New Book | Writing Britain’s Ruins

Posted in books by Editor on November 12, 2017

Michael Carter,‎ Peter Lindfield, and Dale Townshend, eds., Writing Britain’s Ruins (London: British Library Publishing, 2017), 240 pages, ISBN: 978 07123 09783, £30.

Over the course of the long eighteenth century, Britain’s ruined medieval or ‘Gothic’ abbeys, castles, and towers became the objects of intense cultural interest. Turning their attention away from Classical to local and national sites of architectural ruin, antiquaries and topographers began to scrutinise and sketch, record, and describe the material remains of the British past, an expression of interest in domestic antiquity that was shared by many contemporary painters, poets, writers, politicians, and tourists. This book traces the ways in which a selection of English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish ruins served as the objects of continuous cultural reflection between 1700 and 1850, drawing together essays on the antiquarian, poetic, visual, oral, fictional, dramatic, political, legal, and touristic responses that they engendered. Writing Britain’s Ruins provides an accessible and engaging interdisciplinary account of the ways in which Britain’s ruins inspired writers, artists, and thinkers during a period of extraordinary cultural richness.

Michael Carter is Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage. Peter N. Lindfield is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow based at the University of Stirling. Dale Townshend is Professor of Gothic Literature in the Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University.







Call for Papers | Kings & Queens Conference #7, Ruling Sexualities

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 11, 2017

From the call for papers, via the Royal Studies Network:

Kings & Queens Conference 7, Ruling Sexualities
Hampton Court Palace and the University of Winchester, 9–12 July 2018

Proposals due by 31 December 2017

The Kings & Queens conference series will be hosted by Historic Royal Palaces and the University of Winchester for its seventh edition on 9–12 July 2018. The first day will be held at Hampton Court Palace with the remaining days at the University of Winchester. We aim to connect scholars across the world whose research focuses on topics related to royal history, diplomacy, art history, political history, biographical studies or any other issues included in the scope of royal studies. This edition of the Kings and Queens conference will have a particular focus on gender and sexuality as central themes. We are especially interested in studies relating to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer (LGBTQ) identities and the role of sexuality and gender to royal histories.

We look to gain an understanding of the perceptions, practices, and legacies of gender and sexual identities relating to monarchs, royals and their courts, realising that these may have been very different in historic periods to our contemporary understandings. All topics related to these issues will be welcomed, from diverse chronological periods and parts of the world. We hope that interpretation of these topics for the public in heritage contexts will form a particular focus of the day at Hampton Court Palace. We also welcome papers which are unrelated to our central theme and subtopics but contribute more widely to the field of royal studies.

The following list includes potential topics for papers, panels or posters, which are suggested as inspiration. Proposers should not feel limited by these topics and we welcome a broad range of ideas and interpretations.

Perceptions and Performance
• The self-representation of monarchs, royals, and courtiers
• Royal and court fashion, including cross-dressing
• The construction and definition of royal sexual and gender identities, including LGBTQ identities, heterosexuality, and straight identities
• Asexuality and virgin monarchs

• The lives and roles of companions and influencers, including concubines, mistresses, and same-sex favourites
• The biographies of LGBTQ monarchs, royals, and courtiers
• Propaganda around sexuality and gender identity, whether positive or negative
• Concealed, illicit, or hidden royal relationships
• Close same-sex friendships

• The posthumous perception and representation of royal sexuality and gender identity, and how this defines legacy and dynasty
• The changing historiography and perception of royal sexuality, gender identity, and LGBTQ histories
• The interpretation of royal gender and sexuality in museum and heritage contexts

The conference will include both paper sessions and a poster session at Hampton Court Palace to highlight the developing research of students and early career scholars. Please note that postgraduate students and early career scholars are welcome to give either posters at the Hampton Court session or papers in the general sessions at Winchester, depending on their preference.

Individual proposals should indicate whether it is for a poster or paper and include a title, institutional affiliation, an abstract of 250–300 words, and a one-page CV or biography. For panels, the proposal should include a maximum of four different papers accompanied by the same information required for individual proposals and a short rationale of approximately 100 words for the panel. If the panel has an institutional or societal sponsor, please include this with the panel proposal. All proposals should be submitted by 31 December 2017, to kq7winchester@gmail.com, and any queries about the conference can also be directed to this address.

Conference | Münster Castle at 250

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on November 11, 2017

Johann Conrad Schlaun, Palace at Münster, 1767–87, constructed for Maximilian Friedrich von Königsegg-Rothenfels (1708–1784), the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne and the Bishop of Münster from 1761 to 1784 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

From H-ArtHist, with a copy of the conference flyer here:

Das Münsteraner Schloss: Fürstbischöflicher Residenzbau am Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts
Das Münsteraner Schloss, Münster, 7–8 December 2017

Internationale Tagung organisiert vom Institut für Kunstgeschichte und der Zentralen Kustodie der Universität Münster

Am 26. August 2017 jährte sich die Grundsteinlegung des Fürstbischöflichen Residenzschlosses in Münster zum 250. Mal. Der bedeutende Bau, der seine Zweckbestimmung nur gut anderthalb Jahrzehnte erfüllen konnte und heute als Hauptgebäude der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität genutzt wird, ist vielfach Gegenstand kunsthistorischer Forschungen gewesen. Diese betrafen insbesondere die Klärung der Planungs- und Baugeschichte sowie die Stellung des Schlosses im Oeuvre seines Entwerfers, des fürstbischöflichen Architekten Johann Conrad Schlaun.

Im Lichte neuerer, stärker kulturgeschichtlich orientierter Forschungsansätze möchten wir das Jubiläum nutzen, um neue Fragen an den Bau zu richten: Wie lässt sich das Münsteraner Schloss im Kontext fürstbischöflicher Residenzen im Heiligen Römischen Reich kontextualisieren? Auf welche Modelle höfischer Repräsentations- und symbolischer Kommunikationskultur bezieht es sich, und welche eigenen Akzente wurden dabei gesetzt? Welchen konkreten Nutzungen wurde das Schloss unterworfen? In welche Beziehung tritt es zur Stadt?

Die Tagung ist öffentlich. Eine Anmeldung ist nicht erforderlich; eine Teilnahmegebühr wird nicht erhoben.

D O N N E R S T A G ,  7  D E Z E M B E R  2 0 1 7

13.30  Begrüßung/Einführung

14.00  Werner Freitag (Münster), Tridentinische Reform und katholische Aufklärung: Das Fürstbistum Münster im 18. Jahrhundert

14.45  Gerd Dethlefs (Münster), Das Schloss und die Politik. Voraussetzungen und Folgen 1688–1803

16.00  Stefan Kummer (Würzburg), Die Würzburger Residenz als fürstbischöfliches Schloss

16.45  Georg Satzinger (Bonn), Die Dreiflügelanlage als Problem: Schloss Weißenstein in Pommersfelden

19.00  Abendvortrag | Elisabeth Kieven (Rom/Osnabrück), Schlossbau gegen Ende des Ancien Régime. Das Fürstbischöfliche Schloss in Münster im europäischen Kontext

F R E I T A G ,  8  D E Z E M B E R  2 0 1 7

9.15  Marc Jumpers (Bonn), Das Schloss zu Münster als Residenz eines geistlichen Reichsfürsten: Innenraumdisposition und Zeremoniell unter Kurfürst und Fürstbischof Maximilian Friedrich von Königsegg-Rothenfels

10.00  Kristina Deutsch (Münster), Vom Luxus der Privatheit: Das Gelbe Kabinett und die fürstbischöflichen Appartements im Münsteraner Schloss

11.15  Katharina Krause (Marburg), Bauen ohne Messlatte: Die Münsteraner adligen Wohnhöfe in einer Residenzstadt ohne Schloss

12.00  Eva-Bettina Krems (Münster), Das Münsteraner Schloss: Ein- und Ausblick

Eva-Bettina Krems
Jens Niebaum






Exhibition | Animals: Respect, Harmony, Subjugation

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 10, 2017

Press release for the exhibition:

Animals: Respect, Harmony, Subjugation
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, 3 November 2017 — 4 March 2018

Animals are a frequent subject of debate these days. Do they have a soul? How much do they suffer? Are we under any obligation to protect their individuality by granting them rights? Are human beings morally authorized to do as they want with animals, to consume them, rob them of their freedom and train them for the purposes of entertainment? Scientific discussion takes the relationship between animal and human being very seriously. In the everyday life of our consumption-oriented society, on the other hand, that relationship oscillates between unreflecting exploitation and sentimental anthropomorphization. Against the background of these contrasts, the exhibition Animals at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg has been geared primarily towards informing visitors and sensitizing them to ways and means of respectful co-existence. With a view to the visual and applied arts but also to science, the show undertakes to re-evaluate the common history of man and animal from the perspective of a wide range of epochs, cultures and media. Loans from museums as well as natural history and ethnology-oriented institutions of Germany and the world will enhance the objects from the MKG’s own abundant and diverse collection. The chief focus is on works of the visual arts in which the interaction between animal and man gives rise to something altogether new. So-called thematic islands unite creations of high culture with those from popular contexts, while also integrating examples from indigenous cultures and natural history. The exhibition features some 200 objects dating from antiquity to the present, including paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, video art, large-scale installations and films. In addition to the 1,200 square metres exhibition there are 14 satellite locations throughout the entire museum that focus on animals. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Hirmer Verlag.

