Exhibition | Salzillo’s Nativity Scene

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 27, 2016


Francisco Salzillo, with Roque López, Nativity Scene of around 300 Polychromed Figures, 1776–83; clay, carved wood, and fabric
(Murcia: Museo Salzillo)

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Now on view at the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum:

Salzillo’s Nativity Scene / Salzilloren Jaiotza / El Belén de Salzillo
Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa / Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 28 October 2016 — 6 February 2017

For its latest edition and thanks to the sponsorship of Fundación Banco Santander, the ‘Invited Work’ programme presents a significant part of the famous Nativity Scene by the sculptor and religious image maker Francisco Salzillo (Murcia, 1707–1783). It has been loaned by the Museo Salzillo (Murcia), to which the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum will be lending in exchange seventeen works on the Christmas theme, to be exhibited with the title Nativitas Domini until 12 February next year.

exposicion-2-800-252Comprising around 300 polychromed figures (of the 556, including figures and six architectural structures, that make up the entire work), the Nativity was made by Salzillo between 1776 and 1783 for his fellow Murcian, the aristocrat Jesualdo Riquelme y Fontes, and was completed by his pupil Roque López and his studio. It was finished around 1800 and only one of the six architectural elements is a modern creation. Throughout the entire 19th century, it was in the Palacio Riquelme, entering the collection of the Museo Salzillo as one of the key works within Salzillo’s oeuvre.

The narrative structure of the Nativity follows various canonical and apocryphal texts in order to establish a chronological sequence that runs from the Annunciation to the Flight into Egypt and in which the figures occupy a predetermined position while the other elements can vary. The scenes include magnificent architectural structures, some copies of buildings of the period when the work was made—such as Herod’s palace, which imitates a local Murcian aristocratic residence; Mary’s house, which reflects urban dwellings of the time; and Saint Elizabeth’s house, which echoes the sophisticated typology of the small rural house. Others, however, employ classical or Renaissance references, such as the ruined portico in which the Birth of Christ takes place, or the Temple of Solomon, based on the Roman church of San Pietro in Montorio. Mary’s house retains its Rococo furnishings, which must have been added in the 19th century.

The biblical episodes are acted out by a wide range of picturesque figure types that are also to be found in painting and literature of the day. In this respect, the Enlightenment writer Ceán Bermúdez observed that Salzillo gave lodgings to beggars in his house in exchange for them posing for him. These popular types co-exist with the solemn figures that act out the religious mysteries, as well as sumptuously dressed angels and nobles. Some of them are portraits of real people of the day, including Riquelme y Fontes himself, the Marquis of Beniel and the Count of Flordablanca.

publicacion-133-grande1-1Despite his Italian origins (his father was an Italian sculptor based in Murcia who ran an important family workshop principally producing religious images), Salzillo’s Nativity Scene is notable for its inspiration in popular life and customs, its profound religious sentiment, and the narrative character of the scenes.

The figures, which are about 30 centimetres high, are modelled in clay or carved in wood. They have complex polychromy, in some cases applied directly onto the wood using a finely detailed technique that reflects the Rococo tradition. The clothes are made from glue-sized fabric over which the paint, applied with brushes of different thicknesses, creates a range of textures from the softness of silk to the rough clothing of the shepherds. Other techniques, such as the incising of the estofado, add richness to the mantles and tunics of the holy figures. Blue, red, and green are the predominant colours, combined with gilding. The angels, such as those present in the Dream of Saint Joseph, are the most sophisticated figures. The work as a whole includes a wide range of clothing, from the plain local jerkin and embroidered skirts to be seen in the Massacre of the Innocents to the gleaming armour worn by the Roman soldiers.

Through these gospel scenes Salzillo offers a fascinating image of the habits and customs of the Spanish peasantry, showing the finest aspects of their dress and their amusements and pastimes such as music and dancing. In this folk universe the rustic shepherds happily co-exist with the sophisticated local nobility. The grace of the pages in their coloured livery, silk stockings and elegant hats contrasts with the roughness of the shepherds and the rags of the blind man’s guide. Alongside them we also see supernatural beings such as the angels in their richly patterned and gilded tunics who add delicacy to the overall composition.

