Symposium | Court Ceiling Painting around 1700

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on June 30, 2018

Galeriegebäude Hannover-Herrenhausen, Decke im Frühlingszimmer
© Bildarchiv Foto Marburg/CbDD/C. Stein/ T. Scheidt

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rom H-ArtHist (with a conference flyer available as a PDF file here). . .

Connecting across Europe? Ceiling Painting and Interior Design at the Courts of Europe, ca. 1700
Eine gemeinsame europäische Sprache? Deckenmalerei und Raumkünste an den europäischen Höfen um 1700

Gallery Building, Herrenhausen Gardens (Galerie Herrenhausen), Hanover, 13–15 September 2018

Registration due by 10 August 2018

International Symposium organized by the Corpus of Baroque Ceiling Painting in Germany (CbDD) based at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (LMU); the German Documentation Centre for Art History – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg (DDK); and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BAdW)—in cooperation with the City of Hanover, Herrenhausen Gardens; the Institute of History for Art and Musicology – IKM of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW); and the Research Group for Baroque Ceiling Painting in Central Europe (BCPCE).

Project directed by Stephan Hoppe (LMU, Munich), Heiko Laß (LMU, Munich), Herbert Karner (ÖAW, Vienna)

The Corpus of Baroque Ceiling Painting in Germany (Corpus der barocken Deckenmalerei in Deutschland) regards painting on walls and ceilings as a medium of pictorial representation. In a courtly context, mural painting would serve the sovereign to define his status within the court society, just as he did otherwise in the fields of architecture or interior design.

Around 1700, a formal and thematic change can be observed in the choice of these media of social distinction, especially at the courts north of the Alps. In the field of mural painting, it is striking in which way the ceiling was no longer divided into multiple fields, but preferably dominated by one single monumental painting. In this way, mural painting was able to define the room. Monumentality resided in scale, and a new form of illusionism became important. The inganno degli occhi, a highly sophisticated form of illusionism prevailed. Mural painting on ceilings gained autonomy, and as a medium, it followed its own logic. Furthermore, walls and ceiling could be integrated into one overarching decorative scheme. This change was not just a matter of form, but also a matter of content: glorifications and personifications were no longer represented in the old-established way and subject to dynastic formulas, but became more and more individualized and tailored for a specific patron.

Moreover, within the larger European context, mural painting should not be misunderstood as exclusively made in fresco or secco technique, or studied in isolation. The decision for oil painting on canvas or on walls or ceilings was for a longer period of time not only a question of quality or of the possibility to hire a specialist, but also a question of aesthetics. A large part of mural painting in Western, Central, and Northern Europe was painted on canvas and was adjusted onto ceilings and walls. Stucco did also play an important role and seems to have been applied especially in rooms of ‘higher rank’.

The symposium will link the described change to political, social, and cultural shifts in Europe around 1700. This artistic change occurred in parallel to a new position of power established by the monarchs, princes, and their states. The sovereigns were striving for an acknowledgment of their newly achieved status. Numerous territories and new princes within the Holy Roman Empire wanted to position their new rights of sovereignty, just as the kingdoms of England and Sweden or the court of the House of Orange in the Netherlands and, later, in England. Religious denomination played a marginal role in painting as opposed to politics. Despite their basically anti-Catholic orientation, motifs once established to mark protestant ideals, vanish, and patterns, before decidedly perceived as catholic, could be taken over generally. In this way, new forms of a supranational and trans-confessional culture of the courts and higher nobility developed in large parts of Europe.

Apparently, the rise of new dynasties and powers was responsible for the developments described above. The rise of the house of Bourbon and the house of Savoy and the descent of the Spanish Habsburgs in parallel are the most striking examples. An independent trend was the decline of artistic influence from the Netherlands in Northern Europe, giving way to a new influx of aesthetic ideas from France and Italy. This change turned out to be a cultural adjustment process that became apparent in almost all over Europe. Italy and France set the standard, and the Habsburgs did not succeed in gaining artistic dominance.

In addition to general overviews, the symposium will discuss examples from Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Sweden. In this way, an attempt will be made to highlight connections and comparisons across Europe for the first time. The focus is exclusively on sovereigns and their courts. Sovereigns are understood as the monarchs and princes of Europe and the rulers over imperially immediate territories of the Holy Roman Empire. The States General of the Netherlands and the Republic of Venice were also sovereigns.