This exhibition explores the relationship of animals and mankind with a view on the arts and focusses on ethical, spiritual and emotional questions. The centre for Natural History (CeNak) at the University of Hamburg, as a cooperation institution of the MKG, completes the perspective with a scientific view of mankind in the animal world. Beside the joint projects with the Zoological Museum, CeNak presents a special exhibition Vanishing Legacys: The world as a Forest (10 November 2017 – 29 March 2018) addressing the current research results regarding species extinction, deforestation and climate change.

Origins and Inspiration

The oldest known depictions of animals date to over 30,000 years ago—carved out of bones or painted on the walls of caves. Ever since humans started making artworks, animals have been one of the main sources of inspiration. The earliest object in the exhibition, the engaging amber sculpture of a moose from Weitsche, dates back to the Ice Age. Just like a falcon sculpture found in Egypt, a jade deer from China, a bull from the ancient Orient, and a golden boar from Greece, it bears witness to the encounter between human and animal. All of these works tell us something about how humans viewed the animals around them, how the particular society saw itself and about its religious and moral constitution, its attitude to creation and to nature. The exhibition examines how artists across the ages envisioned animals and the aesthetic developments that influenced their interpretations.

Longing and Distance

Paradise! A return to Arcadia is not possible, but the arts can play a vital role on the way to a better future. The selection of works on view is not based on chronology or specific species; instead, two renderings of elephants form thematic bookends for a wide range of animal depictions ranging from early civilizations to the present. The cave was the birthplace of both magic and enlightenment, as our ancestors began to develop a first impression of themselves and the world. Humans did not yet dominate their world; on a painting in the Mutoko Cave in Zimbabwe, fleet stick figures seek their place in the vast animal kingdom. Two majestic elephant silhouettes stand watch over the scene teeming with flora and fauna. They are the rulers of the visible world and the mediators between it and transcendental spheres. The life-size copies made by art students in 1929 on an expedition to Zimbabwe with the ethnologist Leo Frobenius spread word of the prehistoric rock and cave paintings. The seven-meter-wide drawing of the Big Elephants and further sheets convey in the exhibition a connection between human and animal in prehistoric times, in a society whose organization we still know very little about. But they stand above all for modern man’s longing for a harmonious consensus with nature, a primordial state that we presume prevailed in many early civilizations.

It is for this reason that Franz Marc’s Dog Lying in the Snow (1911) and The Goldfish (1925) by Paul Klee are juxtaposed with the cave paintings in the show. Both artists tried in their work to picture an authentic world that had in the meantime been lost. Klee’s Goldfish visualizes the beginnings of life emerging from the primordial soup of the waters. Marc’s metaphysical view of a resting animal at peace with itself and the world imagines an early state of innocence, which must then yield to the exigencies of civilization. Joseph Beuys, too, evoked melancholy at the loss of an edenic unity of man and animal. He sought closer contact with the animal spirit in ceremonial acts. Just as the ‘animalization’ of the world represented for Marc a vision of the future, for Beuys, recovering the communication between human and animal was an integral part of a new, environmentally motivated social movement.

A contemporary response to the elephants from the cave is provided in a video installation by Douglas Gordon from 2003: the elephant cow Minnie was brought from the circus to New York’s Gagosian Gallery. We see her there laying down—or falling—and awkwardly getting up again in a clinical white room. In Play Dead; Real Time, Gordon doesn’t summon thoughts of a common origin but instead reflects on the changed balance of power in the course of thousands of years of co-evolution of humans and elephants. Forced to assume unusual poses for the camera, Minnie looks both powerful and vulnerable at the same time. In her clumsy movements, she lends a face to all the anonymous trapping, training, and exploitation of elephants perpetrated by so many humans. The impressive work combines admiration for the beauty and dignity of the animal with empathy for a subjugated and drilled creature, and finally grief over the dying out of an endangered species.

Insight and Appropriation

We can never really know what it feels like to be an animal, nor can we say with any certainty how an animal feels about us. The desire to understand animals is an ancient one. Insights have been sought using all conceivable means. Scientific developments in this field and innovations in technical media have also influenced artistic practice. Over the centuries, paintings and graphic art techniques have shaped our basic concepts about the animal world. In the Renaissance, animals were made the sole subjects of depictions. Durer’s Young Hare is still today an iconic animal image. A contemporary copy by Hans Hoffmann is on view in the exhibition. Dürer’s Rhinoceros, on the other hand, originally printed as a leaflet, brought an animal worldwide fame that normally lies outside our horizon of experience. The combination of the fantastical, factual, and direct observation is characteristic of bestiaries and zoological encyclopedias that map the myriad species of the animal kingdom; exotic and mythical beasts are rendered here just as realistically as domestic animals. The deceptively true-to-life images are not an end in themselves, however, but are above all testimonies to the skills of the artists who made them. In the mid-18th century, George Stubbs’s gaze penetrated right under the animal’s skin. In five layers, he dissected the body of a horse down to the bare skeleton. This knowledge-oriented deconstruction reveals not only the anatomical facts but also a fundamental realization: The horse, like the human, is a creature of flesh and blood, vulnerable and capable of feeling pain. In the 19th century, the new media of photography and film brought previously hidden phenomena to light, and X-rays laid bare the internal structure of animals. Etienne-Jules Marey’s chrono-photographic experiments captured motion sequences in slow motion, in order to find new answers to the ageold question: Why does a cat always fall on its paws?

Animals can do many things humans can’t: they can rise into the air and maneuver safely through the dark night, like the bat. Bats sleep upside down while we are awake, and then unfurl their wings at dusk. A watercolor from the Dürer school depicts the bat’s flight apparatus in detail, the animal’s wingspan spreading beyond the margins of the sheet. Detailed anatomical studies were meant to make the ‘fantastic’ world of animals understandable. Ernst Haeckel, for example, ventured in his 1904 Art Forms in Nature thirteen taxonomic descriptions of various bat faces. In the exhibition, a contemporary study of the bat’s abilities is contributed by Bat Bot from 2017. An American research team succeeded in mimicking the fascinating bat aeronautics, complete with complex movement sequences and a whisper-thin flight membrane.

Subjugation and Fascination

Do animals have a soul? Are we really entitled to eat them, imprison them, and drill them to do our bidding? In an image cosmos made up of 177 individual photographs made between 2006 and 2010 in various European food production locations, Michael Schmidt shows matter-of-factly, without sentiment or any moral appeal, the reality of the processing of animals for food. The very objectivity of this presentation of an everyday practice prompts us to critically reflect on the mass exploitation of animals. A rejoinder to the tableau Food is posed by an 18th-century Boar’s Head Tureen from the collection of MKG. In that era, hunting wild animals was still a dangerous feat, and their consumption not yet commonplace and hence associated with special ceremonies. While in the Middle Ages the bloody animal corpse would be placed directly on the table, the etiquette of the European courts banished the evisceration and cutting up of the animal to the kitchen. The deceptively realistic porcelain boar’s head contains not an identifiable animal but rather a steaming pot of game meat ragout.

Tethart Philipp Christian Haag, Orangutan Eating Strawberries, 1776, oil on canvas, 109 × 89 cm (Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ullrich-Museum, Kunstmuseum des Landes Niedersachsen).

