Conference | Fashioning the Early Modern Courtier, 1550–1750

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on March 31, 2018

From the conference website:

Fashioning the Early Modern Courtier, 1550–1750
St John’s College Cambridge, 16 May 2018

This one-day conference will explore the ways in which clothing contributed to the gendered (self)fashioning of the courtier in early modern Europe (ca. 1550–1750), examining both its symbolic significance and its action on and interaction with the body.

Recent historical research has emphasised how early modern courts were crucial sites for the elaboration and diffusion of specific corporeal models aspiring to shape the ideal man and woman. Fashion, then as now, provides a very material setting that has the power to promote specific patterns of thought and action.

Our speakers will explore how male and female courtiers skilfully constructed their identity and negotiated their social status through sartorial trends and beautification techniques. Rooted within a broader culture of corporeal interpretation, fashion represented an effective way of asserting political allegiance and even expressing criticism ad hominem. Sovereigns could assert their power by clothing the royal entourage and enforcing vestiary policies. Courtiers in turn could play a role in shaping the image and body of the monarch through gift-giving.

Embracing a corporealist perspective, we endeavour to integrate a semiotic reading of dress with accounts of its fundamentally embodied nature, both in its creation and in its wearing. Symbolic sartorial practices engaged directly with the material body, re-shaping and de-forming the silhouette. Clothes and accessories could provide support and protection, whilst sometimes constituting a hindrance to even the simplest of movements.

We will also investigate the diffusion of new fashions, materials, and techniques. Circulation patterns within the court will be analysed alongside interactions with the city and mutual influences between international centres of power. We will reconstruct the complex network of tailors, craftsmen and merchants which orbited around the court, moving across all social classes and providing a key point of connection between aristocratic courtiers and urban bourgeoisie. We will also consider alternative dissemination mediums such as portraits, early examples of single-leaf broadsheets and bound books displaying fashion plates.

Gathering an international group of speakers including fashion curators, makers, and academics from a variety of fields, the aim of our conference is to challenge traditional top-down models of fashion circulation as well as provide a more nuanced and complete narrative bringing into play all the different actors involved. We also seek to demonstrate how a study of the clothed body provides a privileged gateway into the world of court politics and a unique opportunity to access the courtiers’ embodied experiences.

Registration details are available here»


9:15  Registration

9:45  Welcome Address

10:00  Panel 1
• Mark De Vitis (University of Sydney), The Fashioned Body as Materialised Critique at the Court of Louis XIV
• Jemma Field (Brunel University London), Between Scotland and England: The Journey of Elite Female Fashion in 1603
•  Catherine Stearn (Eastern Kentucky University), She-Wolves in Queen’s Clothing: Exploring the Relationship between Dress, Female Courtiers and Monarchical Authority at the Court of Elizabeth I

11:15  Coffee and tea

11:30  Panel 2A
• Natasha Awais-Dean (King’s College London), Three Houres a Buttoning: Embellishing Male Dress in Early Modern England
• Sarah Crowe (Goethe University & Staedel School, Frankfurt), The Semiology of the Ruff in the Early Dutch Golden Age to 1648
• Jane Partner (University of Cambridge), Reading the Early Modern Body: The Case Study of Textual Jewellery

11:30  Panel 2B
• Lacy Gillette (Florida State University), Cataloguing the Character of Couture: An Examination of Jost Amman’s Sixteenth-Century Printed Costumes
• Abigail Gomulkiewicz (University of Cambridge), From Subject to Monarch: Male Gift-Giving at the Court of Elizabeth I
• Juliet Claxton (King’s College London), ‘His Wife Was the Rich China-Woman That the Courtiers Visited So Often’: The Role of the Merchant at the Stuart Court

12:45  Lunch

13:30  Keynote Address
• Evelyn Welch (King’s College London)

14:45  Panel 3A
• Rebecca Morrison (QMUL and the V&A), The Diplomacy of the Dress Fitting: Exploring Relationships between the Mantua-Maker and Client in the Construction of Eighteenth-Century Court Dress
• Astrid Castres (École nationale des chartes, Paris), Producing Garments for the Court: Innovations and Technical Transfers in Parisian Fashion Workshops during the Sixteenth Century
• Moïra Dato (European University Institute, Florence), The Lyonnais Silks as Objects of Conspicuous Consumption in Eighteenth-Century French Court