The scene as a whole includes a wide range of figure types, poses and notably realistic portraits despite the small size of these figures, some of whom represent trades and activities, such as the groups of butchers, musicians, and hunters. Alongside them we also see a remarkable variety of animals, including the migrating birds that nested in the region of Murcia called the Mar Menor and different types of bulls, goats, and sheep.

Salzillo’s Nativity Scene thus combines the inspiration of the Gospel texts with a wide range of figure types, clothes, trades and activities of the day, all taken directly from life. The narration, with its colourful incidental details, the setting, and the figures together create an intimate, domestic atmosphere that is notably different to the more worldly one of the Neapolitan presepe, the other preeminent type of Nativity scene at this date. While the latter are characterised by an urban context inspired by the Commedia dell’Arte, Salzillo made use of Spanish rural life and its traditions to transmit a devotional mood of a more intimate, accessible nature.

Concepción de la Peña, Maria Teresa Marín, and Carlos Moisés García, El Belén de Salzillo / Salzillo’s Nativity Scene (Murcia: Museo Salzillo, 2013), 143 pages, ISBN: 978-8415369509 (Spanish and English), 25€.









Exhibition | Nativitas Domini: Art and Devotion

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 27, 2016

On view at the Museo Salzillo:

Nativitas Domini: Art and Devotion / Arte y Devoción
Museo Salzillo, Murcia, 14 October 2016 — 12 February 2017

whatsapp-image-2016-10-05-at-13-28-35La Natividad es una festividad litúrgica que se celebra popularmente desde el siglo XVI, la cual, con el paso del tiempo, se ha convertido en una de las representaciones más recurrentes dentro de la iconografía cristiana. Las diferentes escuelas artísticas europeas han sabido adaptar este episodio con sus misterios a los diferentes estilos y gustos de cada época.

Durante el Renacimiento la representación pictórica de este acontecimiento alcanzó gran auge, y en su representación los artistas mostraron el concepto de ‘belleza ideal’, tan característico tanto de las escuelas del norte como las italianas.

Se muestra así una selección de pinturas y esculturas del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao con representaciones que van desde el citado Renacimiento hasta el siglo XVIII, pasando por trabajos del manierismo y del Barroco, que se inician con Los desposorios de la Virgen, la Adoración de los pastores, los Magos de Oriente concluyendo con la representación de la Virgen.

Exhibition | Robert Adam’s London

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 26, 2016

Press release (26 October 2016) for the exhibition:

Robert Adam’s London
Sir John Soane’s Museum, 30 November 2016 — 11 March 2017

Curated by Frances Sands

adam_londonThe work of one of the greatest British architects of all time is examined in a new exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum. Robert Adam’s London takes an in-depth look at some of the Scottish architect’s work which helped change the landscape of the capital. Some of the famous buildings looked at in the exhibition include Buckingham Palace, the Admiralty Screen on Whitehall and Portland Place. Robert Adam’s London is the first time the architect’s work across the city as a whole has been examined in a London museum. It will showcase his ground-breaking neo-classical style and his desire to unify architecture and interior design. It will also feature both completed buildings alongside those, which were never realised, offering a glimpse into the architect’s ambitious vision for London.

On display will be some of Sir John Soane’s Museum’s most beautiful, influential, and rarely seen designs of Adam’s projects in London, taken from their 9,000-strong Adam drawing collection. The Museum holds 80% of the world’s surviving Adam drawings which are of huge international-significance for our understanding of Georgian architecture and interior design. Projects on show include the famous Admiralty Screen on Whitehall, Portland Place, and six monuments for Westminster Abbey, as well as projects subsequently demolished or never realised, such as the interiors of Buckingham House (before it became Buckingham Palace), 15 Downing Street, Lansdowne House, and Adelphi. A large-scale facsimile of an eighteenth-century map of London will form the centrepiece of the show, plotting Adam’s various projects across the city, creating an ‘in-exhibition’ trail for visitors. Alongside this will be a portrait of Robert Adam by George Williamson, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, and a pedestal designed by Adam from Kenwood House.