The young female orangutan that was brought to The Hague from the Dutch East Indies in 1776 caused a sensation. Speculations about the nature and appearance of the great apes and the boundaries between human and animal could finally be tested on a living specimen. The orangutan was clever, could break free of her chains, open a bottle of wine, take a swig, and then put it back. She was always in a good mood and didn’t like sleeping alone. On the first oil painting of a great ape, this orangutan eats strawberries from a porcelain plate with a silver fork. Despite these civilized traits, however, her abode is still a barren pen lined with straw. Human superiority is substantiated. Two generations later, Charles Darwin would characterize the ape as man’s closest relative, arguing for its ability to feel and empathize with others. Since then, humans have been forced to acknowledge that they are not the crowning achievement of all creation but merely one animal among others. Only recently there have been discussions in the USA and Turkey about banning Darwin’s theory of evolution from school curricula—demonstrating how disturbing this realization can still be even today.

No animal has preoccupied man as much as the ape. This is evident from a variety of exhibits: For the Egyptians, the baboon was the incarnation of Thot, the god of wisdom. The medieval world view banished the apes to the kingdom of the devil. On the stage of the Baroque courts, the ape wore a wig and inspired laughter with his vain attempts as an artist. In the wake of Darwin’s theorizing about evolution, Gabriel von Max showed a rhesus monkey confronting the skeleton of a fellow ape in a painting from around 1900—does the ape realize upon this sight its own mortality? As late as the 1920s, apes in the zoo were still being presented dressed in human clothing. The constellation of ape and woman became a hot topic in the 1930s with the movie hero King Kong, a subject of lasting fascination. The chilling realism of the monstrous giant ape and the breathtaking chase scenes and views of the beast scrambling up New York’s Empire State Building contrasted the savage beast with the contemporary ideal of the progress of civilization. In the bloody end, however, pity for the unrequited lover triumphs over the fear of untamed nature.

Myth and Desire

Ancient mythology provided some disturbing answers to the question of where human nature ends and animality begins. From the constellation of god—human—animal, it developed hybrid creatures that challenge boundaries and taxonomies. How close or how far apart are human and animal? These composite creatures are unsettling because they make us sense that the boundaries are fluid … Out of the countless anthropomorphic creatures that lie outside the accepted systems, the exhibition has chosen to focus on feathered changelings. The femme fatale decked out in feathers is dangerous! The Sphinx with her riddles about the world is featured on Sigmund Freud’s ex libris for good reason … Medusa’s gaze can kill, no man alive can resist the song of the sirens, and vampires subsist on the blood of humans. As erotic temptresses, they make men their victims, arousing desire even today. Amidst ancient sculptures and paintings by Fernand Khnopff, Franz von Stuck, and Max Beckmann, the exhibition circuit also presents a modern-day siren: a bolero covered in parrot feathers from Jean Paul Gaultier’s first haute couture collection, in 1997, animated by a multimedia projection created at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg that lends the seductive feathered object a voice.

Johann Heinrich Füssli, The Nightmare, oil on canvas (Freies Deutsches Hochstift / Frankfurt Goethe Museum, photo: David Hall).

Humans do not appear physically in this exhibition; they are presented instead by way of their desires and fears as mirrored in the depiction of animals. After their physical bearings have been lost and their faculty of reason switched off, however, we do encounter humans in two memorable images: Francisco Goya’s The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters from 1799 shows a man in an ‘exceptional state’, beset by owls and bats. The most famous scene of animals taking command is Johann Heinrich Füssli’s Nightmare, whose animal protagonists give rise to a wide range of interpretations: incest fantasy, the processing of unfulfilled passions, a moral panorama of the revolutionary age, or an encoded expression of violence. Because it lends itself to so many possible readings, the painting with its trio of white horse, apelike incubus, and woman’s body lasciviously draped upside-down across the bed has become an iconic image of the unfathomable relationship between human and animal. In the age of Enlightenment, animals insist in this picture on having a life of their own, which humans try to suppress and dominate without being able to fully comprehend it. When the dreamer awakes, her nighttime companions have vanished. This is why the physical weight of these chimeras so disturbs the subconscious mind. They point to the connection between animals and sexuality, an association already anchored in ancient mythology, which was taken up by Sigmund Freud and then appears in various forms in the erotic fantasies of the 20th century. Max Ernst painted the motif of the Bride of the Wind in 1927 as something he had seen in a dream, under the influence of psychoanalysis. Two amorphous horse bodies writhe in love play, under the sway of a magical star. The concept of the ‘uncanny’ that Freud formulated in 1919, which acknowledges a feeling of strangeness, repulsion, and fear as part of what we find aesthetic, applies exceptionally well to the animals people encounter in their dreams.

Reconciliation and Respect

The exhibition ends on a conciliatory note with the video installation Raptor’s Rapture by Allora & Calzadilla. A musician and an Old World vulture sit opposite one another, and aggressive tones fill the room. The music is played on a prehistoric flute, a replica of the oldest surviving musical instrument, which came to light in 2008 in the Hohle Fels Cave. It was carved 35,000 years ago from the wing bone of a griffon vulture, an ancestor of our protagonist. Through the music, the bird and woman symbolically come into contact with their ancestors. They communicate in this way, the vulture responding to the sound of the flute with guttural calls and spanning its powerful wings. ‘Kak, kak’, calls the flute just like the vulture, sounds from a distant world. If the ability to express oneself artistically is part of being human, then it was apparently the animal that triggered this creativity in the first place. The vulture contributed the material for the flute not only with its wing bone, also sending the impulse to create sound and conveying to humans a sense of musicality. Raptor’s Rapture shows human and animal wrapped up in a dialogue and thus awakens the longing for harmonious co-existence—a desire that is presumed to have prevailed in primitive society but which has now been lost and must be regained in order to confidently face a common future.

Sabine Schulze and Dennis Conrad, eds., Tiere: Respekt, Harmonie, Unterwerfung (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2017), 288 pages, ISBN: 978 37774 29571, 40€.





Chawton House Appeal

Posted in on site, opportunities by Editor on November 10, 2017

From Chawton House Library:

We are launching an urgent, large-scale funding campaign to reimagine and enhance the manor house in Chawton that was as familiar to Jane Austen as her own village home.

We have ambitious plans for Jane Austen’s ‘Great House’ to reach its full potential as a major literary landmark. We want to expand our facilities to secure the house’s survival and provide an enhanced experience of the Chawton estate that was Jane Austen’s home throughout the final, productive years of her life.

We need your help to turn this vision into reality.

hen Jane’s brother Edward inherited the Chawton manor house from childless relatives, he offered a nearby cottage on the estate to his mother and two sisters.

Jane would spend the most productive years of her literary life there. She regularly came and went along the road between her cottage (now Jane Austen’s House Museum) to the Elizabethan property she called the ‘Great House’, where she dined with her family and happily ‘dawdled away’ much of her time.

The ‘Great House’ is now a fast developing visitor attraction complete with Austen family heirlooms, as well as a world-renowned research centre for early women’s writing. In 2018, the foundation that has funded us for many years is focusing its funding on other projects, and we are facing a shortfall of 65% of our income. We know Jane Austen’s ‘Great House’, should be a major historic literary landmark but it does not currently have the facilities to reach its full potential.

We have ambitious plans to create a cultural literary destination within the wider grounds of the ‘Great House’, offering larger and more extensive visitor facilities and providing an enhanced experience of the Chawton estate that was Jane Austen’s home throughout the final, productive years of her life.

The reimagining of Jane’s ‘Great House’ into a more recognised, commercially viable destination will help secure the house, the wider estate, and also our unique collection of early women’s writing and books we know Jane Austen read in her brother’s library. Our treasures include an original manuscript in Jane Austen’s own hand, first and early editions of all of her novels, and also works by important women writers who inspired her, and whom she inspired.

We need your help to turn this vision into reality. Please help see us through to the next chapter by donating to our appeal or by getting involved in our fundraising.