14:45  Panel 3B
• Beth Walsh (University of East Anglia), The Late Stuarts and Their Political Cravats
• Isabella Rosner (University of Cambridge), ‘Grave Hogen Mogen, High and Mighty Frogs!’: The Mysteries of Seventeenth-Century Frog Pouch Fashion
• Kimberley Foy (Durham University), Points of Connection: Lace, Internationalism, and Political Authority in England, 1565–1625

16:00  Coffee and tea

16:15  Panel 4
• Marc W. S. Jaffré (University of St Andrews), Adorned with Stones of Inestimable Size and Value’: Tailors, Taste and Fashion at the Court of Louis XIII, 1610–1643
• Lindsay Dupertuis (University of Maryland), Dressed for Battle: Military Costume and Aristocratic Fashion in Sixteenth-Century Italy

17:15  Keynote Address
• Maria Hayward (University of Southampton)

18:00  Closing Remarks

18:15  Wine Reception

Exhibition | House of Portraits at Powis Castle

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 30, 2018

Isaac Oliver, Sir Edward Herbert, later 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, ca. 1613–14, 18 × 23 cm
(National Trust, 1183954)

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Press release (21 March 2018) for the exhibition:

House of Portraits
Powis Castle, Welshpool, 20 March 2018 — 27 January 2019

Curated by John Chu

Powis Castle, near Welshpool in Wales, unveils its House of Portraits exhibition and invites visitors to uncover the secrets hidden within its world-class portrait collection. The great halls and quiet chambers of Powis Castle are a time machine full of exceptional portraits that can transport visitors back through the ages.From majestic full-length portraits, to intimate miniatures that can be held in the palm of your hand, they are the work of generations of talented artists and each tells a unique story. Launching on 20 March, House of Portraits delves beneath the surface of these intricate works by prominent artists such as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, and John Singer Sargent.

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Lady Henrietta Antonia Herbert, Countess of Powis, 1778–78 (National Trust 1181064).

Some of the castle’s works feature kings, emperors and maharajas but the majority of portraits depict men, women and children of the Herbert family who have lived at Powis for over four centuries. House of Portraits examines not only the people behind the faces, but explores how they wanted to be seen by the world, through the clues embedded in costumes, settings, expressions, poses, and gestures. Throughout the castle, the exhibition shows how the people in the portraits were involved in crafting the image they wished to convey, from wealth, social status, and eligibility for marriage to religious allegiance or military prowess.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is an intricate Jacobean miniature portrait painted by Isaac Oliver (1565–1617) which will be on display at Powis for the first time since it was purchased for the nation, with generous support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Art Fund. The miniature features Lord Edward Herbert of Cherbury, an unabashedly ambitious soldier, scholar, diplomat, musician, and poet, who epitomised the romance and chivalry of his age. Lord Herbert commissioned numerous portraits of himself from the most fashionable artists of the day, many  of which hang in Powis Castle. Foremost amongst these is this miniature by the court artist, Isaac Oliver, who depicted him in a relaxed pose lying in the woods following a joust. Isaac’s attempt to capture the many layers of Lord Herbert’s complex character in a single, exquisite likeness resulted in one of the true masterpieces of British art.

Visitors will be invited to join the exhibition’s curator, Dr John Chu, the National Trust’s Assistant Curator of Pictures and Sculpture and a specialist in the works of Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, as he guides them through the castle’s opulent state rooms by audio tour.

John Chu says: “Powis is quite literally a ‘house of portraits’; its rich collection of portraits mostly depict the Herberts, one of the most influential families in Welsh history. Portraits didn’t just capture the likeness of a person at a particular moment in life; they were also used to convey something about the sitter. At the time the portraits were painted, the symbols and meanings within them would have been easily recognised, but they are not always obvious to us viewing them today. Long before any celebrity posted a ‘selfie’, the Herberts were manipulating and projecting their personal image to make a place for themselves in a competitive and sometimes dangerous world of politics, money and power. It is these many facets of their characters, and what they cared about most that we aim to explore in House of Portraits.”

Visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged to contemplate the careful thought behind portraits of the past. Important moments and achievements in Herbert family history were recorded by famous portrait painters, but the time and cost involved often meant the sitter had only one opportunity to capture their character in an image that would be passed down the generations. Today, portraits commissioned by individuals 400 years ago still hang proudly on the walls inside the castle for all to see.

Emma Thompson, General Manager at Powis Castle and Garden says:“In a matter of seconds and with little thought, important moments in our lives today can be easily recorded and sh ared with family and friends through digital and social media. Yet many of the portraits we have here at Powis Castle are the only representation we have of members of the Herbert family. Who knows, the images we take of ourselves today might be how we are remembered for generations to come. We’ll be inviting visitors to create a portrait in the form of a ‘selfie’ and to consider how they would depict themselves if their family were to display their portrait for hundreds of years as the Herbert family have done.”

Fiona Talbott, Head of NHMF, said: “The National Heritage Memorial Fund was set up to secure the future of heritage treasures just like the exquisite miniature of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. It belongs in its original context of Powis Castle and there’s no doubt it’s the star of the Powis collection, standing out for both its artistry and the colourful story it tells of Elizabethan and Jacobean court culture.”

Stephen Deuchar of Art Fund, said: “We are very pleased to see Isaac Oliver’s superb miniature of Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, go on public display for the first time at Powis Castle since it was bought for the nation with the support of Art Fund and several other donors. In its natural home, it will be enjoyed by visitors to Wales from across the whole of the UK.”

New Book | Image, Identity, and John Wesley

Posted in books by Editor on March 29, 2018

From Routledge:

Peter Forsaith, Image, Identity, and John Wesley: A Study in Portraiture (London: Routledge, 2018), 210 pages, ISBN: 9781138207899, $140.

The face of John Wesley (1703–1791), the Methodist leader, became one of the most familiar images in the English-speaking and transatlantic worlds through the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. After the dozen or so painted portraits made during his lifetime came numbers of posthumous portraits and moralising ‘scene paintings’, and hundreds of variations of prints. It was calculated that six million copies were produced of one print alone—an 1827 portrait by John Jackson R.A. as frontispiece for a hymn book.

Illustrated by nearly one hundred images, many in colour, with a comprehensive appendix listing known Wesley images, this book offers a much-needed comprehensive and critical survey of one of the most influential religious and public figures of eighteenth-century Britain. Besides chapters on portraits from the life and after, scene paintings and prints, it explores aspects of Wesley’s (and Methodism’s) attitudes to art and the personality cult which gathered around Wesley as Methodism expanded globally.

Peter S. Forsaith is a historian of religion, culture and society in eighteenth-century Britain. He is Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History, Oxford Brookes University, UK, and has written and lectured on many aspects of Methodist history. He gained his Ph.D. in 2003 for a scholarly edition of Rev. John Fletcher’s letters to Rev. Charles Wesley, later expanded and published as Unexampled Labours (2008). He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


1  ‘A Far Greater Genius than Sir Joshua’: Some Issues and Complexities around the Portraiture
2  ‘This Melancholy Employment’: Portraits from the Life to 1780
3  ‘I Yielded to Importunity’: Portraits from the Life, 1781–91
4  Prints and Posthumous Portraits: Spreading and Selling the Image
5  Scene Paintings
6  Pottery and Sculpture: A Note
7  No Striking Likeness? Images and Ambiguities
8  ‘The Pious Preacher’: Satire
9  ‘Of Pictures I Do Not Pretend To Be a Judge’: John Wesley and Art
10  Image, Identity, and Institution: Constructing a Canon
11  Conclusions: Visualising Mr. Wesley

Appendix A: Iconography of Principal Paintings of John Wesley, with Selected Prints
Appendix B: References in John Wesley’s Journal and Diaries to Portraits and Painters

Exhibition | Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 28, 2018

I’m late with this posting, having only recently come to understand that the eighteenth-century provenance of the paintings (of which we have no knowledge until they appeared at auction in England in the 1720s) makes the series potentially relevant for issues of collecting and the South Sea Company, Jewish civil rights in the eighteenth century, and, of course, the reception of the Spanish Golden Age. CH

From The Frick:

Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons: Paintings from Auckland Castle
The Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas, 17 September 2017 — 7 January 2018
The Frick Collection, New York, 31 January — 22 April 2018