Robert Adam had a long and enduring connection to London, establishing his London practice in 1758 and remaining in the city until his death in 1792. There is a greater density of his work for this city than anywhere else, as he focused on designing complete schemes for the decoration of domestic, public, commercial, speculative and commemorative buildings. His work in London demonstrates how his style evolved past the fashionable Palladian design of the time, into a new, more flexible style, incorporating influences from Roman, Etruscan, and Baroque styles. Adam’s radical style was often attributed to a desire to design everything down to the smallest detail.

Adam regularly favoured large-scale and grandiose designs, many of which remained purely speculative as their ambitions—and cost—were often prohibitive. One such project examined in the exhibition in detail is for Portland Place, where he hoped to construct detached aristocratic palaces which might rival noblemen’s urban homes in Europe. Palaces for the Earls of Kerry and Findlater were designed, but never came to fruition. If they had, central London would have looked significantly different to how it is today.

Bruce Boucher, Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum says: “The Adam Drawings at the Soane Museum is one of our most important collections. Not only is it an invaluable record of the work of one of this country’s most innovative architects, but also a fascinating glimpse into what London could have been had all his projects survived or come to fruition. People have always cared passionately about the architecture of London, as today’s fierce debates testify, so it is wonderful to be able to examine this fascinating chapter in the architectural history of this great city, right in the heart of the city itself.”

Dr Frances Sands, Curator of Drawings and Books at Sir John Soane’s Museum comments: “The Adam office provided designs in deliberate contrast to the more severe neo-Palladian style that had dominated Britain in earlier decades. Adam instigated a fashion for his own recognisable and characteristic style, one not based on dogmatic archaeological accuracy, but rather a creative fusion of all that he had seen abroad. With his distinctive, delicate interior decorative style and bold, rippling architecture, Adam became enormously successful; his practice catered to clients across Britain—and occasionally beyond—but nowhere more heavily than in London. Often remembered as an architect of great country houses, this exhibition celebrates the skill and dexterity of his numerous works here in town.”

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Frances Sands, Robert Adam’s London (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2017), 142 pages, ISBN: 978-1784914622, £18.

The iconic eighteenth-century architect Robert Adam was based in London for more than half of his life and made more designs for this one city than anywhere else in the world. This book reviews a wide variety of his designs for London, highlighting lesser known buildings as well as familiar ones. Each of Adam’s projects explored in this book is plotted on Horwood’s map of London (1792–99), enabling readers to recognise Adam’s work as they move around the city, as well as to envisage London as if more of his ingenious designs had been executed or survived demolition.

Frances Sands is Curator of Drawings and Books at Sir John Soane’s Museum.


New Book | The Prints of Paul Sandby: A Catalogue Raisonné

Posted in books by Editor on November 26, 2016

From Brepols:

Ann Gunn, The Prints of Paul Sandby (1731–1809): A Catalogue Raisonné (Turnhout: Brepols, 2016), 339 pages, ISBN: 978-1909400160, £127 / $195.

cuer_spxgaaabjgBorn in Nottingham, Paul Sandby (1731–1809) is best known as a founder member of the Royal Academy and a prominent figure in the development of British watercolour painting. However, he was also one of the most prolific and inventive printmakers in eighteenth-century Britain. From his early years as a draughtsman for the military survey of Scotland, and later from his extensive tours throughout England and Wales, he depicted the people, towns, castles, and landscapes of the nation. He provided the public with images of their country which contributed to the emerging appreciation of native landscape, to antiquarian interests, and to the development of picturesque tours within the British Isles. Although he never travelled abroad, he reproduced the work of fellow artists who had, tapping into the Grand Tour market with prints of Ionian antiquities, Neapolitan landscapes, and the Roman carnival. But his work encompassed more than landscape; he could move from the pastoral humour of illustrations to Allan Ramsay’s poem The Gentle Shepherd, through the urban realism of his Cries of London to the merciless satire of his attacks on William Hogarth. From the 1740s to the 1780s, he made over 380 prints: engravings, etchings, soft ground etchings, and finally aquatints, a medium in which he was a pioneer. Aquatint enabled printmakers to reproduce the effects of watercolour paintings; Sandby gave the process its name and developed varied techniques which allowed the exact reproduction of the artist’s brush strokes, producing some of the most beautiful prints ever made in this medium.