Call for Papers | Femmes artistes à l’âge classique

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 9, 2017

From the Call for Papers:

Femmes artistes à l’âge classique: arts du dessin – peinture, sculpture, gravure
Musée / École du Louvre, Paris, 31 May — 1 June 2018

Proposals due by 20 December 2017

Université Paris Nanterre, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, et avec le soutien de l’université Paris VIII et du musée du Louvre

L’art au féminin n’est plus regardé comme une anomalie. Plusieurs expositions ont récemment mis à l’honneur des peintres femmes du XVIIIe siècle. Une première rétrospective française consacrée à Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Le Brun a été présentée en 2015–2016 au Grand Palais à Paris, au Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York et au Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada à Ottawa1 et ses Souvenirs ont été à cette occasion réédités2. Longtemps restée dans l’ombre de son maître et beau-frère Fragonard, Marguerite Gérard est aujourd’hui révélée, notamment grâce à une exposition tenue en 2009 au musée Cognacq-Jay3. La nouvelle acquisition par la Neue Pinakothek de Munich du tableau de Marie-Gabrielle Capet représentant Adélaïde Labille-Guiard dans son atelier (Salon de 1808), les recherches menées autour de cette œuvre ainsi qu’une exposition au musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen en 20144 ont attiré l’attention sur cette artiste méconnue. Elle apparaît pourtant avec Marie-Marguerite Carreaux de Rosemond dans L’Autoportrait avec deux élèves5 de Labille-Guiard dévoilé au Salon de 1785 et conservé aujourd’hui dans les collections du Metropolitan Museum of Art, tableau qui s’apparente à une véritable défense et illustration de la place des femmes en peinture. En 2015, le Portrait d’une violoniste, chef- d’œuvre d’Anne Vallayer-Coster, a été adjugé à 903 000 euros pour le Nationalmuseum de Stockholm, l’un des musées européens les plus actifs en matière d’acquisitions, en particulier pour l’art français du XVIIIe siècle6. Dans le sillage d’un accrochage thématique du Centre Pompidou, une exposition retraçait en 2011 le parcours des sculpteurs femmes du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours7.

Les exemples pourraient être multipliés, en France et en Europe. Certaines artistes de la période classique sont de nos jours admirées et des listes fleurissent, qui recensent des peintres et des sculpteurs célèbres, et que retient la postérité : les peintres italiennes Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1652) et Elisabetta Sirani (1638–1665), l’Espagnole et Lusitanienne Josefa de Óbidos (1630–1684), la Suissesse Angelika Kauffmann (1741–1807), les Françaises Catherine Duchemin (1630–1698), Geneviève (1645–1708) et Madeleine (1646–1710) de Boullogne, et Élisabeth-Sophie Chéron (1648–1711), les quatre premières femmes peintres à être admises à l’Académie royale, la Vénitienne Rosalba Giovanna Carriera (1675–1757), ou encore les sculpteurs françaises Marie-Anne Collot (1748–1821), Clémence de Sermezy (1767–1850) et Julie Charpentier (1770–1845), et la liste pourrait continuer. Dans le domaine de la peinture surtout, mais aussi dans celui, réputé plus « viril » et austère, de la sculpture, des artistes femmes se sont toujours illustrées. D’emblée, elles sont observées, scrutées, remarquées. Diderot surnommait Marie-Anne Collot, sculpteur surdouée, élève de Falconet, « Mademoiselle Victoire », en écho peut-être à « l’illustre Mademoiselle Chéron », ainsi baptisée. Malgré les louanges, la plupart ont payé de leur existence personnelle le prix fort, rançon du succès. Le public de jadis se délectait des esclandres, réels ou inventés, de leur vie privée, traquant les intrigues qui devaient nécessairement entourer leur carrière. Notre époque leur rend hommage, distinguant certaines destinées et brandissant l’étendard de leur modernité. Ces artistes femmes travaillent, apprennent et souhaitent se perfectionner, préfèrent fréquemment signer leurs œuvres de leur nom de naissance ou de leur double nom, tissent des liens avec d’autres artistes, gagnent de l’argent et parfois même de coquettes pensions, aspirent à la reconnaissance – artistique, sociale, économique – et à la renommée.

Mais ces femmes peintres et sculpteurs célèbres éclipsent les autres, artistes de l’ombre. Mises à part quelques figures emblématiques, que savons-nous de ces nombreuses peintres de natures mortes, de fleurs et de fruits, de portraits et de scènes de genre, souvent en miniature, de celles qui manient, taillent et sculptent la pierre et le marbre, inventent des techniques pour la gravure en pierres fines et sur médaillons, illustrent des ouvrages littéraires ou savants, et se piquent encore de collectionner et de vendre un art qu’elles apprécient, en amateurs éclairées et avisées ? Comment leur choix est-il motivé ? Par qui sont-elles guidées ? Quels réseaux de sociabilité artistique sont créés ? Et surtout, quelle fut la vraie vie, concrète, de ces artistes multiples ? L’idée de ce colloque est de sonder leurs intentions et d’explorer ces pistes, afin d’examiner à la fois la place et le rôle des artistes femmes dans le monde de l’art du XVIIIe siècle.

On se propose d’examiner 4 axes en particulier :

« Femmes artistes », « artistes femmes »

Comment ces artistes sont-elles désignées, et de quelle manière préfèrent-elles se nommer ? Le siècle hésite à se saisir d’expressions pour les qualifier. « Peintre » (des deux genres), « femme peintre », ou encore « peintresse8 » dans les écoles professionnelles de Paris, semblent conjointement être employés, mais avec quelles connotations possibles et quelles revendications éventuelles ? Quels vocables sont utilisés dans les dictionnaires d’art, les textes des théoriciens, les écoles et les Académies, les manuels ou encore dans Les Vies qui tentent de dresser l’inventaire des artistes, dans leurs Mémoires et Souvenirs, et même dans les fictions littéraires ? Quand et sous quelles plumes apparaissent les expressions «femme sculpteur» et «sculptrice», «graveur» et «graveuse», «dessinateur» et «dessinatrice», «amateur» et «amatrice» et même «collectionneur» et « collectionneuse » ? À la fin du siècle, dans son Dictionnaire critique, Féraud enregistre le terme amatrice, « mot nouveau » jugé utile, et signale des usages divers et parfois contraires – « on dit, cette femme est Auteur, Poète, Philosophe, Médecin, Peintre, etc., et non pas Autrice, Poétesse, Philosophesse, médecine, Peintresse » – tout en précisant : « Peintre est de deux genres. Mlle de… peintre en miniatûre9 ». À l’orée d’une nouvelle ère, Mercier discute longuement dans sa Néologie les querelles liées au mot « amatrice » pour conclure à sa nécessité, tandis qu’il se moque, amusé, et avec sous-entendus sensuels, du terme « peintresse10 ». On s’interrogera ainsi sur la querelle du genre des mots, plus subtile qu’il n’y paraît.

Portrait de l’artiste en (jeune) femme : les conditions de vie

Quelles sont les conditions de travail et de vie de ces artistes ? De quelles façons apprennent-elles leur art, où peuvent-elles l’exercer et l’exposer, avec qui à leurs côtés ? Comment pensent-elles la théorie et la pratique de leur métier ? Quels sont leurs arts et leurs sujets de prédilection, favoris ou imposés, et théorisés ou non dans cette obligation ? On sait que la très grande majorité de ces artistes sont filles, sœurs ou femmes de peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs et marchands d’art ou collectionneurs et dépendent ainsi du bon vouloir des hommes, heureusement fort nombreux, qui les ont volontiers formées, aidées et considérées. Néanmoins, ces artistes sont cantonnées à certains arts et à certains genres. Plusieurs femmes s’adonnent ainsi à la gravure, telles Maria de Wilde – graveur et dramaturge néerlandaise, réputée notamment pour avoir gravé la collection d’art de son père – les sœurs Horthemels – Louise-Magdeleine épouse de Charles-Nicolas Cochin père, Marie-Anne Hyacinthe du graveur Nicolas-Henri Tardieu et Marie-Nicole du peintre Alexis Simon Belle, toutes trois professionnelles – ou encore Marie Fontaine – épouse de Bonnart, qui apprend le commerce de l’estampe aux côtés de son mari et décide à la mort de ce dernier de poursuivre l’activité de la boutique, non sans essuyer plusieurs revers professionnels. Relativement simplement acceptée, la pratique de la gravure est assimilée à une activité artistique modeste, orientée du côté de la reproduction et de la « traduction » entre les arts, donc convenable à la gent féminine11. Mais ces artistes femmes sont également reléguées à certains sujets, situés en bas de la hiérarchie des genres. Artistes du petit, elles sont privées de réalisations monumentales. Elles ne peuvent ni peindre ni sculpter d’après nature ou d’après des modèles nus, ne suivent aucun cours d’anatomie – n’en déplaise à Marie Biheron, qui tentera habilement d’y remédier – et sont ainsi empêchées de tout accès au succès et à la gloire. L’art du portrait, sous toutes ses formes – pictural, sculptural, miniature, médaillon – leur est dévolu, ainsi que celui de l’autoportrait. Fait significatif : l’art du portrait se situe précisément à la frontière, poreuse, entre grand style et scène de genre, manière à peine détournée de pratiquer une peinture d’histoire. Il hésite entre idéal mythologique – en vogue parmi la noblesse – et intimisme – plutôt prôné par la bourgeoisie montante. À côté de la dimension dynastique et familiale – femmes et mères, lignée – s’ajoute bientôt la veine culturelle et sociale – femmes au travail, ou lisant, écrivant, conversant. Or ces deux types de représentations obéissent à une même logique d’émancipation et appartiennent chacune à leur manière à une stratégie de communication, concertée avec leurs modèles. L’un des aspects essentiels de leur art est justement le lien qu’elles établissent entre théorie et pratique, dont l’autoportrait est le signe manifeste. Certaines deviennent maîtres à leur tour, et même théoriciennes, telle Catherine Perrot par exemple qui rédige déjà à la fin du XVIIe siècle Les Leçons royales ou la manière de peindre en miniature. Leurs réflexions sur leur art et sur l’art se transmettent. Et c’est à travers leur style, leur touche et leur technique qu’en véritables artistes elles disent le plus à la fois de leur vision de l’art et d’elles-mêmes. On cherchera à comprendre ces créatrices, autant de femmes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, et peut-être architectes, et encore amateurs et collectionneurs.

