition In Course of Time: 400 Years of Royal Clocks features more than 50 royal clocks—some of which are on show for the first time—dating from the 16th century to the present day. The exhibition marks the 70th birthday of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (30 April 2016).

Clockmaking is a precise trade, and clocks have long been seen as extremely exclusive objects. They have therefore often been designed with a great degree of artistic skill. The clock as an objet d’art is one aspect of the exhibition. With the dawn of the modern era, clocks also became useful tools for coordinating work at the palace. For example, the exhibition includes the clock that governed the palace guards’ routines during the 19th century. Today, clocks remain part of day-to-day palace life. Most of the clocks in the collections still work, continuing to perform their function centuries later as timekeepers at a number of the royal palaces.

Conference | Auricular Style: Frames

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on May 31, 2016

From the conference website:

Auricular Style: Frames
The Wallace Collection, London, 5–6 October 2016

Organized by Gerry Alabone and Lynn Roberts

This two-day international conference is the first dedicated to the Auricular style, centring on one of its most significant manifestations, the picture frame. The conference aims to stimulate awareness and study of this important but neglected style by bringing together research in fine and decorative art histories. Speakers from Europe, UK, and USA will consider the origins and development of the Auricular style in different materials, including silver, wood, stucco, and leather. Papers will explore how other areas of the decorative and applied arts fed into the creation of picture frames. They will examine the influence of prints, drawings, ad the style’s dissemination between European centres in Bohemia, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Britain. Poster presentations will be exhibited during the conference. These will be edited with the papers and published, fully illustrated, for free download on Auricular Style: Frameswhich, it is hoped, will become a hub for future related research.

Early bird registration is now open. Early bird ticket prices (including Eventbrite’s commission): £100 regular, £90 Icon members, £50 students (ID to be shown at conference). Early bird option ends and prices rise after 30 June. The theatre’s capacity is 150; therefore, early registration is recommended. No refunds will be made after 23 September. If you do not wish your email address to be included in the Delegates list, please contact the event coordinator at gdsg.events@gmail.com.

Convenors: Gerry Alabone (Tate / City and Guilds of London Art School) and Lynn Roberts (The Frame Blog) in association with the Institute of Conservation (Gilding and Decorative Surfaces Group).

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5  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 6

9.00  Registration and coffee

• On the Inception of Auricular Ornament: Paulus van Vianen’s Metamorphic Bodies and the Fleshy Frame (Allison Stielau, McGill University)
• Object Bodies, Metal Mounts and the Skins of Things (Anna Grasskamp, Heidelberg University)

Coffee

• A French Auricular? A Brief History of a Style (Marika Knowles, Harvard University)
• German Knorpelwerk: Auricular Dissemination in Prints, Woodcarving, Stucco and Painted Wall Decorations, 1620–1670 (Daniela Roberts, Würzburg University)
• The Auricular Style in Dutch Furniture (Reinier Baarsen, Leiden University / Rijksmuseum)

Lunch break

• Gilt Leather: A Creative Industry avant la lettre (Eloy Koldeweij, Cultural Heritage Agency, the Netherlands)
• Material Research on Auricular Frames in the Netherlands (Hubert Baija, Rijksmuseum)
• The Auricular Frame Depicted in Paintings (Lynn Roberts, The Frame Blog)

Tea

• Between Amsterdam, Paderborn and Rome: A Remarkable Frame in the Collections of the Louvre (Charlotte Chastel-Rousseau, Louvre)
• Dutch Auricular Woodcarving (Ada de Wit, Radboud University / Wallace Collection)

6  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 6

9.55  Welcome and introduction

• The Development of an Auricular Style in Florence (Adriana Turpin, Institut d’Études Supèrieures des Arts)
• Anthropomorphism and Zoomorphism in the Medici Picture Frames (Marilena Mosco, former Director of Palazzo Pitti)

Coffee

• Florentine Auricular Frames: Techniques and Aesthetics (Aviv Fürst, Palazzo Pitti)
• Documenting Developments in the Taste for Auricular Framing in England, 1620–1700 (Jacob Simon, National Portrait Gallery)
• Looking at Material and Visual Evidence of English Auricular Frames (Gerry Alabone, Tate / City and Guilds of London Art School)

Lunch break

• An Auricular Frame amongst the Founder’s Collection of the Ashmolean Museum (Tim Newbery and Jevon Thistlewood, Ashmolean Museum)
• Picture Galleries in Seventeenth-Century Britain (Honorary Professor Karen Hearn, University College London)
• Notes on the Revival of the Auricular Style for Picture Frames (Christopher Rowell, National Trust)