Curated by Susan Grace Galassi, Mark Roglán, Amanda Dotseth, and Edward Payne

In collaboration with the Meadows Museum, Dallas, Texas, and The Auckland Project, County Durham, England, The Frick Collection has organized an exhibition of Jacob and His Twelve Sons, an ambitious series of thirteen paintings that depict over life-size figures from the Old Testament. On loan from Auckland Castle, the works by the Spanish Golden Age master Francisco de Zurbaran (1598–1664) have never before traveled to the United States. They were first presented at the Meadows Museum in the fall of 2017, and are on view at The Frick Collection from January 31 through April 22, 2018. In preparation for this American tour, these important seventeenth-century Spanish paintings, dating from the 1640s, have undergone a year-long in-depth technical analysis in the conservation department at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, the most extensive study of the series to date.

The iconography of Zurbarán’s remarkable series is derived from the ‘Blessings of Jacob’ in Chapter 49 of the Book of Genesis, a poem that has significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. On his deathbed, Jacob called together his sons, who would become the founders of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. He bestowed on each a blessing, which foretold their destinies and those of their tribes. Jacob’s prophecies provide the basis for the manner in which the figures are represented in Zurbarán’s series. For his compositions, the artist drew inspiration from northern European prints.

The series was likely intended for export to the New World. In seventeenth-century Spain, it was commonly believed that indigenous peoples of the Americas were descended from the so-called ‘lost tribes of Israel’. The paintings, however, did not come to light until the 1720s in England when they appeared at auction and were purchased by a Jewish merchant. In 1756 they were acquired by Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham, a supporter of Jewish rights. Trevor hung them in the dining room at Auckland Castle, where they have remained for over 250 years. A two-year restoration of Auckland Castle presents this extraordinary study and exhibition opportunity.

Comments Frick Director Ian Wardropper, “We are thrilled to collaborate with Auckland Castle and the Meadows Museum on the first North American showing of Francisco de Zurbarán’s extraordinary series Jacob and His Twelve Sons. The technical analysis carried out at the Kimbell has greatly enriched our understanding of the master’s methods, while catalogue essays commissioned for the show explore the works in historical, cultural, and religious contexts. The sheer visual power and rich narrative content of this series will draw visitors in and will be beautifully complemented by the Frick’s strong holdings in Spanish art, which include paintings by Velázquez and Murillo—Zurbarán’s Sevillian contemporaries—as well as by El Greco and Goya.”

Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons: Paintings from Auckland Castle has been organized by Susan Grace Galassi, Senior Curator, The Frick Collection; Mark A. Roglan, Director of the Meadows Museum; Amanda Dotseth, Meadows/Mellon/Prado Fellow at the Meadows Museum; and Edward Payne, Senior Curator, Spanish Art, The Auckland Project, County Durham, England.

Susan Grace Galassi, Edward Payne, and Mark Roglán, eds., Zurbarán: Jacob and His Twelve Sons, Paintings from Auckland Castle (Seattle: Lucia Marquand, 2017), 136 pages, ISBN: 978 0998093024, $45.


The Burlington Magazine, March 2018

Posted in books, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on March 27, 2018

The eighteenth century in The Burlington:

The Burlington Magazine 160 (March 2018)

Portrait of a Consul, identified by Lucy Whitaker as a portrait of Joseph Smith, pencil and watercolour on paper, 28.6 × 20 cm; page from Giovanni Grevembroch: Gli abiti de’ veneziani di quasi ogni età con diligenza raccoliti e dipinti nel secolo XVIII (Venice: Biblioteca del Museo Correr, MS Gradenigo-Dolfin 49, II, fol.125.2).


• Lucy Whitaker, “A Portrait of Consul Smith,” pp. 214–16. A watercolour in Giovanni Grevembroch’s Gli abiti de’ veneziani, compiled ca. 1754–59, can probably be identified as the only surviving portrait of the celebrated art collector and art dealer Joseph Smith, British consul in Venice from 1744 to 1760.
• Esmé Whittaker, “‘Almost Her Creation’: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and the Decoration of Chiswick House,” pp. 217–25. Letters, inventories and contemporary prints and drawings help paint a clearer picture of the extensions made to Chiswick House, London, in 1790–92 and the role that Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, played in their execution and furnishing.