Ambition et pouvoir au féminin : l’étude ou la gloire12

Quelle est la réception de leur art dans les Salons et les journaux de l’époque, en France et en Europe ? En quelle réputation – nationale et internationale, bonne ou mauvaise – sont-elles ? Comment leurs œuvres ont-elles été reçues et comparées (dans les Salons de peinture, mais aussi dans les gazettes, journaux, etc., et même dans les fictions littéraires) ? Y a-t-il une trace de leur présence dans les salons littéraires et artistiques, ainsi que dans la littérature pamphlétaire13 ? Comment circulent leurs œuvres ? Et quels sont les échanges – réels avec les voyages, ou intellectuels et épistoliers – qui existent entre elles et d’autres artistes ? Quels sont les discours tenus sur elles – satires, caricatures, éloges – et sont-elles nécessairement jugées au prisme de leur sexe ? Comment réagissent-elles dans leurs écrits, notamment autobiographiques ?

À quelles conditions et selon quelles modalités sont-elles reçues à l’Académie ? Constate-t-on une évolution à la fin du XVIIIe siècle et durant la période révolutionnaire ? Combien gagnent aisément leur vie et combien deviennent célèbres ? À quel point s’en soucient-elles ? Ces femmes artistes concourent à des Prix et pénètrent au sein des Académies, très souvent alors qu’elles ont entre 20 et 35 ans. Reçues à titre dérogatoire, elles ne sont pas autorisées à prêter serment, ni à enseigner dans les Académies ou à y voter. Quinze ans après la fondation de l’Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, Catherine Duchemin, épouse du sculpteur François Girardon, est la première femme à entrer à l’Académie royale. Geneviève et Madeleine de Boullogne lui succèderont – sur présentation de leur père, l’un des fondateurs de l’Académie royale – ainsi qu’Élisabeth- Sophie Chéron – sur recommandation de Charles Le Brun – toutes comme peintres de fleurs ou portraitistes. Elles exposent aux Salons, reçoivent une pension du Roi et même une gratification. Dorothée Massé, veuve Godequin, est la première à être admise en tant que sculpteur en bois. À la fin du XVIIe siècle, quelques femmes sont donc agréées, mais un décret du début du XVIIIe siècle, resté sans suite, vise à réduire leur nombre. Le mouvement s’amplifie malgré tout et devient même international avec les admissions de la Vénitienne Rosalba Carriera, la Hollandaise Marguerite Havermann, la française Marie-Thérèse Reboul qui épousera Vien, la Prussienne Anna Dorothea Therbusch ainsi qu’Anne Vallayer-Coster et Marie Suzanne Giroust qui se mariera à Roslin. Admises ensemble, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard et Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Le Brun sont immédiatement évaluées à l’aune de leurs différences et leur style – jugé respectivement « masculin » et « féminin » – aussitôt confronté, voire caricaturé.

Mais pour l’une de ces femmes de génie, combien demeurent ignorées, goûtant et pratiquant les arts sans la moindre formation artistique, éloignées des circuits d’exposition ? L’Académie de Saint Luc autorise en son giron des femmes, moyennant des frais d’inscription. Quel rôle jouent également les Académies étrangères et les Académies de province ainsi que les Écoles particulières, seules à ouvrir peut-être plus facilement leurs portes à ces artistes en germe ? Si elles conjuguent au talent la chance de suivre des leçons ou la formation d’un parent, de jeunes artistes réussissent à devenir élève de peintres réputés. Tous n’envisagent pas de les instruire, mais elles sauront gré à ceux, parmi les plus renommés, qui acceptent de les guider – Chardin, Bachelier, Greuze, Vernet et David, en peinture notamment, et pour ne citer qu’eux. Certaines femmes deviennent professeurs et enseignent leur art à leurs jeunes consœurs, ainsi Élisabeth Vigée-Le Brun et Adélaïde Labille- Guiard. Des femmes artistes exposent Place Dauphine, au Salon de la Jeunesse ou de la Correspondance, se font connaître par les journaux. Le Salon Officiel de la Révolution permet à tous les artistes français ou étrangers, membres de l’Académie ou non, de dévoiler leurs ouvrages au Louvre. Extraordinaire aubaine, pour toutes ces artistes anonymes qui peinent à étudier comme elles le voudraient.

La gloire revient à un tout petit nombre d’entre elles, surtout alliées à des femmes de pouvoir ou à des mécènes. Marie-Anne Collot quitte la France pour la Russie avec son maître Étienne Falconet, reçoit une pension importante, une gratification et un traitement conséquents, en sus de la valeur de ses œuvres. En 1767, à 19 ans, elle devient la première femme à être agréée à l’Académie impériale des Beaux-Arts de Saint- Pétersbourg, puis elle est nommée portraitiste de Catherine II. Son travail avec Étienne Falconet en vue de la réalisation du monument de Pierre le Grand excite la polémique et déclenche des rumeurs sur la nature des liens entre le maître et sa très jeune élève. Élisabeth Vigée-Le-Brun fait scandale au Salon de 1783 avec un tableau de Marie-Antoinette en robe « de gaulle », œuvre d’une artiste imposée aux académiciens par le monarque, et provocation lancée au public qui regarde la reine devenue jolie femme en tenue d’intérieur. Adélaïde Labille-Guiard sera nommée à la fin du siècle « Premier Peintre de Mesdames », autant de preuves s’il en est des fonctions éminemment politiques de ces portraits.

Liberté, précarité

Entre ces femmes artistes, aux profils divers, quelles constantes apparaissent ? Liens familiaux et conjugaux, problèmes de la signature, du nom et du renom, dimensions privé et public : tels semblent être les invariants. À plus de trois siècles de distance, ces femmes artistes sont à maints égards nos contemporaines, étonnamment modernes. En reliant certaines oppositions – artistes et femmes, élèves et maîtres, tirant leur force de leur faiblesse – elles dénouent les contradictions et rapprochent les êtres. Il s’agit alors surtout pour elles d’être artiste, ce qui impose indépendamment des sexes un rapport à des pratiques et un certain regard sur le monde. Ces artistes femmes déchaînent les haines. Des hommes s’en méfient et les rejettent ; mais d’autres les estiment, les protègent et les aident. Des femmes mûres et au pouvoir soutiennent ces jeunes artistes ; d’autres, leurs aînées, les empêchent, entre elles règnent rivalité ou émulation, selon les natures humaines. Et la misogynie artistique est loin de se trouver toujours là où l’on s’y attendrait. La barrière qui s’élève est peut-être surtout sociale. Puisqu’à de rares exceptions près, ce sont les femmes de la bourgeoisie et de la noblesse qui vivent de leur travail ou cultivent leur don, jamais les femmes du peuple, les grandes oubliées de l’art. Il revient aux recherches critiques actuelles de devenir les tombeaux de l’artiste inconnue. Dans ce parcours de carrière artistique, combien – devenues mères ou artisans – sont contraintes à l’abandon ?

On pourrait penser que ces artistes, à tout le moins celles qui parviennent à être reconnues telles – mérite, statut, argent – ont consenti à la hiérarchie sélective, la course aux prix et à la reconnaissance, et même entériné cet état de faits. Nul doute en effet que leurs traces ne dessinent un parcours de la combattante en art réservé à une élite. Mais n’y a-t-il pas parmi elles, en nombre, des artistes qui choisissent de se fondre délibérément dans ce système des arts pour mieux en saper de l’intérieur, et avec l’aide de certains hommes artistes, à la fois l’autorité et les fondements ? Et promouvoir ainsi une raison artistique nouvelle, qui met en son centre le corps et le renouvellement non des formes mais des pratiques.