Ann V. Gunn, a lecturer at the University of St Andrews, has worked as Keeper of Art at Nottingham City Museums, Assistant Registrar at Princeton Art Museum, and Registrar of the University of St Andrews Art Collection. She also ran her own gallery, which specialised in contemporary Scottish art. She is Honorary Curator of the University’s Fine Art Collection. She is also Chair of Fife Contemporary Art & Craft and a member of the Fife Committee of the Art Fund. She is the author of The Prints of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: A Complete Catalogue (2007).


New Book | Hyacinthe Rigaud: Le Catalogue Raisonné

Posted in books by Editor on November 25, 2016

Published by Faton and available from Artbooks.com:

Ariane James-Sarazin, Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743): Le Catalogue Raisonné, 2 volumes (Dijon: Faton, 2016), 1408 pages, ISBN: 978-2878441734, 320€ / $395.

2656821Fruit d’années de recherches, l’ouvrage en deux volumes d’Ariane James-Sarazin, archiviste, conservateur en chef du patrimoine et directrice des musées d’Angers, s’impose comme une étape décisive dans l’histoire de l’art moderne. Pour la première fois, l’auteur propose le catalogue exhaustif des oeuvres du grand peintre français Hyacinthe Rigaud (Perpignan, 1659 – Paris, 1743) : plus d’un millier de numéros organisés chronologiquement, tous rigoureusement étudiés, dévoilent bien des aspects méconnus du portraitiste des élites européennes, à travers peintures, dessins, répliques, copies et gravures. Les amateurs d’art exigeants et passionnés y trouveront l’étude la plus complète jamais publiée sur le peintre et son oeuvre, et une analyse inédite de la peinture, de la société au tournant du Grand Siècle et du siècle des Lumières. Le catalogue est précédé d’une biographie complète du peintre, établie avec une méthodologie rigoureuse, déjà saluée par les spécialistes pour les précédents travaux d’Ariane James-Sarazin sur l’artiste, ainsi que d’une étude fouillée sur la clientèle, le processus de création, l’oeuvre et son évolution. De nombreuses annexes complètent cette somme d’érudition : iconographie du peintre, chronologie raisonnée, généalogies, dictionnaire inédit des élèves et collaborateurs, aperçu de la fortune critique, table de concordances avec l’édition des livres de comptes de Joseph Roman en 1919, sources commentées, bibliographie, pièces justificatives et plusieurs index. Marqueur de l’évolution de la mode et des textiles, révélateur des intrigues de Cour, objet du paraître social, symbole de l’image royale, le portrait, miroir des enjeux d’une époque, offre une mine d’informations aux disciplines connexes de l’histoire de l’art.

Exhibition | From Alcove to Barricades, From Fragonard to David

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 25, 2016


Jean-Baptiste Isabey, Academy Figure of a Nude Man Seated, Resting on his Left Arm, 1789, black chalk with stumping and white chalk heightenings on brown paper, 46.8 × 60.7 cm (Collection des Beaux-Arts de Paris / photo Thierry Ollivier)

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Now on view at the Fondation Custodia:

From Alcove to Barricades, From Fragonard to David: Drawings from the École des Beaux-Arts
De l’alcôve aux barricades, De Fragonard à David: Dessins de l’École des Beaux-Arts

Fondation Custodia, Paris, 15 October 2016 — 8 January 2017

Curated by Emmanuelle Brugerolles

Renowned for its precious drawings collection, the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris collaborates with the Fondation Custodia in the context of its Bicentennial celebration, presenting this autumn at 121 rue de Lille one of the most glorious components of its collections. With 145 drawings, the exhibition From Alcove to Barricades presents an ambitious historical survey of art in the second half of the 18th century.