Tea

• The Auricular Today: Putting an Ear to the Ground (Steve Shriver, art+works)
• Panel discussion with all speakers (to finish at 5.00pm)

Exhibition | The Emperor’s Gold

Posted in exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on May 29, 2016

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From the Kunsthistorisches Museum:

The Emperor’s Gold / Das Gold des Kaisers
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien, 24 May 2016 — 5 March 2017

The great fame that the imperial coin collection already enjoyed throughout Europe around 1800 derived from its size and quality as well as from the rarity of the objects it contained. It was the collecting passion of the Emperors Charles VI (reigned 1711–1740) and Francis I (reigned 1745–1765), which already fascinated contemporaries, and to which the Vienna Coin Cabinet owes its world-class status today. On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Vienna Coin Cabinet presents a special exhibition of the highest-carat gold pieces from its once-imperial coin collection.

From Antiquity to the Modern Period
The gamut ranges from gold coins in everyday circulation through multiples, true gold giants, and singular commemorative issues. Many of the imprints on display were honorific gifts to the emperor or were targeted acquisitions for the imperial collection. Antique treasure hordes also played an important role in the expansion and enrichment of the imperial coin collection. The spectacular find at Szilágysomlyó in Transylvania, for instance, contained the heaviest gold medals from antiquity ever discovered.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold
The so-called ‘splendid’ medals (Prunkmedaillen) represent a highlight of the exhibition. These were produced in only a few exemplars and presented as precious gifts to important personages. Due to their enormous sizes, they offer images with a richness of detail that is otherwise unknown. Today their exclusive value lies not only in their precious metal content and artistic quality, but also in their singular provenance.

The Birthplace of Numismatics
In addition to its purely representative function, the Vienna Coin Cabinet was also the birthplace of numismatics as a modern scholarly discipline during the eighteenth century. The custodians of the imperial coin collection penned the first printed coin catalogues. They were concerned with the organization of antique and modern coins, and developed systems that still remain relevant.

Replica of the ‘Gotheborg’ for Sale

Posted in on site by Editor on May 28, 2016

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The Gothenburg III on its journey to China, October 2005
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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As reported by AFP, via Art Daily (27 May 2016) . . .

The world’s largest seaworthy wooden ship of its class, a replica of a merchant vessel that sank in 1745 off the coast of Sweden for reasons still unknown, is up for sale after years on the seas. The Swedish foundation that owns the vessel Gotheborg, a replica of the 18th-century galleon from the Swedish East India Company, announced Thursday it could no longer afford the upkeep.

“This is a tough decision that we’ve been forced to make,” said Lars Malmer,  chairman of the Ostindiefararen Gotheborg foundation. “We would have preferred it to continue sailing, but can confirm that the financial conditions do not exist,” he said in a statement.

The original, the East Indiaman Gotheborg, sank in 1745 within sight of its home port of Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast after nearly completing a two-year voyage home from China. . .

The full article is available here»

Exhibition | Porcelain, No Simple Matter

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on May 26, 2016

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Left: Royal Meissen manufactory, a pair of four-sided bottles with stoppers, ca. 1724, Collection of Henry H. Arnhold; photo by Michael Bodycomb. Right: Arlene Shechet, Three Hundred Years, 2012, © Arlene Shechet, courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; photo by Alan Wiener.

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Now on view at The Frick:

Porcelain, No Simple Matter: Arlene Shechet and the Arnhold Collection
The Frick Collection, New York, 24 May 2016 — 2 April 2017

Curated by Charlotte Vignon

The Frick will present a year-long exhibition exploring the complex history of making, collecting, and displaying porcelain. Included are 130 pieces produced by the renowned Royal Meissen manufactory, which led the ceramic industry in Europe, both scientifically and artistically, during the early to mid-eighteenth century. Most of the works date from 1720 to 1745 and were selected by New York−based sculptor Arlene Shechet from the promised gift of Henry H. Arnhold. Twelve works in the exhibition are Shechet’s own sculptures—exuberant porcelain she made during a series of residencies at the Meissen manufactory in 2012 and 2013. Designed by Shechet, the exhibition avoids the typical chronological or thematic order of most porcelain installations in favor of a personal and imaginative approach that creates an intriguing dialogue between the historical and the contemporary, from then to now. With nature as the dominant theme, the exhibition will be presented in the Frick’s Portico Gallery, which overlooks the museum’s historic Fifth Avenue Garden.