Reste à saisir ce qui distingue, ou non, ces femmes artistes, célèbres ou ignorées, de leurs homologues masculins, non pas tant une vision ou une pratique de l’art, possiblement communes, mais la conscience peut- être plus aigue d’une liberté artistique précaire, et dont il faut user, et profiter, de peur qu’elle ne s’éteigne.

1 L’exposition « Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Le Brun. 1755–1842 » a été organisée par la Réunion des Musées Nationaux et le Grand Palais, le Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York et le Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada (à Paris, du 23/09/2015 au 11/01/2016, New York du 9/02 au 15/05/2016 et Ottawa du 10/06 au 12/09/2016).
2 Les nombreuses éditions ainsi que les traductions témoignent de l’engouement que suscita très rapidement les mémoires de Vigée- Le Brun, voir notamment leur parution chez les éditeurs Fournier (1835–1837) et Charpentier (Paris, 1869) et les éditions de Claudine Hermann, Pierre de Nohlac et récemment Didier Masseau (Paris, Tallandier, 2015), Geneviève Haroche-Bouzinac (Paris, Champion, rééd. 2015) et Patrick Wald Lasowski (Paris, Citadelles & Mazenod, 2015).
3 « Marguerite Gérard (1761–1837). Artiste en 1789, dans l’atelier de Fragonard », Paris, Musée Cognacq-Jay, du 10/09 au 6/12/2009.
4 Marie-Gabrielle Capet (1761–1818). Une virtuose de la miniature, Catalogue de l’exposition présentée au musée des Beaux-arts de Caen (14/06–21/09/2014), Snoeck, Heule, 2014.
5 Le tableau est conservé depuis 1953 dans les collections du Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York.
6 http://www.latribunedelart.com/le-portrait-de-violoniste-d-anne-vallayer-coster-a-ete-acquis-par-stockholm.
7 « elles@centrepompidou. Artistes femmes dans les collections du Musée national d’art moderne » accrochage thématique des collections permanentes du Musée National d’Art Moderne du 27/05/2009 au 21/02/2011, Centre Georges Pompidou. Le Seattle Art Museum a prolongé cette manifestation avec l’accrochage « elles : sam » du 11/10/2012 au 17/02/2013. Dans ce sillage, l’exposition « Sculpture’Elles. Sculpteurs femmes du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours » a eu lieu au Musée des Années 30, espace Landowski, Boulogne-Billancourt, du 12/05 au 2/10/2011.
8 Voir notamment Arlette Farge, La Révolte de Mme Montjean – L’Histoire d’un couple d’artisans au siècle des Lumières, Paris, Albin Michel, 2016, chapitre « La “pintresse” », p. 47–53.
9 Dictionnaire critique de la langue française, par M. l’abbé Féraud, auteur du Dictionaire gramatical (sic), Marseille, Mossy, 1787–1788, articles AMATRICE, I, p. 94 : « *AMATRICE, s. f. J. J. Rousseau et M. Linguet ont employé ce mot. Un inconu (sic) prétend que c’est un mot nouveau et inutile, et qu’on doit dire une femme amateur comme on dit une femme auteur. Il est certain qu’amatrice est un mot nouveau, mais il n’est rien moins qu’inutile aujourd’hui que les femmes se piquent de goût pour les arts, autant et plus que les hommes. Pour la femme amateur, que l’inconu veut qu’on emploie au lieu d’amatrice, et à l’imitation de la femme auteur ; c’est aussi une nouveauté, et moins autorisée, et qui choque bien plus l’oreille qu’amatrice. », FEMME, II, p. 231 et PEINTRE, III, p. 115.
10 Louis Sébastien Mercier, Néologie, ou Vocabulaire des mots nouveaux, à renouveler ou pris dans des acceptions nouvelles, Paris, Moussard/Maradan, 1801, AMATRICE, I, p. 24–31 et PEINTRESSE, I, p. 173–174.
11 Voir l’article « Gravure » rédigé par Martial Guédron, Dictionnaires des femmes des Lumières, Huguette Krief et Valérie André (dir.), Paris, Champion, « Dictionnaire et références », 2015. Sur le thème des femmes artistes, cf. également les articles « Femme auteur » par Vicki Mitacco, « Gloire » par Huguette Krief, « Images picturales de la femme » par Martial Guédron, « Maternité (scène de genre) » par Lesley Walker, « Peintre » par Martial Guédron, « Portrait » par Catriona Seth, « Querelle de la langue » par Éliane Viennot, «Représentation politique» par Anne Verjus et «Sensibilité» par Geneviève Goubier ainsi que les monographies synthétiques sur chacune des artistes.
12 En référence aux propos d’Émilie du Châtelet, Discours sur le bonheur (1706–1749), Robert Mauzi (éd.), Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1961, p. 21 : « Il est certain que l’amour de l’étude est bien moins nécessaire au bonheur des hommes qu’à celui des femmes. Les hommes ont une infinité de ressources pour être heureux, qui manquent entièrement aux femmes. Ils ont bien d’autres moyens d’arriver à la gloire, & il est sûr que l’ambition de rendre ses talents utiles à son pays & de servir ses concitoyens, soit par son habileté dans l’art de la guerre, ou par ses talents pour le gouvernement, ou les négociations, est fort au-dessus de [celle] qu’on peut se proposer pour l’étude ; mais les femmes sont exclues, par leur état, de toute espèce de gloire, & quand, par hasard, il s’en trouve quelqu’une qui est née avec une âme assez élevée, il ne lui reste que l’étude pour la consoler de toutes les exclusions & de toutes les dépendances auxquelles elle se trouve condamnée par état. »
13 Voir notamment Thomas Crow, Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris, Yale University, 1985 et Richard Wrigley, The Origins of French Art Criticism. From the Ancien Régime to the Restoration, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1993.

Comité scientifique
Michel Delon, Université Paris Sorbonne
Guillaume Faroult, Musée du Louvre
Dena Goodman, University of Michigan
Huguette Krief, Université de Provence
Élisabeth Lavezzi, Université Rennes II
Christophe Martin, Université Paris Sorbonne Madeleine Pinault Sorensen, Musée du Louvre Catriona Seth, University of Oxford, All Souls College Richard Wrigley, University of Nottingham

Remise des propositions (titre, présentation d’une page et bio-bibliographie) avant le 20 décembre 2017. Validation par le comité scientifique : 30 janvier 2018. Colloque : jeudi 31 mai et vendredi 1er juin 2018.

Organisation et contacts
• Les propositions de communication (titre et présentation d’une page) ainsi qu’une courte bio-bibliographie (500 signes, espaces incluses) sont à envoyer avant le 20 décembre 2017 à Stéphane Pujol, stephane.pujol@parisnanterre.fr, et Élise Pavy-Guilbert, elise.pavy@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr
• Stéphane Pujol, université Paris Nanterre, CSLF (EA 1586, Centre des Sciences de la Littérature Française), stephane.pujol@parisnanterre.fr
• Élise Pavy-Guilbert, université Bordeaux Montaigne, CLARE (EA 4593, Cultures, Littératures, Arts, Représentations, Esthétiques)/ CEREC (Centre de Recherche sur l’Europe Classique), elise.pavy@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr

Exhibition | Beranger’s Ireland

Posted in exhibitions by internjmb on November 9, 2017

Cromlech on the South Side of Kilternan Hill, 2 miles from Killgobbin (MS 3 C 30/45).

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Now on view at the Royal Irish Academy

Beranger’s Ireland: Eighteenth-Century Watercolours by Gabriel Beranger
Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, 14 August 2017 — 21 December 2017 

Marking the bicentenary of the death of Gabriel Beranger on 18 February 1817, this exhibition features a selection of original watercolours from the collection of the Royal Irish Academy.

Gabriel Beranger (c.1729–1817) was a Dutch artist who came to Ireland in 1750, remaining there until his death. He ran a print shop and artist’s warehouse in Dublin and spent much of his time sketching the antiquities of Ireland. From 1779 to 1783 he was one of the main artists employed by the Hibernian Antiquarian Society—a predecessor of the Royal Irish Academy—to draw the ancient monuments of Ireland. He embarked on an extensive sketching tour of Connacht in 1779 with the Italian architect Bigari, which became the most important archaeological survey of Ireland until the Ordnance Survey began in 1824.