• Duncan Robinson, Review of the exhibition Casanova: The Seduction of Europe (Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 2017; The Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 2018; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2018), pp. 241–43.
• David Pullins, Review of the exhibition Shockingly Mad: Henry Fuseli and the Art of Drawing (Art Institute of Chicago, 2018), pp. 243–44.

Redesigned ‘Dictionary of Art Historians’ Unveiled

Posted in resources by Editor on March 27, 2018

As announced by the team behind the Dictionary of Art Historians (21 March 2018). . . And as noted toward the end of the announcement, the DAH continues to accept contributions, including new entries.

A thirty-year-old resource emerged today as a modern reference tool for art history. The Dictionary of Art Historians announces a new interface, data structure, and user options, the product of a year-long redesign. The original tool, a website since 1996, was developed privately by Lee Sorensen, the art and visual studies librarian at Duke University. Duke’s Wired! Lab for digital art history & visual culture sponsored the project beginning in 2016. The new DAH offers searchable data on over 2400 art historians, museum directors, and art-writers of western art from all time periods. Over 200 academic websites have linked to the project; the tool has been called one of the core tools of art historiography and cited in books and journal articles.

Begun pre-internet in 1986 as a card file, the project addressed a lack of information on the intellectual heritage that art historians created or used in writing art histories. “Before the DAH, it was impossible to discover even simple things like an art historian’s scholarly reputation, his/her core writings or even under whom they studied,” Sorensen said. “These things are important when reading a text or trying to understand the errors of past research.”

“The project’s redesign recognizes twenty-first-century scholars’ need to access information in the DAH using multiple digital research methods,” said Hannah Jacobs, Wired!’s digital humanities specialist responsible for the redesign, “It redefines the project content as data that can be mined at both micro and macro levels. By standardizing the data and developing new ways to access the data, we are making methods such as text mining, data analysis, and data visualization possible for our audiences.”

The new Dictionary of Art Historians site will continue to be developed over the coming year. New features to be released include
• Additional filtering capabilities on the ‘Explore’ page
• Ability to export filtered entries in open data formats
• Additional resources for citation management
• New data fields
• New and updated entries

The Dictionary of Art Historians continues to accept contributions. Please submit feedback about the project, new entries, or edits to existing entries to contact@arthistorians.info.

New Book | Rethinking Lessing’s Laocoon

Posted in books by Editor on March 26, 2018

From Oxford UP:

Avi Lifschitz and Michael Squire, eds., Rethinking Lessing’s Laocoon: Antiquity, Enlightenment, and the ‘Limits’ of Painting and Poetry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 480 pages, ISBN: 978-0198802228, $110.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing first published Laokoon, oder uber die Grenzen der Mahlerey und Poesie (Laocoon, or on the Limits of Painting and Poetry) in 1766. Over the last 250 years, Lessing’s essay has exerted an incalculable influence on western critical thinking. Not only has it directed the history of post-Enlightenment aesthetics, it has also shaped the very practices of ‘poetry’ and ‘painting’ in a myriad of different ways.

In this anthology of specially commissioned chapters—comprising the first ever edited book on the Laocoon in English—a range of leading critical voices has been brought together to reassess Lessing’s essay on its 250th anniversary. Combining perspectives from multiple disciplines (including classics, intellectual history, philosophy, aesthetics, media studies, comparative literature, and art history), the book explores the Laocoon from a plethora of critical angles. Chapters discuss Lessing’s interpretation of ancient art and poetry, the cultural backdrops of the eighteenth century, and the validity of the Laocoon‘s observations in the fields of aesthetics, semiotics, and philosophy. The volume shows how the Laocoon exploits Greek and Roman models to sketch the proper spatial and temporal ‘limits’ (Grenzen) of what Lessing called ‘poetry’ and ‘painting’; at the same time it demonstrates how Lessing’s essay is embedded within Enlightenment theories of art, perception, and historical interpretation, as well as within nascent eighteenth-century ideas about the ‘scientific’ study of Classical antiquity (Altertumswissenschaft). To engage critically with the Laocoon, and to make sense of its legacy over the last 250 years, consequently involves excavating various ‘classical presences’: by looking back to the Graeco-Roman past, the volume demonstrates, Lessing forged a whole new tradition of modern aesthetics.