Numerous artists were active around 1700 and will be considered during the symposium. These include Jacques Foucquet, Luca Giordano, Daniel Marot, Sebastiano Ricci, Giuseppe Roli, Jerzy Eleuter Szymonowicz-Siemiginowski, Carpoforo Tencalla, Matthäus Terwesten, and Antonio Verrio. The aspect of cultural transfer and the import of artists initiated by clerical and secular clients will also be of interest. Mural painting is intended to be embedded into the development of the spatial arts in general.

The symposium will take place at the so-called Galeriegebäude in Hannover-Herrenhausen. This festive building of the Electors of Hannover is an outstanding example for the change in court culture around 1700. It was erected 1694/98 in the course of a rise in status of the patron and decorated with mural paintings by Tommaso Giusti.

The CbDD has reserved a room contingent for the conference participants until 31 July 2018, because two fairs and an additional conference are going to take place during our symposium. You can use this website for your booking.

The conference languages are German and English. Please keep in mind that it is not common practice in Germany to pay by credit card; take cash with you. The symposium fee is 20€ and will be paid in cash at the venue before the beginning of the symposium. Coffee/Tea and the visit to the Great Garden are included.

Please register until 10/08/2018 at
Corpus der barocken Deckenmalerei in Deutschland
Dr. Heiko Laß
Institut für Kunstgeschichte
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Zentnerstr. 31
D-80798 München

Symposium participants have the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets of the reduced price of 10€ each for the International Fireworks Competition, which will take place in the Great Garten at the night of 15 September, the final day of the symposium. The tickets must be reserved with the registration and paid in cash together with the conference fee.

T H U R S D A Y ,  1 3  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 8

14:00  Opening of the Galeriegebäude

15:00  Introduction and Welcome

15:30  Session 1
• Steffi Roettgen (Munich), Götterhimmel und Theatrum sacrum – zur Erfolgsgeschichte der Deckenmalerei im barocken Italien
• Thomas Wilke (Stuttgart), Französisch – die gemeinsame europäische Sprache!? – Innendekoration und Deckenmalerei am französischen Hof um 1700

16:45  Coffee/Tea

17:15  Session 2
• Ulrike Seeger (Stuttgart), „weil es dauerhaffter ist und lufftiger aussiehet“. Die gänzlich freskierte Zimmerdecke um 1700 – Modus oder Medium?
• Heiko Laß (Munich), Das Galeriegebäude in Herrenhausen, die Stellung des Hannoverschen Hofs um 1700 und seine Wand- und Deckenmalerei

19:30  Dinner

F R I D A Y ,  1 4  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 8

8:00  Opening of the Galeriegebäude

9:00  Session 3
• Sara Fuentes (Madrid), The Works of Luca Giordano to the Service of Charles II around 1700
• Herbert Karner (Vienna), Austria vor Jupiter: Deckenbildnerei in Schloss Schönbrunn um 1700

10:15  Coffee/Tea

10:45  Session 4
• Werner Telesko (Vienna), Thematische Multiperspektivität. Die Grazer Katharinenkirche und das Haus Habsburg um 1700
• Martin Mádl (Prague), The Palace of Prince Bishop Carl II of Lichtenstein-Castelcorn in Olomouc and its Decoration
• Andrzej Kozieł (Wrocław), A Jesuit Academy as a Symbol of Habsburgian Power: The Building of the University of Wrocław and its Fresco Decoration

12:40  Lunch

14:00  Session 5
• Ute Engel (Munich), Deckenmalerei und ‘Schönbornscher Reichsstil’? Lothar Franz von Schönborn als Auftraggeber in Bamberg, Mainz und Pommersfelden
• Konrad Pyzel (Warsaw-Wilanów), King Jan III Sobieski’s Wilanów Residence: Universal Patterns, Universal Stories — Unique Iconographical Message?