Porcelain, No Simple Matter: Arlene Shechet and the Arnhold Collection is organized by Charlotte Vignon, Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection. Major support for the exhibition is generously provided by Chuck and Deborah Royce, Melinda and Paul Sullivan, Margot and Jerry Bogert, and Monika McLennan. A fully illustrated booklet featuring installation views and a conversation with Arnhold, Shechet, and Vignon will be available in July.

Additional information and images are available from Meghan Dailey’s piece: “Contemporary Ceramics, Up Against 18th-Century Pieces — Literally,” T: The New York Times Style Magazine (24 May 2016).

Exhibition | Celebration!

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 25, 2016

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Francisco de Goya, Blind Man’s Bluff (La Gallina Ciega), 1788, canvas, 269 x 350 cm
(Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado)

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Press release for the exhibition now on view in Vienna:

Celebration! 125 Years, Anniversary Exhibition / Feste Feiern: 125 Jahre – Jubiläumsausstellung
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien, 8 March — 11 September 2016

Curated by Gudrun Swoboda

In 2016 the Kunsthistorisches Museum is celebrating a jubilee: 125 years ago, on October 17, 1891, Emperor Franz Joseph formally opened the new main museum on Vienna’s Ringstrasse. To celebrate this anniversary in style we are showing an important exhibition on ‘the art of celebration’ showcasing precious artworks from all the collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. International loans like Francisco de Goya’s La gallina ciega from the Prado in Madrid or the magnificent Yashmak designed by Shaun Leane for one of Alexander McQueen’s fashion shows from the V&A in London will enrich this magnificent show, which presents 125 groups of objects in three galleries.

The show focuses on celebrations and their history, and looks at different aspects of European festivities from the Renaissance to the French Revolution—at court (especially that of the Habsburgs) in towns and cities, and in the country. Court banquets and their opulent dishes, dancing and music form the centre of the show (Gallery VIII). The adjacent galleries look at sumptuous outdoor parties organized to celebrate coronations, weddings or birthdays but also during Carnival, popular festivals or on market days (Gallery IX), and at courtly tournaments (Gallery I).

Festivities always represent a state of exception during which every-day laws are temporarily suspended—through role-playing games and disguises that flout historical, cultural and gender differences. But what can we display of these ephemeral, long gone festivities? By turning the question on its head we arrive at a preliminary answer: we can display what remains of the day: show-pieces, props and pictorial records of these events.

For millennia something was presented or displayed during many of these celebrations, be they ecclesiastical or secular. Court festivities offered the host the opportunity to display precious show-pieces removed for this purpose from his treasury or Kunstkammer. The large two-handled rock crystal vase is such a show-piece; in 1764 it was removed from the Imperial Treasury in Vienna and transported to Frankfurt for the coronation of Joseph II. After the event these prestigious artefacts were returned to their respective depositories, only to reappear again at the next important festivity. Not a show-piece sensu stricto but nonetheless an important prop is the seventeen-metres-long tablecloth presented here to the public for the first time; Emperor Charles V commissioned it in 1527 for the banquets of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Another extraordinary prop for princely drinking parties is the 16th-century ‘trick chair’ that shackled guests until they had downed the content of a ‘welcome-glass’.

Fantastic parade armour worn at Renaissance tournaments documents exceptional creativity and imagination, and these artefacts are among the most fascinating props used as elegant disguises by the elite. Courtly festivities demanded both opulence and splendour but also extravagance—including technical extravagance. A particularly sophisticated construction that documents the innovative potential and the creative energies employed to plan and produce surprising show-effects is the mechanical breast-piece comprising springs and levers that Emperor Maximilian I commissioned for courtly tournaments. A direct hit on the shield of one’s opponent activated the mechanism, catapulting the pieces of the disintegrating shield high into the air. Hosts worked hard to surprise and enchant their guests, and the creative achievements of the court artists especially employed to plan and organize these festivities reflected back on their patrons.

Fragile sculptures made of molten sugar functioned as ephemeral table décor at banquets, and they, too, illustrate the sophistication of such costly festive creations. Contemporary Tuscan artisans have produced a number of sugar statuettes especially for this exhibition, an attempt to recreate the splendour of these centrepieces known as trionfi di tavola. But festive infrastructure also required invisible props like the 17th-century rocket-pole that bears witness to the magnificence of ephemeral baroque fireworks displays. In addition to opulent treasures and curious extravagances the exhibition includes depictions of real and imaginary festivities: from coronations to Bruegel’s boisterous peasant celebrations to the fanciful fêtes galantes of Watteau and his followers—dreamy scenes set in Arcadian parklands in which fashionable ladies and gentlemen give themselves up to dance, games and gallant conversation.