Jacques-Louis David, Head of a Plague Victim, 1780, pen and black ink over a sketch in black chalk, 21.3 × 15.2 cm (Collection des Beaux-Arts de Paris)

Jacques-Louis David, Head of a Plague Victim, 1780, pen and black ink over a sketch in black chalk, 21.3 × 15.2 cm (Collection des Beaux-Arts de Paris)

The selected works cast light on a period of historical as well as artistic turmoil. From the last decades of the reign of Louis XV (1715–1774) to the close of the revolutionary period (1789–1799), we observe the transition from a monarchy to the Republic: a world that shifts from the space of the court occupied by the nobility to that of the city where the notion of citizenship prevails. Following suit, the arts pass through multiple transformations. This process was long considered a clear break between two opposing styles: rocaille (or rococo)—defined at the time as a feminine style owing to its arabesques, whims and at times extravagance—and neoclassicism, a masculine style whose noble simplicity is inspired by the Antique.

Arranged according to seven thematic chapters—academic training, Roman sojourn, genre scenes, history painting, landscape in France, architectural drawing, and decorative arts—the exhibition reveals a more complex situation.

The great number of masterpieces assembled here for the first time evoke this diversity of styles and approaches. They also enable us to follow the careers of the artists who played a role in these developments. We discover them during their training at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in their large-format nude studies after live models and drawings done for the competition for a Tête d’expression (a face depicting an emotion). A number of awards established in the second half of the 18th century, aimed at inspiring emulation among the Academy’s pupils in order to regenerate the arts, offered young artists opportunities to gain recognition.

We then follow these draughtsmen to Palazzo Mancini, the seat of the Académie de France in Rome, where they were pensionnaires. Whether copies of ancient and modern masters or views of classical ruins, gardens and recently discovered sites, the Beaux-Arts sheets reveal the motifs that impressed French artists during their stay in Italy.

Anne-Louis Girodet, Étude pour la Scène de déluge, figure de la mère, pierre noire et rehauts de craie blanche, 53.7 x 43.9 cm

Anne-Louis Girodet, Étude pour la Scène de déluge, figure de la mère, pierre noire et rehauts de craie blanche, 53.7 × 43.9 cm (Collection des Beaux-Arts de Paris)

On their return to France we see these artists obtain official recognition through important State commissions and trying to satisfy the changing taste of connoisseurs. Employing the strategies of history painting—expressive intensity, narrative clarity and theatrical layout—Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805) renews the genre scene, evoking everyday dramas in moralising tones. His art, admired by the public of the Salon and Denis Diderot, is illustrated in the exhibition by a number of drawings.

Ranging from the scenes à la grecque by Joseph-Marie Vien (1716–1809) to the large neoclassical compositions by Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825) that inspired an entire generation of painters, the drawings shown in the next section allow us to follow the evolution of history painting as it gradually leaves behind amorous and sensual mythological subjects to explore heroic scenes drawn from ancient history. Indeed, since the mid-18th century rocaille art was highly criticised by scholars, such as the German art historian Winckelmann, and members of the artistic community. The Academy sought to resume ties with the Grand Genre by proposing Antiquity as the model to follow, as it had been in Poussin’s day.

Whether impressive designs—sometimes several metres long—sketched for the competitions organised by the Académie royale d’architecture, or inventions of imaginary buildings in the manner of Piranesi’s capricci, most of the works that introduce the sixth chapter of the exhibition are sheer graphic elaborations. They attest to the autonomy of architectural drawing in the second half of the 18th century and the beginning of a new form of urban planning around public buildings that offered citizens a richer social and cultural life.

In the exhibition’s final section, devoted to the decorative arts, many drawings are preparatory for engravings forming collections of models, a flourishing genre at the time, while others were used directly to make furniture or ornaments. Through these works we can measure the influence of classical art in the evolution of the repertory of decorative motifs. Although characterised by a return to the straight line and a certain restraint, neoclassicism remained open to the lasting taste for the pleasing and the exotic, the legacy of the rocaille style.

From academic exercises to large-format preparatory studies for paintings, sculpture, furniture and architecture, these drawings thus encompass all the arts. They place us at the heart of the artistic practices and creative processes prevalent in a society undergoing profound transformations.