15:15  Coffee/Tea

15:45  Session 6
• Doris Gerstl (Erlangen/Regensburg), Aristokratie versus Monarchie? Zu Klöcker von Ehrenstrahls Deckenbild im Stockholmer Riddarhuset
• Martin Olin (Stockholm), War and Peace: Jacques Foucquet’s Paintings in the State Apartment of the Royal Palace in Stockholm

17:00  Coffee/Tea

17:20  Session 7
• Thomas Lyngby (Hillerød), The Audience Chamber of Frederiksborg Palace

S A T U R D A Y ,  1 5  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 8

8:30  Opening of the Galeriegebäude

9:00  Session 8
• Margriet van Eikema Hommes (Delft), The Oranjezaal in Huis ten Bosch
• Alexander Dencher (Leiden), Daniel Marot as a Designer of Wall and Ceiling-Painting in the Age of William and Mary

10:15  Coffee/Tea

10:45  Session 9
• Lydia Hamlett (Cambridge), Mural Cycles of the Later Stuart Courts: Continental Influences and British Reception
• Christina Strunck (Erlangen), Flammende Liebe, höfische Intrigen und internationale Politik. Antonio Verrios Ausmalung des Queen’s Audience Chamber in Windsor Castle

13:00  Lunch

14:00  Session 10
• Elisabeth Wünsche-Werdehausen (Munich), Genealogie versus Mythologie: Die Galleria di Daniele im Palazzo Reale und die Tradition savoyischer Raumausstattung in Turin
• Martina Frank (Venice), Neue Decken für neue Räume. Der Wandel im venezianischen Palast- und Villenbau

15:15  Heiko Laß (Munich), Summary and final comments

18:00  Opportunity to visit the International Fireworks Competition in the Great Garden

Exhibition | Cozens and Cozens

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 30, 2018

The exhibition closed earlier this month:

Cozens and Cozens
The Whitworth, University of Manchester, 16 June 2017 — 24 June 2018

Father and son, Alexander and John Robert Cozens, were influential watercolour painters of the 18th century. Alexander was a drawing master who dedicated his career to teaching young men and the aristocracy how to create landscapes without needing to attend the Royal Academy. This resulted in the publication of multiple guides demonstrating how to create the ideal landscape from a catalogue of features, such as clouds, mountains and trees. Consequently, many of Alexander’s surviving works are fictional landscapes. Alexander argued that landscape images could evoke particular states of mind or moral feelings in the viewer. He became known as the ‘blot master’ for creating improvised compositions from random markings, an idea first suggested by Leonardo da Vinci. His theories elevated the status of landscape painting in the 18th century and helped propel art practice towards the freedom that resulted in Abstract Expressionism.

Visually John Robert inherited the skill of his father, but by contrast his works were honest accounts of his travels. The Romantic painter John Constable declared that John Robert ‘was the greatest genius that ever touched landscape’ as his work ‘was all poetry’. Painting a landscape with watercolours was traditionally for topography, mapping landscapes. Watercolour was ideal as it was portable and could be used to ‘tint’ or ‘stain’ a map within the lines without distorting it. John Robert revolutionized landscapes by painting with watercolour to create mystery and emotion in the places he depicted.

The Whitworth owns nineteen watercolours and a rare oil by Alexander, one of only five known to exist. The gallery owns seventeen watercolors and thirteen soft-ground etchings by John Robert. Seven sketchbooks from his Grand Tours of Europe in 1782–83 have been digitized allowing visitors to see every page for the first time. They are unique in the world and were copied by JMW Turner and Thomas Girtin in the 1790s. This exhibition showcases the Whitworth’s collection of works by father and son, the largest outside of London. By drawing on their uniting elements of trees and European exploration, visitors will gain a rare insight into the practices of 18th-century artists.

Exhibition | Japanese Arms and Armor

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 29, 2018

Now on view at The Met Fifth Avenue:

Japanese Arms and Armor from the Collection of Etsuko and John Morris
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 25 January 2018 — 6 January 2019

Armor (Gusoku), Helmet signed by Bamen Tomotsugu (Japanese, Eichizan province, Toyohara, active 18th century); iron, lacquer, copper-gold alloy (shakudō), silver, silk, horse hair, ivory (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001.642).

Presenting a wide array of samurai armor, blades, and accoutrements dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, this exhibition celebrates the promised gift of thirty-seven objects from the collection of Etsuko and John Morris, as well as other important gifts made by Mr. and Mrs. Morris to The Met’s Department of Arms and Armor over the past seventeen years.