Public festivals offered a counter-draft to the strictly regulated hierarchical court festivities—especially during Carnival, a looking-glass world when the existing social order was temporarily turned upside down through exuberant partying, the donning of disguises and role reversal—one way of defusing the tensions that accumulate in every hierarchic society. A number of musical examples document that various elements of public festivals have enriched and inspired court celebrations. A perfect example of this rich interdependency is the painting of Blind Man’s Bluff by the Spanish court painter Francisco de Goya, who recorded public festivals and their entertainments in many of his compositions. Occasionally elements of a public festival are even turned into a court ceremony, and are thus constrained and controlled. One example is the Cuccagna Napoletana, which evolved out of carnival processions in Naples. The rising number of increasingly serious accidents during celebrations originally organized by the craftsmen’s guild led the ruler to assume control. Royal troops guarded a land-of- Cockayne-like structure set up in front of the royal palace until the king standing on a balcony gave the sign that gave it up for plunder, and it was stormed by the populace.

The artefacts assembled for this exhibition bear witness to the exceptional splendour and opulence of some of these festivities but they also hint at their rigid as well as fragile order. They also show that the history of celebrations includes some that never actually happened. The exhibition offers insights into the history of celebrations—mainly, but not exclusively, during the early Modern Era. Our aim is to show that throughout history festivities were always also displays, and although the installation is ‘festive’ it aims also to remind visitors of what separates us from earlier festivities: it is, of course, obvious that modern museum visitors differ greatly from the protagonists and spectators of historical feasts—but how does a modern audience see itself? The exhibition poses this question in the form of a magnificent baroque mirror: it is, in a way, a precursor of our modern selfies, and functioned in much the same way. But perhaps it can also turn into an instrument of (humorous) self reflection, for which there is more than enough cause 125 years after the formal opening of the magnificent museum building on the Ringstrasse.

The exhibition was curated by Gudrun Swoboda, curator for Baroque Painting in the Picture Gallery of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Most of the artefacts on show come from the rich holdings of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and some of them have never, or only very rarely, been on display. In addition, the show includes loans from a number of national and international museums such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, the Historisches Museum Frankfurt, the MAK—Austrian Museum for Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, the Albertina, the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, the Hofmobiliendepot and the Musikverein in Vienna, and the Tiroler Landesmuseum. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, who have also lent a number of important works.

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The full-length German catalogue is available from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, along with an abridged English version. A 27-page booklet with a checklist of the 126 items included in the exhibition and a brief description for each object is available to download as a PDF file here.

Sabine Haag and Gudrun Swoboda, eds., Feste Feiern (Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum, 2016), 320 pages, 35€.

Exhibition | Goya: Mad Reason

Posted in exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on May 25, 2016

From The Blanton Museum:

Goya: Mad Reason
Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, 19 June — 18 September 2016

Almost 200 years after the artist’s death, the work of Spanish court painter Francisco Goya (1746–1828) remains powerful, arresting, and pertinent. Addressing abuses of power and the ravages of war, Goya’s work shows his hope for Enlightenment principles (progress, liberty, tolerance) as well as his dismay at the movement’s failures, especially its inability to prevent war and oppression. Goya: Mad Reason explores these dynamics across much of the artist’s printmaking career, highlighting his mastery of both idea and artistic expression. The exhibition features superb editions from Goya’s print series, including Los desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War)La tauromaquia, (The Art of Bullfighting), and Los disparates (The Follies or Absurdities) from the collection of Yale University Art Gallery.

Press release (added 19 June 2016) . . .

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin presents Goya: Mad Reason, an exhibition of nearly 150 prints and paintings by renowned Spanish court painter Francisco de Goya. The series of prints comprising the exhibition—borrowed from Yale University Art Gallery’s distinguished Arthur Ross Collection—illustrate the artist’s mastery of forms and concepts as he grappled with the changing political and intellectual landscape of his native Spain in the early nineteenth century. Yale chose the Blanton as a partner for its Ross Collection sharing initiative, and the Blanton in turn selected Yale’s superb and affecting Goya prints as a foundation for this exhibition. Select paintings on loan from the Kimbell Art Museum, the Meadows Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston further punctuate Goya: Mad Reason thematically and visually, offering new and insightful ways of understanding the artist’s prints.