Emmanuelle Brugerolles, ed., De l’alcôve aux barricades, De Fragonard à David: Dessins de l’École des Beaux-Arts (Paris: Beaux-Arts de Paris éditions, 2016), 400 pages, ISBN: 978 2840564904, 39€.


Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, Sepulcral monument: Section of the overall monument and elevation of the central pyramid, 1785, pen and black ink, grey wash, 76.5 x 275 cm (Collection des Beaux-Arts de Paris)






Prado Commission Awarded to Norman Foster and Carlos Rubio

Posted in museums by Editor on November 25, 2016


Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura, ‘Hidden Design’: Winning Proposal for the Restoration and Remodeling of the Salón de Reinos Museo del Prado, announced November 2016.

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Press release (24 November 2016) from the Prado:

Architects Norman Foster and Carlos Rubio have been announced as winners of the projects competition to remodel the Hall of Realms at the Museo del Prado. The Museum will exhibit the winning proposal along with those of the other seven teams of finalists from 1 December.

vistainterior-salon-reinosIñígo Méndez de Vigo, Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, led the plenary meeting of the Royal Board of Trustees of the Museo del Prado in which the jury announced the winner of the international competition for the architectural restoration and museological remodelling of the Salón de Reinos [Hall of Realms] of the former Buen Retiro palace. The winning proposal is the one presented by the team of Foster + Partners LTD and Rubio Arquitectura SLP, as decided at the jury’s meeting on 22 November.

The winning proposal, entitled Hidden Design, makes maximum use of the building’s museological aspect and creates a large entrance atrium on the south façade, making this space semi-open and permeable to the exterior but sufficiently controlled for it to function to protect the original façade of the Hall of Realms, the windows and balconies of which will be reinstated. Emerging over the top of this façade will be a large exhibition space on the third floor, which is higher and wider than the present one, forming the roof of the atrium and a terrazza facing the Museum’s ‘campus’. The winning design fully responds to the spatial requirements specified by the Museum for this project, without the need to excavate new basement levels. It emphasises the historical spaces that form the core of the building, particularly the Hall of Realms. Similarly, it strengthens and consolidates the identity of the Museo del Prado campus, proposing a pedestrian section of the Retiro Park—Paseo del Prado axis along calle Felipe IV which will revitalise its connection with the city.

In its decision statement the jury singled out the principal merits of this project as the high quality of the architectural proposal, which respects and emphasises the pre-existing structure, adapting it to present-day requirements; the intelligent way in which this project meets museological requirements; the skilled integration of the building into its surroundings and into the overall context of the Museo del Prado campus; and the project’s efficient cost study.

The aim of the competition of which the winner has now been announced and which was originally published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado on 1 March 2016, was to select the architectural team to devise the project to restore and refit the Hall of Realms, part of the lost Buen Retiro palace and the former home of the Museo del Ejército [Army Museum]. This building was formerly passed to the Museo del Prado in October 2015.

The competition, entered by 47 teams of architects, has consisted of two parts. The first, open part ended in June with the selection of eight teams:

These teams devised their proposals for the second phase, presenting them on 31 October. In its decision statement, jury singled out the quality of all the projects presented, which will be displayed in the Cloister of the Museum’s Jerónimos Building from 1 December. Preparation of the project will commence in 2017 and is expected to take about 16 months. Building work will begin in 2018.


UTE: Foster + Partners LTD – Rubio Arquitectura SLP

This is a temporary alliance of the architectural studios Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura. Foster + Partners was founded in 1967 by Norman Foster (born Manchester, 1935). With its headquarters in London, it has offices in 14 cities around the world including Hong Kong, New York, São Paulo, Singapore, and Madrid. Among Foster + Partners’ most important projects for museums are those undertaken for the Carré d’Art (Nîmes, 1993), the Great Court and Sainsbury Galleries in the British Museum (London, 2000), the Robert and Alene Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C., 2007), the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, 2010), the Lenbachhaus (Munich, 2013), and the Imperial War Museum (London, 2014). Among numerous awards and honours, Norman Foster received the Pritzker Prize in 1999, the Mies van der Rohe Award for Contemporary Architecture in 1990, and the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects in 1994. The Prince of Asturias Prize for the Arts in 2009 recognised his entire career as an architect.