Avi Lifschitz is Associate Professor of European History and Fellow of Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. Among his publications are Language and Enlightenment: The Berlin Debates of the Eighteenth Century and the edited volumes Engaging with Rousseau and Epicurus in the Enlightenment (the latter co-edited with Neven Leddy). Michael Squire is Reader in Classical Art at King’s College London. His books include The Iliad in a Nutshell: Visualizing Epic on the Tabulae Iliacae and The Art of the Body: Antiquity and Its Legacy.


List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Note on Laocoon Editions

Foreword: Why Lessing’s Laocoon Still Matters, W. J. T. Mitchell
1  Introduction: Rethinking Lessings Laocoon from across the Humanities, Avi Lifschitz and Michael Squire
Laocoon Today: On the Conceptual Infrastructure of Lessing’s Treatise, David Wellbery
Laocoon among the Gods, or: On the Theological Limits of Lessing’s Grenzen, Michael Squire
4  Lessing’s Laocoon as Analytical Instrument: The Perspectives of a Classical Archaeologist, Luca Giuliani
5  Sympathy, Tragedy, and the Morality of Sentiment in Lessing’s Laocoon, Katherine Harloe
6  Mendelssohn’s Critique of Lessing’s Laocoon, Frederick Beiser
7  Naturalizing the Arbitrary: Lessing’s Laocoon and Enlightenment Semiotics, Avi Lifschitz
8  Temporalizationa Lessing’s Laocoon and the Problem of Narration in Eighteenth-Century Historiography, Daniel Fulda, translated from the German by Steven Tester
9  Criticism as Poetry? Lessing’s Laocoon and the Limits of Critique, Élisabeth Décultot, translated from the German by Steven Tester
10  Suffering in Art: Laocoon between Lessing and Goethe, Ritchie Robertson
11  Transparency and Imaginative Engagement: Material as Medium in Lessing’s Laocoon, Jason Gaiger
12  Lessing’s Laocoon and the ‘As-If’ of Aesthetic Experience, Jonas Grethlein
13  Art and Necessity: Rethinking Lessing’s Critical Practice, Paul Kottman
14  Image and Text in Lessing’s Laocoon: From Friendly Semiotic Neighbours to Articulatory Twins, Jurgen Trabant
15  Envoi: The Two-Fold Liminality of Lessing’s Laocoon, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

Notes on Contributors



Chatsworth Reopens after £33m Restoration

Posted in exhibitions, on site by Editor on March 26, 2018

Before and after restoration at Chatsworth, from Treasure House of England.

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Press release, via Art Daily (24 March 2018) . . .

Chatsworth Renewed: The House Past, Present, and Future
Chatsworth, 24 March — 21 October 2018

With its gold leaf and pale yellow stonework glinting in the spring sunshine, Chatsworth reopens on 24 March 2018 following the biggest restoration and conservation of the house, garden, and park since the 1820s. The 10-year long programme, costing more than £32m, sees Chatsworth restored to its full glory, inside and out. The Chatsworth Renewed exhibition, running between March and October, highlights the work of those involved in the restoration process. From rebuilding the Belvedere turrets to replacing vast tracts of lead on the roof, carving the tiniest details in stone using dentistry tools to replacing huge blocks in the walls, careful restoration of priceless artworks to the renovation of famous water features in the garden, over the last decade Chatsworth has been fully restored and made ready for the next century.

The Duke of Devonshire: “The level of forensic research, expertise, and craftsmanship applied by so many people has been absolutely inspiring. It has always been a thrilling moment to see the house come into view as you drive across the park and now that view has been made even more magical. With the years of blackened grime now removed from the stone, it looks truly magnificent.”

In 1981, the charitable Chatsworth House Trust was set up by the 11th Duke to ensure the long-term survival of the house and collection. Since 1949 the entrance money paid by more than 25 million visitors has made a vital contribution to the maintenance of the house and garden, and it is this income, rather than any public funding, that has enabled the current restoration works to be completed.

Visitors will also be able to see the artwork of Linder Sterling, artist-in-residence at Chatsworth and a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award winning artist.

Linder Sterling, Eidothea (left), 2017, and Latona, 2018 (right).