The collection was originally assembled in the early twentieth century by Dr. Frederick Malling Pedersen (1869–1947) of New York. It later passed by descent to Mr. and Mrs. Morris, who have seen to its care and restoration. Key works include a rare complete armor (gusoku) by Bamen Tomotsugu (active eighteenth century); a blade attributed to Fusamune of Sōshū (active late fifteenth–early sixteenth century) with mounting; and a helmet (kawari-kabuto) in the shape of a wave (seventeenth century, restored 2015). The gift of choice objects from the collection represents a significant addition to the Museum’s holdings of Japanese arms and armor, which are the most comprehensive of their kind outside of Japan.

Grey Room, Recent Issues

Posted in journal articles by Editor on June 28, 2018

Some of the articles addressing the eighteenth century in recent issues of Grey Room:

Grey Room

Editors: Zeynep Çelik Alexander, Lucia Allais, Eric C.H. de Bruyn, Noam M. Elcott, Byron Hamann, John Harwood, and Matthew C. Hunter

Grey Room brings together scholarly and theoretical articles from the fields of architecture, art, media, and politics to forge a cross-disciplinary discourse uniquely relevant to contemporary concerns. Publishing some of the most interesting and original work within these disciplines, Grey Room has positioned itself at the forefront of current aesthetic and critical debates. Featuring original articles, translations, interviews, dossiers, and academic exchanges, Grey Room emphasizes aesthetic practice and historical and theoretical discourse that appeals to a wide range of readers, including architects, artists, scholars, students, and critics.

No. 71 (Spring 2018) The Costs of Architecture

• Jason Nguyen, “Building on Credit: Architecture and the Mississippi Bubble (1716–1720),” pp. 40–67.

No. 69 (Fall 2017) Liquid Intelligence

• Jennifer L. Roberts, “The Veins of Pennsylvania: Benjamin Franklin’s Nature-Print Currency,” pp. 50–79
• Matthew C. Hunter, “The Cunning of Sir Sloshua: Reynolds, the Sea, and Risk,” pp. 80–107.

Call for Proposals | History of Collecting Seminars

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 28, 2018

Seminars in the History of Collecting
The Wallace Collection, London, 2019

Proposals due by 7 September 2018

The seminar series was established as part of the Wallace Collection’s commitment to the research and study of the history of collections and collecting, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Paris and London. In 2019, as in previous years, we plan to organise a series of 10 seminars. We are keen to encourage contributions covering all aspects of the history of collecting, including
• Formation and dispersal of collections
• Dealers, auctioneers, and the art market
• Collectors
• Museums
• Inventory work
• Research resources

The seminars, which are normally held on the last Monday of every month during the calendar year, excluding August and December, act as a forum for the presentation and discussion of new research into the history of collecting. Seminars are open to curators, academics, historians, archivists, and all those with an interest in the subject. Papers are generally 45–60 minutes long, and all the seminars take place at the Wallace Collection between 5.30 and 7pm. If interested, please send a short text (500–750 words), including a brief CV, indicating any months when you would not be available to speak, by Friday 7 September 2018. For more information and to submit a proposal, please contact: collection@wallacecollection.org.

Please note that we are able to contribute up to the following sums towards speakers’ travelling expenses on submission of receipts:
• Speakers within the UK – £80
• Speakers from Continental Europe – £160
• Speakers from outside Europe – £250

New Book | Jean-Baptiste-Pierre LeBrun (1748–1813)

Posted in books by Editor on June 27, 2018

From Rowman & Littlefield and available from Artbooks.com:

Bette Oliver, Jean-Baptiste-Pierre LeBrun (1748–1813): In Pursuit of Art (Hamilton Books, 2018), 108 pages, ISBN: 978-0761870272, $65 / £45

Jean-Baptiste Pierre LeBrun’s life was marked by his intense interest in art, first as an artist, and then from 1770 until his death in 1813, as an art dealer/connoisseur and as a participant in the transformation of the Louvre into a national museum during the French Revolution. He managed to accommodate whichever regime assumed power, from monarchy to republic to empire. He married the artist Elisabeth Vigée in 1776, and together they figured prominently in the pre-revolutionary cultural world of Paris. LeBrun travelled widely, buying art for his gallery and contributing to a number of aristocratic collections. His expertise in attributions of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings was acknowledged internationally, while his reference work on the subject was considered the most comprehensive ever written.
LeBrun, the grand-nephew of the illustrious artist Charles LeBrun, became one of the most successful art dealers in Paris. He played an active role in the politics of art between 1789 and 1802, serving as an expert-commissioner in restoration at the national museum. His inventories of artworks, confiscated from all over Europe by Napoleon’s armies, have provided a valuable record of the development of the French national museum. In addition, his inventories have been useful in the identification and recovery of Nazi confiscations during World War II. LeBrun’s accomplishments during a tumultuous period of political and artistic change present evidence of his contributions to the concept of the modern art museum, notably in the areas of conservation, restoration, and arrangement.