“We are honored to partner with Yale University Art Gallery to bring selections from the renowned Arthur Ross Collection to Austin,” remarked Blanton Director Simone Wicha. “This project has also afforded us the opportunity to borrow paintings from other key institutions across Texas, offering further insight into the remarkable works of Francisco de Goya, an artist whose oeuvre touches on the very fabric of human nature, and whose profound creativity remains an inspiration centuries after his death.”

Among Spain’s most celebrated artists, Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) is sometimes considered to be among the first truly modern artists. Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and many other artists from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries looked to Goya’s art for inspiration, and he continues to serve as a touchstone for contemporary artists like Yinka Shonibare and Enrique Chagoya. Goya is known for his penetrating characterization of the human condition, his insightful criticisms of ignorance and oppression, and his unflinching look at the inhumanity of war.

Goya: Mad Reason highlights the artist’s treatment of war, bullfighting as a national pastime, and the instability of reason itself. His work makes visible the great transformations and unrest of Europe during his lifetime. Goya’s images manifest his hope for social progress as well as his disappointments. Against the traditions and vested interests of the populace, Church, and nobility, and influenced by French and English ideas, Spain’s liberal elites sought and achieved limited economic and educational reforms throughout the 1700s. Fears of the French Revolution spreading instability, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s subsequent 1808 invasion of Spain, halted much of that progress. After the war, the reign of Ferdinand VII led to regression and repression. In 1824, Goya left Spain for a self-imposed exile in Bordeaux, France.

Goya’s art belongs to this history, yet it remains relevant for today’s viewers due, in part, to the themes explored in his works as well as his unique visual expression. The works exhibited in Goya: Mad Reason also reveal a shifting tension between objectivity, or reason, and irrational emotion. The partitioning of knowledge that flourished in Goya’s lifetime, as modern scientific thought emerged, underlies this development and persists as a basis of our own worldviews today. Goya: Mad Reason explores these issues across the artist’s prints and paintings, examining their historical and social power as well as the artist’s mastery across the media of painting and printmaking.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

· Portrait of the Matador Pedro Romero (ca. 1795–98): Goya painted Pedro Romero, one of the greatest toreadors of all time, shortly before he retired from the bullring. Goya’s study of the works of Diego Velázquez is evident in the skilled brushwork of Romero’s costume and muted tones of the painting’s background.

· La tauromaquia [The Art of Bullfighting] (1815–16): A series of etchings chronicling Goya’s idea of the evolution of bullfighting in Spain, including the practice’s history as well as the rituals and styles of famous bullfighters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

· Los desastres de la guerra [The Disasters of War] (1810–ca. 1815): One of Goya’s most well-known series, Los desastres de la guerra (first published posthumously in 1863) is often viewed as a visual protest against the violence of the 1808 Dos de Mayo Uprising, the subsequent Peninsular War of 1808–14, and the Bourbon Restoration of 1814.

· Los disparates [Follies] (1815–24): Los disparates, also known as Los proverbios [The Proverbs], was Goya’s last major intaglio print series, and was not published until after the artist’s death. The works depict dark and dream-like scenes, and they have been variously related to political issues, the Spanish carnival, and traditional proverbs—though they are far more complex puzzles than any one solution may answer.

Exhibition | City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on May 21, 2016

Opening in June at The Morgan Library:

City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics  
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 17 June — 11 September 2016

51DiQ-iXepLRome exists not only as an intensely physical place, but also as a romantic idea onto which artists, poets, and writers project their own imaginations and longings. City of the Soul examines the evolving image of Rome in art and literature with a display of books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and drawings.

This groundbreaking exhibition considers the ever-evolving identities of Rome during a pivotal period in the city’s history, 1770–1870, when it was transformed from a papal state to the capital of a unified, modern nation. Venerable monuments were demolished to make way for government ministries and arteries of commerce. Building projects and improvements in archaeological techniques revealed long forgotten remnants of the ancient metropolis. A tourist’s itinerary could include magnificent ruins, ecclesiastical edifices, scenic vistas, picturesque locales, fountains, gardens, and side trips to the surrounding countryside.

The exhibition juxtaposes a century of artistic impressions of Rome through a superb selection of prints and drawings by recognized masters such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851), and Edward Lear (1812–1888) along with lesser known artists whose work deserves greater attention.