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Her Grace Land by Linder Sterling
Chatsworth, 24 March — 21 October 2018

Award-winning artist Linder Sterling (b. 1954) spent several months over winter 2017 immersing herself in the life of the Chatsworth Estate as the inaugural artist-in-residence. As well as creating a new image bank for future photo montages to take Chatsworth ‘out into the world’, some of the pieces created during her residency will go on display at Chatsworth. Her Grace Land features four installations exploring the female voice at Chatsworth in the centenary year of the Act of Representation.

N.B. — At the risk of puncturing the joke with an explanation, I would note that the former Duchess of Devonshire, Deborah Cavendish nee Mitford (1920–2014), was an ardent Elvis fan. CH

Exhibition | Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 25, 2018

Press release (9 March 2018) from The Met:

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Met Cloisters, New York, 10 May — 8 October 2018

Curated by Andrew Bolton, with C. Griffith Mann, Barbara Drake Boehm, Helen Evans, and Melanie Holcomb

The Costume Institute’s spring 2018 exhibition, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, on view from May 10 through October 8, 2018 (preceded on May 7 by The Costume Institute Benefit) will be presented in two Metropolitan Museum of Art locations: at The Met Fifth Avenue—in the medieval galleries, Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries for Byzantine Art, part of The Robert Lehman Wing, and the Anna Wintour Costume Center—and uptown at The Met Cloisters. The thematic exhibition will feature a dialogue between fashion and masterworks of medieval art in The Met collection to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. A group of papal robes and accessories from the Vatican will travel to the United States to serve as the cornerstone of the exhibition, highlighting the enduring influence of liturgical vestments on designers.

“The Catholic imagination is rooted in and sustained by artistic practice, and fashion’s embrace of sacred images, objects, and customs continues the ever-evolving relationship between art and religion,” said Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of The Met. “The Museum’s collection of Byzantine and western medieval art, in combination with the architecture and galleries that house these collections at The Met, provide the perfect context for these remarkable fashions.”

In celebration of the opening, the Museum’s Costume Institute Benefit, also known as The Met Gala, will take place on Monday, May 7, 2018. The evening’s co-chairs will be Amal Clooney, Rihanna, Donatella Versace, and Anna Wintour. Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman will serve as Honorary Chairs. The event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.

“Fashion and religion have long been intertwined, mutually inspiring and informing one another,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “Although this relationship has been complex and sometimes contested, it has produced some of the most inventive and innovative creations in the history of fashion.”

The exhibition will feature approximately 40 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican. These will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries and will include papal vestments and accessories, such as rings and tiaras, from the 18th to the early 21st century, encompassing more than 15 papacies. The last time the Vatican sent a loan of this magnitude to The Met was in 1983, for The Vatican Collections exhibition, which is the Museum’s third most-visited show.

In addition, more than 150 ensembles, primarily womenswear, from the early 20th century to the present will be shown in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters alongside medieval art from The Met collection, providing an interpretative context for fashion’s engagement with Catholicism. The presentation situates these designs within the broader context of religious artistic production to analyze their connection to the historiography of material Christianity and their contribution to the construction of the Catholic imagination.

Designers in the exhibition will include A.F.Vandevorst, Azzedine Alaïa, Cristobal Balenciaga, Geoffrey Beene, Marc Bohan (for House of Dior), Thom Browne, Roberto Capucci, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Ann Demeulemeester, Sorelle Fontana, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (for Dolce & Gabbana), John Galliano (for House of Dior), Gattinoni, Jean Paul Gaultier, Craig Green, Madame Grès (Alix Barton), Demna Gvasalia (for Balenciaga), Rosella Jardini (for Moschino), Stephen Jones, Christopher Kane, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld (for House of Chanel), Jeanne Lanvin, Shaun Leane, Claire McCardell, Mariuccia Mandelli (for Krizia), Laura and Kate Mulleavy (for Rodarte), Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Carli Pearson (for Cimone), Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli (for Valentino), Pierpaolo Piccioli (for Valentino), Stefano Pilati (for Saint Laurent), Gareth Pugh, Simone Rocha, Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, Raf Simons (for his own label and House of Dior), Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (for Viktor & Rolf), Olivier Theyskens, Josephus Thimister, Riccardo Tisci, Jun Takahashi (for Undercover), Philip Treacy, Donatella Versace (for Versace), Gianni Versace, Valentina, and Madeleine Vionnet.