Bette W. Oliver of Austin, Texas, is an independent scholar and editor with a PhD in modern European history from the University of Texas at Austin. A specialist in the period of the French Revolution, she is the author of five books focusing on that pivotal period, as well as eleven volumes of poetry.

2016 Dissertation Listings from CAA

Posted in graduate students by Editor on June 27, 2018

My apologies for not posting this much sooner (the listings used to come out in August, and I wasn’t looking for them in December). CH

From caa.news (11 December 2017) . . .

Once a year, each institution granting the PhD in art history and/or visual studies submits dissertation titles to CAA for publication. caa.reviews has now published the authors and titles of doctoral dissertations in art history and visual studies—both completed and in progress—from American and Canadian institutions for calendar year 2016. You can browse by listing date or by subject matter. Each entry identifies the student’s name, dissertation title, school, and advisor.

The index for 2016 lists four ‘eighteenth-century art’ dissertations completed:

• Joshua D. Hainy, “John Flaxman: Beyond the Line” (Iowa, D. Johnson)

• Stephanie O’Rourke, “Bodies of Knowledge: Fuseli and Girodet at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century” (Columbia, J. Crary)

• Amanda K. Strasik, “Reconceiving Childhood: Women and Children in French Art, 1750–1814” (Iowa, D. Johnson)

• Aaron Wile, “Painting, Authority, and Experience at the Twilight of the Grand Siècle, 1688–1721” (Harvard, E. Lajer-Burcharth)

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and thirty-six ‘eighteenth-century art’ dissertations in progress, including:

• Daniella Berman, “Aesthetics of Contingency: History and the Unfinished Paintings of the French Revolution” (IFA/NYU, T. Crow)

• Christine Brandner, “Addressing another Body in Jean-Etienne Liotard’s Portraiture” (Yale, N. Suthor)

• Alexandra Cardon, “Circa 1700: Royal Retreats, Academic Unrest and the Roots of Rococo” (CUNY, J. Sund)

• Alicia Caticha, “Étienne-Maurice Falconet and the Matter of Sculpture: Marble, Porcelain, and Sugar in Eighteenth-Century Paris” (Virginia, S. Betzer)

• Elizabeth Gebauer, “The Art of Speech: Flemish Baroque Pulpits, 1627–1794” (Princeton, T. DaCosta Kaufmann)

• Sandra Gomez Todo, “Abandoned Schools of Pleasure: Unmasking Gender and Identity in the Visual Culture of the Georgian Masquerade” (Iowa, D. Johnson)

• Christine Griffiths, “From Garden to Toilette: Cultivating Perfume in Early Modern England” (Bard Graduate Center, D. Krohn)

• Rachel Harmeyer, “After Angelica Kauffman” (Rice, L. Costello)

• Julia K. McHugh, “Dressing Andean Spaces: Textiles, Painting, and Architecture in the Colonial Imagination” (UCLA, C. Villaseñor-Black)

• Isabel Oleas-Mogollón, “Jesuit Missionary and Visionary Experiences in Quito: La Compañía Prophet Paintings” (Delaware, M. Domínguez Torres)

• Emily Spratt, “Byzantium not Forgotten: Constructing the Artistic and Cultural Legacy of an Empire between East and West in the Early Modern Period” (Princeton, P. Brown)

• Amy Torbert, “Dissolving the Bonds: Sayer & Bennett, Print Publishers in an Age of Revolution” (Delaware, W. Bellion)

• Linda Zajac, “Miniature Worlds of Age and Masculinity in the Eighteenth-Century English Domestic Interior” (University of Victoria, E. Campbell)

The Burlington Magazine, June 2018

Posted in books, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on June 26, 2018

As the June 2018 issue of The Burlington launches a new design (the work of Studio Frank), editor Michael Hall provides a brief overview of the history of the journal’s design in his editorial comments, noting that “many readers now access the magazine in its digital edition and for most people the first sight of the cover is likely to be on the screen of a tablet or smartphone, meaning that it has to work on a small scale” (453).