The Academy has one of Ireland’s finest collections of antiquarian drawings, and the Beranger collection is its largest collection of 18th-century watercolours. Many of the drawings are either copies by Beranger of his own originals or of originals by other artists such as General Charles Vallancey or the Earl of Portarlington. This exhibition showcases a selection of drawings of buildings and antiquities, many of which have since either fallen into ruin or entirely disappeared, such as St John’s Tower in Dublin or Ballybrittas Castle, Co Laois. Many of Beranger’s drawings are the only extant records of these monuments of Irish heritage.






Exhibition | Ages of Wonder: Scotland’s Art 1540 to Now

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 8, 2017

Thomas Hamilton (1784–1858) RSA, Design for National Gallery and Royal Scottish Academy.

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Press release from the National Galleries of Scotland:

Ages of Wonder: Scotland’s Art 1540 to Now
Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 4 November 2017 — 7 January 2018

The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) and the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) have collaborated to organise a major new exhibition, which opens in Edinburgh this autumn. Ages of Wonder: Scotland’s Art 1540 to Now will be the largest exhibition of the RSA’s hugely significant collection ever mounted and the first to occupy the entire RSA building.

The RSA is an independently funded institution founded in 1826, and is led by artists and architects to promote and support the creation, understanding and enjoyment of contemporary art. It was instrumental in the establishment of a Scottish national art collection in 1859, with the opening of the Scottish National Gallery (SNG). In 1910, the RSA transferred significant works to the SNG’s collection in exchange for exhibiting rights within what is now known as the RSA Building, which is part of the SNG complex in the heart of Edinburgh.

Ages of Wonder will, for the first time in over 100 years, reunite these paintings and sculptures with the RSA collection, bringing together a selection of over 450 works by more than 270 artists and architects that will highlight the significant part played by RSA in Scottish cultural over the past two centuries. Around 60 outstanding works from NGS will feature in the exhibition.

The artworks on show will cover a period of nearly five centuries, from 1540 until the present day—from the The Adoration of the Kings by Jacopo Bassano (c.1510–1592) right through to Callum Innes’s Exposed Painting Lamp Black, submitted as the artist’s Diploma Work in 2015 after his election as an Academician, and a number of new commissions. Among the exhibition’s highlights will be a spectacular recreation of a Victorian gallery hang, which in RSA Gallery 3 will see over 90 works hung as they would have in the 19th century, from dado rail to ceiling.

Ages of Wonder will also feature a range of special events, including a series of life drawing classes led by prominent contemporary artists such as John Byrne (b.1940), and live etching classes which will utilise a beautifully preserved 19th-century printing press which belonged to the distinguished etcher E. S. Lumsden (1883–1948).

One room will focus on Sir James Guthrie (1859–1930) and the 1910 transfer, featuring major works from both the RSA and NGS, by Guthrie and other artists such as William Dyce (1806–1864) and Joseph Noel Paton (1821–1901), and a specially commissioned sculpture of Guthrie by Kenny Hunter (b.1962). There will also be a room of outstanding portraits of RSA Presidents and artists, showcasing key works by David Allan (1744–1796), Elizabeth Blackadder (b.1934) and Alberto Morrocco (1917–1998).

John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “The NGS and the RSA have a shared history and together we occupy a central place in the past, present and future of the arts in Scotland. We now work very closely together and we are delighted to have partnered with the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) to help deliver what is set to be a historic show. Visitors to the exhibition can soon enjoy some exceptional works by artists both past and present, with items from the national collection complementing the rich and important holdings of the RSA.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated publication edited by Tom Normand and a catalogue. The publication includes essays around the Academy from Duncan Macmillan HRSA, Joanna Soden HRSA, James Holloway, Helen Smailes, Arthur Watson PRSA, Alexander Moffat RSA, William Brotherston RSA, Iain Gale, Lyon and Turnbull, John Morrison, University of Aberdeen, John Lowrey, University of Edinburgh and Sandy Wood, RSA Collections Curator.

Salon hang with William Etty’s Venus of Urbino.








Call for Papers | Portraiture and Biography

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 8, 2017

Left: James Boswell by William Daniell, after George Dance, published 10 April 1802 (28 April 1793), NPG D12117; right: Samuel Johnson by Thomas Trotter, published by George Kearsley, published 1782, NPG D13814.

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From the Paul Mellon Centre:

Portraiture and Biography
London 29–30 November 2018

Proposals due by 1 February 2018

An international conference sponsored jointly by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the National Portrait Gallery.

Biography has always haunted the study of portraiture. Although in recent decades art-historians may have developed a healthy skepticism for the intuitive practice of interpreting portraits with straightforward reference to what is known about the lives of their subjects, the temptation to do so remains strong. Moreover, such is the art-form’s seductive power that even nowadays scholars can still struggle to resist the allure of reading the image of a face as the index of character or mind, and as a corollary, of gauging a portraitist’s mastery in terms of his or her ability to plumb the depths of a sitter’s psyche. These tendencies often appear in their most untrammelled form in analyses of artists’ likenesses of themselves, or of their most intimate acquaintances. Hence the occasion of a major exhibition devoted to Thomas Gainsborough’s portraits of himself and his relations, to be held at the National Portrait Gallery from 22 November 2018 until 23 February 2019, offers a particularly opportune moment to stage a related conference, where critical consideration will be given to the role(s) that the biographical archive might play in portraiture studies going forward.

With the aim of generating a lively and thought-provoking discussion, we would welcome papers that consider portraiture’s fraught relationship with biography without restrictions of time or place, and from the vantage-point of a wide range of disciplines; some of the most interesting recent art-historical work has drawn upon anthropology, microhistory, and material culture studies, for example, though our ambition is to include contributions from across the broadest possible methodological spectrum. Although we would welcome case studies dealing with particular artists or sitters, each proposal should supply clear evidence of a commitment to open up broader questions pertinent to the conference’s overarching theme.

In addition to coinciding with Gainsborough’s Family Album, the conference will take place at a key moment for the National Portrait Gallery, as it develops plans for a major refurbishment of its spaces and the first comprehensive re-presentation of its collection. There could hardly be a better opportunity for colleagues from across the field to think about the role of portraiture in evoking a nation’s history, and to help shape the development and interpretation of the new displays.

Abstracts (of no more than 500 words) for 20-minute papers should be submitted by email to efleming@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk by 5pm on 1st February 2018. We welcome applications from emerging and established scholars. Please also include a short professional biography.

Organizing Committee: David H Solkin, Lucy Peltz, Mark Hallett, and Sarah Victoria Turner



Exhibition | Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 7, 2017

Press relese (5 July 2017) from LACMA:

Painted in Mexico / Pintado en México, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici
Fomento Cultural Banamex, Mexico City, 29 June — 15 October 2017
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 19 November 2017 — 18 March 2018
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 24 April — 22 July 2018

Curated by Ilona Katzew with Jaime Cuadriello, Paula Mues Orts, and Luisa Elena Alcalá

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici, the first major exhibition to reposition the history of 18th-century Mexican painting, a vibrant period marked by major stylistic changes and the invention of compelling new iconographies. Co-organized by LACMA and Fomento Cultural Banamex, A.C. in Mexico City, this exhibition foregrounds the connections between Mexican painting and transatlantic artistic trends while emphasizing Mexican painting’s internal developments and remarkable pictorial output. More than 100 paintings are presented in the exhibition, many on view for the first time and restored for this exhibition.

Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici is curated by Ilona Katzew, curator and department head of Latin American art at LACMA, with guest co-curators Jaime Cuadriello, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Paula Mues Orts, Escuela Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museografía, both of Mexico City, and Luisa Elena Alcalá, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid of Spain. The exhibition is presented as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative and is one of a handful of historical exhibitions focusing on the legacy of Latin American art before the 20th century.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime undertaking of an engrossing chapter in art history,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “Over the last six years, the co-curators have traveled all over Mexico to uncover new materials; many restored specially for the exhibition and photographed for the first time. This is a groundbreaking reassessment of the field, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this important undertaking and advancing new scholarship.”

Ilona Katzew, project director and a noted expert in the field, stated, “The 18th century is a particularly rich period in the history of Mexican art, which has not yet received its due attention. In organizing this exhibition, we hope to open up a vista on a sophisticated and innovative body of work, one that is contextually rich and highly rewarding to look at and study, and share our collective enthusiasm for this fascinating chapter of global art history.”

In the 16th century, European artists immigrated to Mexico to decorate newly established churches and complete artistic commissions. Some of these artists and their families formed workshops in Mexico that endured for several generations. By the 17th century, a new generation of artists born in the Americas began to develop their own pictorial styles that reflected the changing cultural climate as well as the desires of their patrons, both religious and secular. The 18th century ushered in a period of artistic splendor as local schools of painting were consolidated, new iconographies were invented, and artists began to group themselves into academies.