The exhibition—a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters—is organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, working together with colleagues in The Met’s Medieval department: C. Griffith Mann, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters; Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator for The Met Cloisters; Helen C. Evans, Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art; and Melanie Holcomb, Curator. The interdisciplinary architecture and design firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) will create the exhibition design with The Met’s Design Department. Raul Avila will produce the gala décor, which he has done since 2007.

A publication by Andrew Bolton will accompany the exhibition and will include texts by Barbara Drake Boehm, Marzia Cataldi Gallo, C. Griffith Mann, David Morgan, Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, and David Tracy in addition to new images by Katerina Jebb. It will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

Andrew Bolton, ed., Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018), 336 pages, ISBN: 978 1588396457, $65.

Exhibition | UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 25, 2018

Ken Gonzales-Day, 13 Plasters [Row 3], 2014 (printed 2017), Chromogenic print / Courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles.

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From the press release (8 March 2018) for the exhibition:

UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light: Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar
Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., 23 March 2018 — 6 January 2019

Curated by Taína Caragol and Asma Naeem

As the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery marks its 50th anniversary, it will not only honor the past with special exhibitions but also shape the museum’s next chapter. The first contemporary exhibition of the museum’s anniversary season, UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light: Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar examines how people of color are missing in historical portraiture and how their contributions to the nation’s past were rendered equally invisible. Focused around two contemporary artists, Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar, the exhibition brings to the forefront African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans to amend America’s historical narrative. Reworking traditional art presentations, Gonzales-Day and Kaphar aim to expose mainstream cultural biases and social constructions of race.

This exhibition continues the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraiture Now series and is curated by the museum’s Curator of Latino Art and History Taina Caragol and Curator of Prints, Drawing and Media Arts Asma Naeem.

“The history of early American portraiture favored white men who owned land, and it defined American identity in ways that excluded women and people of color from our nation’s visual record,” said National Portrait Gallery Director, Kim Sajet. “UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light presents the perspectives of two leading contemporary artists who create powerful works of art that re-frame history.”

Titus Kaphar, Behind the Myth of Benevolence, 2014, oil on canvas, Guillermo Nicolas and Jim Foster.

While obtaining his Master of Fine Arts from Yale University, the New Haven-based artist Titus Kaphar (b. 1976) realized how Euro-American colonial paintings, specifically the genre of portraiture, coded racial difference. His work is included in the collections of major museums, including Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Perez Art Museum, Miami; Seattle Museum of Art, Seattle; Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. In this exhibition of 17 paintings and one sculpture by the artist—the largest exhibition of his work to date—Kaphar invites viewers to reflect on the absence of race in traditional representations of America’s history by recreating well-known paintings to include those traditionally left out. Kaphar smears tar, erases with white paint, shreds the canvas into strips, and peels it back to reveal another story. His portion of the exhibition is divided into three sections: ‘Darkened National Histories’, ‘Deconstructed Portraits’, and ‘Disappearing Bloodlines’. All of Kaphar’s examples point to how portraiture in the 18th and 19th centuries aggrandized people in power while ignoring the powerless.

Los Angeles-based artist Ken Gonzales-Day (b. 1964) will present works across three themes: ‘Absence’, ‘Distance’, and ‘Naming’. His work has been widely exhibited at major institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; LAXART, Los Angeles; The New Museum, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and Tamayo Museum, Mexico City. Recipient of a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute, a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California in Irvine, and a master’s in art history from Hunter College, City University of New York, Gonzales-Day explores how ideas of racial difference, otherness, and national identity have taken shape historically and visually. This artistic investigation has yielded two bodies of work. Erased Lynchings grew out of Gonzales-Day’s archival research into lynching in the American West and the recovery of little-known histories of racial violence against Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. In parallel, his series Profiled examines how race and ideal beauty have been represented in sculpture, by photographing the collections of international museums and creating compositions that look comparatively at the representation of white bodies and bodies of color. Gonzales-Day’s juxtapositions prompt the question: “Who is recognized and remembered in the national history, and why?” The National Portrait Gallery’s presentation features work from both of these series.


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