The eighteenth century in The Burlington:

The Burlington Magazine 160 (June 2018)


• Tessa Murdoch, “A Set of Silver-Gilt Waiters by Benjamin Pyne for the Courtenay Family of Powderham Castle, Devon,” pp. 478–89.


• Xavier F. Salomon, Review of the exhibition Tiepolo Segreto (Vicenza: Palladio Museum, 2017–18), pp. 495–97.
• Sanda Miller, Review of the exhibition Fashioned from Nature (London: V&A, 2018), 497–99.
• Steven Jaron, Review of John Onians, European Art: A Neuroarthistory (Yale UP, 2016), 516–17.
• Antoine Maës, Review of Alexandre Maral, François Girardon (1628–1715): Le Sculpteur de Louis XIV (Arthena, 2015), p. 519.
• Clare Hornsby, Review of Paola Bianchi and Karin Wolfe, eds., Turin and the British in the Age of the Grand Tour (Cambridge UP, 2017), pp. 520–21.
• Jonathan Brown, Review of Elena Santiago Páez, ed., Ceán Bermúdez: Historiador del arte y coleccionista ilustrado (Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2016), p. 521.
• Timothy Wilcox, Review of Ann Gunn, The Prints of Paul Sandby (1731–1809): A Catalogue Raisonné (Brepols, 2016), pp. 521–23.
• Caroline Finkel, Review of Francis Russell, 123 Places in Turkey: A Private Grand Tour (Bitter Lemon Press, 2017), p. 527.


Exhibition | Fashioned from Nature

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 26, 2018

Press release for the V&A exhibition:

Fashioned from Nature
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 21 April 2018 — 27 Jan 2019

Curated by Edwina Ehrman

A pineapple fibre clutch-bag, Emma Watson’s Calvin Klein dress made from recycled plastic bottles, and a cape of cockerel feathers are amongst the 300 beautiful, intriguing and unsettling objects from the V&A’s most recent major fashion exhibition. Fashioned from Nature traces the complex relationship between fashion and the natural world since 1600. It shows how fashionable dress recurringly draws on the beauty and power of nature for inspiration, with exquisite garments and accessories from Christian Dior, Dries van Noten, and Philip Treacy. It explores how fashion’s processes and constant demand for raw materials damage the environment, featuring campaigners and protest groups that have effectively highlighted this issue such as Fashion Revolution and Vivienne Westwood. It looks at the role of design in creating a better, more sustainable fashion industry.

Waistcoat, 1780–89, France (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, T.49-1948).

The exhibition showcases contemporary designers of desirable, creative and sustainable popular fashion. Menswear and womenswear from Stella McCartney, known for a commitment to and success in developing new alternative sustainable materials, is displayed alongside an upcycled dress by Christopher Raeburn. At the 2016 Met Gala, actor Emma Watson wore a Calvin Klein look made from recycled plastic bottles. With separate parts, it was intended to be re-worn in different ways. The look was created as part of the ‘Green Carpet Challenge’ with Eco-Age, an initiative to pair sustainability with glamour. It is shown with a floral dress from Erdem’s Green Carpet Challenge collection. Fashioned from Nature draws attention to the use of innovative fabrics. Vegea use grape waste from the wine industry to form a leather-substitute and their Grape gown is on show, as is a Ferragamo ensemble made from ‘Orange Fiber’ derived from waste from the Italian citrus industry and an H&M Conscious dress made from recycled shoreline plastic.

The exhibition looks to the past 400 years of fashion to explore what we can learn from fashion practice in the past, with objects dating to the early 1600s. Items include an 1875 pair of earrings formed from the heads of two real Honeycreeper birds—a hugely popular item sold in enormous volume at the time—and a 1860s muslin dress decorated with the iridescent green wing cases of hundreds of jewel beetles. They are shown alongside natural history specimens to indicate the ways fashion has used animal materials in its designs and production.

The natural world has always provided rich inspiration for beautiful fashion. This is shown in displays of exquisite garments from the historic to the contemporary. They range from a 1780s man’s waistcoat, expertly embroidered with a pattern of playful Macacque monkeys, to Gucci’s contemporary bag decorated with stag beetle motifs. One of the earliest pieces in the exhibition, a women’s jacket from the early 1600s, is intricately embroidered with designs of pea-shoots and flowers. A 2016 Giles Deacon haute-couture dress features a pattern of delicate bird’s eggs, whilst gowns from Jean Paul Gaultier (1997) and Busvine (1933–34) both feature leopard print.