The invention of photography also influenced the image of the city. Photographers consciously played on the compositions of Piranesi and earlier masters of the veduta tradition, while at the same time exploiting the expressive potential of this new medium. As the meditative, measured pace of the Grand Tour gave way to the demands of organized tourism, they supplied their new clientele with nostalgia as well as novelty in their views of the Eternal City.

John Pinto, City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics (Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2016), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-0875981710, $50.

Rome, described by Byron as the ‘City of the Soul’, has always inspired fervid imaginings and visionary renderings of itself and its past. It has existed not only as an intensely physical place but also as a romantic idea onto which artists and writers projected their own imaginations and longings. City of the Soul illuminates how the spirit of Romanticism (the term itself invokes Rome)—its passion, imagination, individuality, transcendence, nonconformity—thrived in the artistic community of Rome in the century between 1770 and 1870.

The expansive artistic response to Rome during that period reflected the timeless yet changing city, when visitors experienced the transition from the Grand Tour to the onset of mass tourism and history witnessed Rome’s dramatic transformation from papal enclave to the capital of a newly unified Italy. Rome in the Romantic era attracted extraordinary writers and visual artists, and, as it had for centuries, facilitated vibrant artistic exchange among them. The records of these encounters—in the form of letters and diary entries, poems, novels, prints, drawings, watercolors, oil sketches, and the exciting new medium of photography—collectively constitute the portrait of a very particular place, a city that touched the very soul.

John A. Pinto taught for twenty-five years at Princeton University in the Department of Art and Archaeology. His research interests focus on the architecture of eighteenth-century Rome and on the relationship between the architecture of classical antiquity and that of the Renaissance. He currently resides in New York City.

Lecture | James Legard on Blenheim Palace

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on May 20, 2016

This afternoon at the Paul Mellon Centre:

James Legard, Ambitious Architecture: Rethinking the Meanings of Blenheim Palace
The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, 20 May 2016

unknownThis paper seeks to recover the meanings that Blenheim Palace was originally intended to embody. It will show how Blenheim’s purposes were repeatedly reconceived in lockstep with the ever-growing social, political and dynastic ambitions of its patron, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, Queen Anne’s most favoured courtier and foremost military commander. Initially conceived as a private gift from the Queen, the building was transformed first into a ‘public monument’ to a great battle; then into a palace that was, quite literally, fit for a prince; before finally becoming a dangerous liability as Marlborough’s dizzying ascent turned to disgrace. By tracing how the duke’s architects, Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor, reconfigured Blenheim’s formal structure and symbolic programme in response to their patron’s evolving status and aspirations, this analysis aims to bring new clarity to our understanding of Britain’s most spectacular Baroque country house.

All are welcome! However, places are limited, so if you would like to attend please book a place in advance. Friday, 20 May 2016, 12:30–2:00 pm, Seminar Room, Paul Mellon Centre.

James Legard completed a PhD in the history of architecture at the University of York in 2014, where the subject of his thesis was Vanbrugh, Blenheim Palace and the Meanings of Baroque Architecture. He is currently working for the National Gallery on a collaborative project with the Getty Research Institute to digitise early British art sales catalogues. When this project ends later this year, he will take up a recently awarded Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre in order to prepare his thesis for publication.

Exhibition | Unbounded: The Eighteenth Century Mirrored by the Present

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, today in light of the 18th century by Caitlin Smits on May 20, 2016

Now on view in Sweden at the Gothenburg Museum of Art:

Unbounded: The Eighteenth Century Mirrored by the Present / Gränslöst: 1700-tal speglat i nuet
Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Gothenburg, 4 May — 13 November 2016

Banner-Granslost-stor-72dpiThe major exhibition of the spring is based on unexpected encounters. Here, art from the eighteenth century is shown alongside crafts, fashion, design, and popular culture, in order to let visual expressions from different periods of time clash against each other, creating friction and new perspectives. The exhibition highlights the boundless and boundary transcending, with a focus on conceptions of gender, man’s relation to nature and the West’s image of China. These themes all touch on areas where norms and values are in a process of renegotiation. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Gothenburg Museum of Art, the Röhsska Museum, and the University of Gothenburg.

Kristoffer Arvidsson, ed., Gränslöst. 1700-tal speglat i nuet / Unbounded: The Eighteenth Century Mirrored by the Present (Gothenburg: Göteborgs Konstmuseums Skriftserie, 2016), 376 pages, ISBN: 978-9187968969.