During the 18th century, painters were increasingly asked to create mural-size paintings to cover the walls of sacristies, choirs, and university halls, among other spaces. The same artists produced portraits, casta paintings (depictions of racially mixed families), painted folding screens, and finely rendered devotional imagery, attesting to their extraordinary versatility. The volume of work produced by the four generations of Mexican artists that spanned the 18th century is virtually unmatched elsewhere in the vast Hispanic world.

Painters also became more aware of their own contributions, largely owing to the sizable number of pictures that were exported to Europe, throughout Spanish America, and within the viceroyalty itself. This awareness led many educated painters not only to sign their works and emphasize their authorship but also to make explicit references to Mexico as their place of origin through the Latin phrase Pinxit Mexici (Painted in Mexico). This expression eloquently encapsulates the painters’ pride in their own tradition and their connection to larger, transatlantic trends.

The exhibition combines a chronological and thematic approach, and includes seven major sections:

Great Masters introduces the works of some of the leading painters of the day around which others congregated; the notion of a local tradition and intergenerational ties is emphasized. Since the 16th century, educated painters in Mexico City had organized themselves in guilds. By the 18th century, their most distinguished members (some of whom descended from long lines of illustrious painters) also established informal academies. The academy organized by the brothers Juan and Nicolás Rodríguez Juárez around 1722, for example, evidences the artists’ growing interest in revitalizing their art.

Master Story Tellers and the Art of Expression illustrates how works were designed to convey complex stories. Conceived as series, these works decorated the interiors of churches, convents, colleges, and other public spaces, where they became activated through their particular arrangement, including as part of altarpiece-ensembles. During the 18th century narrative painting underwent a resurgence, which is evident in its more organic and idealized (and at times idyllic) sensibility. The artist’s increasing interest in emphasizing domestic interiors and details of everyday life helped to establish a more intimate connection with the viewer.

Noble Pursuits and the Academy explores the efforts of artists throughout the 18th century to form art academies. The introduction of academic principles in Mexico is generally connected with the arrival of Jerónimo Antonio Gil from Spain and the establishment of Mexico’s Royal Academy of San Carlos in 1783. This perspective has overlooked the earlier trajectory of local artists, who long sought to have painting recognized as a noble, as opposed to a mechanical art. In the 18th century painters organized several independent academies (c. 1722, 1754, and 1768), where they actively engaged in discussions about the theory and practice of their art. They also attempted to elevate the status of painting by writing and referencing art treatises, by equating their task with that of the supreme creator, and refashioning their image through their self-portraits.

Paintings of the Land brings together a compelling group of works representing local subjects. The expression “paintings of the land” (pinturas de la tierra) recurs often in contemporary panegyric literature and artistic inventories to describe works unique to Mexico—either made there or representing aspects of life in Mexico. Many of the works included in this section, such as vedute (large-scale paintings of a cityscape or vista), casta paintings (depictions of racially mixed families), folding screens with fête gallant scenes (amorous figures in pastoral settings), and depictions of Indian weddings, are peppered with colorful local elements. The works brilliantly exemplify how Mexican painting could simultaneously fulfill artistic, political, and documentary purposes.

The Power of Portraiture illustrates the various modalities of the portrait genre. In the 18th century, Mexico saw an upsurge in portraiture associated with the economic growth of the viceroyalty, and different social groups, particularly within urban contexts, commissioned artists to paint their likenesses. In a hierarchical society such as New Spain, which placed a premium on nobility of birth, piety, wealth, titles, and merits, portraiture had the power to convey both corporate and personal messages. Through portraiture people could fashion and refashion their identities and project them onto society. Portraiture also fulfilled a genealogical role, designed to preserve the memory of families and institutions—religious and secular. Dress and other attributes became an essential part of the genre.

The Allegorical World looks at a highly inventive group of works that became prevalent in the 18th century. Often commissioned by ecclesiastical orders to instruct in issues of faith, allegorical images are fascinating manifestations of a culture that relied increasingly on its own visual metaphors. These images became particularly popular, in part, because of the versatility of allegorical language that could express many things simultaneously. Allegorical paintings can be broadly divided into four categories: guides to inner spirituality for nuns and monks within cloistered life, teaching or mnemonic tools to aid in the practice of piety, symbols that promoted local devotions, and commentaries to extol (or even criticize) figures of power. Some allegories were conceived as large- scale paintings that covered the walls of different institutions and religious spaces, while many smaller ones were designed to awaken piety within the context of cells and oratories.

Imagining the Sacred features a stunning selection of paintings that copied holy effigies, many considered miraculous. Copying holy images became part of a long tradition that engaged the best painters of the day. Although most subjects were universal, sacred painting saw significant developments in 18th-century Mexico. Painters updated age-old formulas: the resulting richness of themes, pictorial approaches, and devotional complexity is noteworthy. The most visible public images were large paintings representing specific sculptures that were known for performing miracles. Intimate devotional experience was more commonly channeled through smaller paintings, many on copper, in which painters demonstrated great precision and skill. These works reflect the extent to which art, belief, and society were inextricably connected.

Painters in the Exhibition

Juan Francisco de Aguilera (Spain [?], active Mexico, first quarter of the 18th century) Manuel de Arellano (Mexico, 1662–1722)
Ignacio María Barreda (Mexico, c. 1754–1800)
Ignacio Berben (Guadalajara, 1733–c. 1814)
Miguel Cabrera (Mexico, c. 1715–1768)
Francisco Clapera (Spain, 1746–1810, active Peru and Mexico)
Nicolás Correa (Mexico, 1657–c. 1708)
Nicolás Enríquez (Mexico, 1704–c.1790)
Rafael Joaquín Gutiérrez (Mexico, c. 1750–1792)
Fray Miguel de Herrera (San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Canary Islands, 1696–c. 1789, active Mexico)
José de Ibarra (Mexico, 1685–1756)
Andrés López (Mexico, 1727–1807)
Francisco Martínez (Mexico, 1687–1758)
Manuel Montes y Balcázar (Guadalajara, active, c. 1727–1760)
Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz (Mexico, 1713–1772)
José de Páez (Mexico, 1721–c. 1790)
Rafael Ximeno y Planes (Spain, 1759–1825, active Mexico)
Pascual Pérez (Puebla, d. 1721)
Juan Rodríguez Juárez (Mexico, 1675–1728)
Nicolás Rodríguez Juárez (Mexico, 1677–1734)
Antonio de Torres (Mexico, 1667–1731)
Francisco Antonio Vallejo (Mexico, 1722–1785)
Miguel Jerónimo Zendejas (Puebla, 1720–1815)
José Joaquín de la Vega (Mexico, active second half of the 18th century)

International Scholar’s Day
February 2018

An international scholar’s day will be co-organized with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), enabling established and junior scholars to present new research. Given the extensive restoration undertaken for the exhibition, part of the event will be dedicated to presentations by leading conservators from Mexico, the United States, and Europe, who will discuss the techniques, materials, and pictorial processes employed by Mexican painters, and their wider art historical implications.

Ilona Katzew, ed., with contributions from Ilona Katzew, Luisa Elena Alcalá, Jaime Cuadriello, Ronda Kasl, and Paula Mues Orts, Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici (New York: Prestel, 2017), 512 pages, ISBN: 978 379135 6778, $85.

Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici is accompanied by a groundbreaking catalogue that offers the first in-depth assessment of 18th-century Mexican painting, making accessible an extraordinary body of images, alongside compelling new scholarship. The volume is edited by Ilona Katzew with contributions by the exhibition co-curators Luisa Elena Alcalá, Jaime Cuadriello, Ilona Katzew, and Paula Mues Orts. Exquisitely illustrated with newly commissioned photography of never-before-published artworks, the book includes fascinating essays on a number of themes, such as the tradition and innovation of Mexican painting, the mobility of pictures within and outside the viceroyalty, the political role of images, and the emphasis on ornamentation. Rounding out this volume are over 130 catalogue entries that offer new and authoritative interpretations. The book is published by LACMA and Fomento Cultural Banamex, A.C., and DelMonico Books, Prestel. A Spanish edition is also available.

Catalogue cover image: Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz, Mexico, 1713–1772, Portrait of Doña Tomasa Durán López de Cárdenas (Retrato de Doña Tomasa Durán López de Cárdenas), ca. 1762, Galería Coloniart. Collection of Felipe Siegel, Anna and Andrés Siegel, Mexico City.











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