The exhibition also focuses closely on the raw materials used in the production of fashion. Arranged chronologically, it introduces the main fibres used in the 17th and 18th centuries—silk, flax, wool, and cotton—as well as now controversial materials like whalebone, demonstrated by an x-ray by Nick Veasey of a pair of 1780s stays, and turtle shell, used in a fan from 1700. It goes on to chart the expansion in international trade, import of precious materials, and later introduction of man-made materials, which brought fashionable dress to the masses but also contributed to the air and water pollution to which the textile industry is such a significant contributor.

A bold display of posters, slogan clothes, and artworks show how protest movements have helped draw attention to the harmful side of fashion. Figures like Vivienne Westwood have popularised these issues and a mannequin pays homage to an outfit worn by her whilst protesting against climate change. A man’s outfit from Katharine Hamnett’s 1989 ‘Clean Up or Die’ collection is on show alongside posters from Fashion Revolution, a collective aiming to change the way clothes are sourced, produced and consumed. Customising and re-wearing clothes are highlighted through a vintage outfit and a jacket customised by London designer Katie Jones for fashion writer and editor Susie Lau to wear during Fashion Revolution Week 2015.

The exhibition presents a range of solutions to reducing fashion’s impact on the environment from low water denim and using wild rubber to more conceptual and collaborative projects. These include a dress grown from plant roots by the artist Diana Scherer, who uses seed, soil, and water to train root systems into textile-like material, a bio-luminescent genetically- engineered silk dress created by Sputniko!, the MIT Lab and the National Institute of Agricultural Science (NIAS), South Korea, and a tunic and trousers made from synthetic spider silk from Bolt Threads x Stella McCartney.

Fashioned from Nature is curated by Edwina Ehrman, Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A. She also curated the exhibition The Wedding Dress: 300 Years of Bridal Fashions. She was a co-author of The London Look: Fashion from Street to Catwalk (2004) and a contributor to The Englishness of English Dress (2002).

Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) at London College of Fashion, UAL, present two interactive installations which explore ‘Fashion Now’ and ‘Fashion Future.’ ‘Fashion Now’ takes five iconic contemporary fashion pieces and using sensors, visitors are able to explore the unseen impact on nature of the construction, making, wearing and discarding of each item. ‘Fashion Future’ immerses viewers into the fashion world of the future, inviting us to question what fashion means and show us a future we are yet to imagine. The CSF installations are curated by Professor Dilys Williams, founder and Director of CSF, and Ligaya Salazar, Director, Fashion Space Gallery with help from London College of Fashion MA Fashion Futures students.

Edwina Ehrman, Fashioned From Nature (London: V&A Publishing, 2018), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-1851779451, £25 / $40.

Mantua, 1760s, France (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, T.252 to C-1959).

Exhibition | To Rome and Back

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 26, 2018

Now on view at LACMA:

To Rome and Back: Individualism and Authority in Art, 1500–1800
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 24 June 2018 — 17 March 2019

Ludovico Mazzanti, The Death of Lucretia, ca. 1730 (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of The Ahmanson Foundation).

Over the course of its 2,000-year history, Rome has been alternatively held as the epitome of republic, the decadence of empire, the force of Catholicism, the artistic and literary birthplace of naturalism, and above all, the source of classicism. Despite these various, and ostensibly conflicting associations, its classical epithet—the Eternal City—reflects the symbiosis of these qualities and their lasting influence on republics, nations, religions and even continents beyond. For while Rome’s significance waxed and waned through plagues and progress, conflict and collaboration, its political, social, cultural, and religious power remained consistently strong throughout its history.

Assembled entirely from LACMA’s permanent collection, this examination of a significant moment in early Modern Europe reflects the donations and gifts from years of support to the museum’s departments of Costume and Textiles, Decorative Arts and Design, Latin American Art, and Prints and Drawings, in addition to European Paintings and Sculpture. These works reveal the depth of Rome’s impact from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, before rising individualism, internationalism, and the optimistic equilibrium between secular and religious forces caused the city’s ultimate marginalization.

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