Rubio Arquitectura was founded in 2014 by the architect Carlos Rubio Carvajal (born Barcelona, 1950) and has its headquarters in Madrid. The studio is currently working on various projects in Spain and abroad, including Russia and Saudi Arabia. Awards include the COAM Architecture Prize in 1989.





Exhibition | Antonio Balestra: Nel Segno della Grazia

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 24, 2016

Now on view in Verona:

Antonio Balestra: Nel Segno della Grazia / In the Sign of Grace
Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona, 19 November 2016 — 19 February 2017

antonio-balestraIl Comune di Verona, Direzione Musei d’Arte e Monumenti honors the painter Antonio Balestra (1666–1740) on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the artist’s birth with the exhibition Antonio Balestra: In the Sign of Grace, staged in the Castelvecchio Museum. The exhibition presents over sixty works: paintings, drawings, etchings, and volumes of prints, coming from public and private lenders.

Andrea Tomezzoli, Antonio Balestra: Nel Segno della Grazia (Verona: Scripta Edizioni, 2016), 208 pages, ISBN: 978-8898877690, $38.







Workshop | Etching for Curators and Researchers

Posted in museums, opportunities by Editor on November 24, 2016


From the workshop flyer:

Etching: A Practice-Based Workshop for Curators and Researchers
Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk, 29–30 March 2017

Convened by Jason Hicklin and Peter Moore

Join us for a two-day workshop at Gainsborough’s House that will bring together professionals whose work deals with prints—and in particular, etchings. Through a series of practical sessions in the Gainsborough’s House Print Workshop, accompanied by discussions around works from the collection, participants will gain a better appreciation of the materiality of etchings and a more nuanced understanding of how these processes have been applied and adapted by different artists at different times. The conception of this workshop represents a methodological shift in the academic study of prints, in which object-led and practice-based forms of research are increasingly recognised as valuable components of an art-historical education—especially for those who care for or interpret prints in a curatorial capacity.

Day one (Wednesday) will explore the processes of hard ground and soft ground etching. The first of these techniques, developed in the early sixteenth century, was mastered by artists such as Dürer and Rembrandt and came to occupy a central role in the history of western European art. The innovation of soft ground etching occurred later, in the second half of the eighteenth century, and was particularly popular in Britain; Gainsborough was among its earliest pioneers.

Day two (Thursday) will focus on aquatint, developed in the 1770s. As a tonal method, aquatint presented printmakers with a range of new possibilities for image making. Since its conception, it has been considered as a complementary technique to soft ground etching, and Gainsborough often used it in this way. The popularity of aquatint has continued into the modern era, with the sugar-lift process being favoured by Picasso.

The course will be jointly convened by Jason Hicklin, Lead Tutor and Head of Printmaking at the City & Guilds of London Art School, and Dr Peter Moore, Research Curator at Gainsborough’s House. Each day will run from 10am to 4pm. The cost is £180 (inc. VAT) and includes lunch and refreshments, but not accommodation. For further enquiries and to reserve your place, please contact peter@gainsborough.org. Limited places are available, so early booking is advised.


Journées d’Étude | Académies d’Art et Mondes Sociaux, 1740–1805

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on November 23, 2016

From the conference programme:

Académies d’Art et Mondes Sociaux, 1740–1805
Fonder les institutions artistiques : l’individu, la communauté et leurs réseaux

Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris, 8–9 December 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-11-56-47-amLe XVIIIe siècle connaît un mouvement inédit de fondation d’écoles de dessin et d’académies d’art dans toutes les régions en France. Le phénomène émerge à partir des années 1740 à Rouen et à Toulouse puis se déploie sur l’ensemble du territoire. Il est le fait de quelques hommes déterminés, qui s’inscrivent à la suite des grands projets colbertiens de modernisation de l’État. Ils agissent dans un jeu de tension entre pouvoirs municipaux et autorité royale, ambitions personnelles et intérêts communautaires, projet pédagogique et visée commerciale. Comment naissent ces institutions et quel rôle y prend l’individu selon son rang, ses activités, son milieu ? Quelles stratégies sont mises en œuvre pour donner un cadre juridique et une légitimité sociale à ces établissements ? Quelles logiques président à leur fondation, ces écoles étant pensées comme des structures-clef de la formation et des échanges artistiques, mais aussi comme des viviers d’artistes, d’artisans et d’entrepreneurs prêts à développer des centres de production en Europe. De quelle manière le « modèle » de l’Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture est-il utilisé ou, à l’inverse, contourné devant les contraintes et les logiques locales ?

Ces journées d’étude, premier volet d’une série consacrée aux réseaux des académies d’art, seront l’occasion de questionner la genèse des institutions à travers le prisme de l’individu. En prenant l’exemple de quelques figures phare—entendues comme les ego et leurs alter engagés dans des liens aux configurations multiples, notamment familiales, amicales, socio-professionnelles—nous interrogerons l’épaisseur et l’efficacité des relations humaines dans la construction et l’organisation des établissements. Dans un aller-retour permanent entre l’individuel et le collectif, il s’agira aussi de réfléchir à la fonction des structures institutionnelles comme régulateur social. L’objectif est donc d’accompagner une relecture du mouvement académique à l’appui d’outils d’analyse encore peu usités. Les intervenants s’attacheront à la fois à examiner les sources qui documentent l’ouverture des écoles (correspondances, lettres patentes, etc.) et à déterminer les réseaux sociaux activés.

Issu d’un partenariat scientifique entre le programme de recherche ACA-RES (Les Académies d’art et leurs réseaux dans la France pré-industrielle, soutenu par le Labex Structuration des Mondes Sociaux de l’Université de Toulouse et la MSH-T2) et le Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art de Paris, cette journée d’étude entend privilégier le dialogue entre spécialistes et jeunes chercheurs.

Comité d’organisation
Markus Castor (Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art)
Anne Perrin-Khelissa (Université Toulouse – Jean Jaurès, Laboratoire FRAMESPA UMR 5136)
Émilie Roffidal (CNRS, Laboratoire FRAMESPA UMR 5136)

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J E U D I ,  8  D É C E M B R E  2 0 1 6

17.30  Ouverture — Thomas Kirchner, directeur de Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art Paris
Conférence introductive — Christian Michel, Université de Lausanne, Les relations complexes entre l’Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture et les autres académies du royaume

18.30  Apéritif dinatoire pour les participants

V E N D R E D I ,  9  D É C E M B R E  2 0 1 6

Intervenants de la journée
• Aude Gobet (musée du Louvre), L’académie de Rouen
• Arianne James-Sarazin, L’école de dessin d’Angers
• Gaëtane Maës (université de Lille 3), Les académies de Lille et Valenciennes
• Laëtitia Pierre et Gérard Fabre (musée des beaux-arts de Marseille), L’académie de Marseille
• Fabienne Sartre (université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier 3), L’académie de Toulouse
• Elsa Trani (université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier 3), L’académie de Montpellier
• Nelly Vi-Tong (université de Bourgogne), L’académie de Dijon

9.00  Accueil par Markus Castor, Anne Perrin Khelissa, Emilie Roffidal

9.20  Séance de travail 1 : les hommes
Il s’agira de mettre l’accent sur le rôle des individus dans la création des écoles de dessins et des académies artistiques. Nous interrogerons notamment leur origine sociale, leur carrière, leur entregent, etc.

10.20  Pause

11.30  Table-ronde avec l’ensemble des intervenants et les organisateurs

12.30  Pause déjeuner

14.00  Séance de travail 2 : les textes fondateurs
Au cours de cette séance, les textes fondateurs des établissements (lettres patentes, statuts, règlements et d’autres sources) seront examinés pour en questionner les contenus, les objectifs et leurs évolutions.

15.15  Pause

16.15  Table-ronde avec l’ensemble des intervenants et les organisateurs

17.00  Conférence conclusive — Nathalie Heinich (EHESS), Le phénomène académique : une approche sociologique





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