Exhibition | The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 31, 2018

Installation view of The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America (Newport: Redwood Library & Athenaeum, photo by Michael Osean).

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Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America
The Redwood Library and Athenæum, Newport, 13 December 2018 — 21 April 2019

Curated by Gary Sullivan and Benedict Leca

In an era when it emerged alongside New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston as one of the five main port cities of the American Enlightenment, Newport famously distinguished itself by its uniquely progressive society, but also by its cultural refinement, exemplified as much by the Redwood Library—America’s first purpose-built library and earliest public neoclassic building—as by the masterpiece clocks produced by the Claggett dynasty. The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America features 35 clocks, the largest assemblage of Claggett and Wady clocks ever brought together—many never exhibited publicly. It examines the range of the Claggetts’ clock production in terms of their technical sophistication, decorative finesse, and context of fabrication.

“As the pinnacle of what was often the most expensive item in an elite colonial home, these clocks reflect the cultural aspirations of early Americans, and the role that Newporters played in fashioning an American style that contrasted with European fashions,” said Redwood Executive Director and exhibition co-curator Benedict Leca.

Drawn from a full roster of public and private collections, the exhibition includes pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brown University, The Preservation Society of Newport County, Old Sturbridge Village Collection, and the Rhode Island Historical Society. It features twenty clocks by William Claggett, including his masterpiece: the arch-dial, eight-day quarter-striking clock in japanned case belonging to the Redwood. Thomas Claggett is represented by eleven clocks, while James Wady—to whom only eleven clocks are ascribed—by four clocks, including one using a convex block-and-shell pendulum door, a feature that typified Newport clocks. Among other highlights is a table clock with japanned surface by William Claggett; a trio of Thomas Claggett clocks in related, uniquely regional cases, one a dwarf clock and another a musical clock by him; and two uncased eight-day time and strike movements enabling visitors to peer into the mechanics of a working clock.

The exhibition includes many clocks borrowed from private collections that feature significant provenance information. Preserved by Rhode Island families, some for 300 years, the identities of the original owners of several examples are documented and early family histories are known for others, shedding light on the value, details of construction and the circumstances governing commissions.

“This is an unprecedented presentation of clocks that is unlikely ever to be duplicated. With the recent book devoted to the Claggetts by Fennimore and Hohmann, the Claggetts’ achievement as a highpoint of early American craftsmanship can now be comprehensively appreciated,” said exhibition co-curator Gary Sullivan, the leading authority on early American clocks.

Organized by the Redwood Library & Athenæum—the sole venue—The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America juxtaposes significant early square dial clocks with later, highly elaborate clocks featuring japanned cases and complex movements indicating the day, tides, and phases of the moon. The clocks’ increasing technical and decorative elaboration over the course of the eighteenth century coincided with the growing prosperity of Newport’s merchant class, whose patronage fueled the city’s emergence as a major colonial artistic center.

The exhibition charts a complex narrative that teases out the three distinct personalities that comprise the Claggett dynasty—William Claggett (1694–1748), his assumed relative Thomas Claggett (d. 1797), and William’s son-in-law James Wady (ca. 1706–1759). As well, the show offers insights on the network of sub-contracted specialist case makers, brass founders and glaziers that the Claggett workshop relied on to produce their clocks.

The technical expertise required to produce a clock, whereby founders cast brass parts that clockmakers filed into the finished movement and positioned inside custom casework made these more than “a great ornament to [a] Room.” The Claggett’s ascendency as clockmakers coincides with the entry of science into public discourse through newly-formed philosophical societies, such as Newport’s Literary and Philosophical Society (1730), the group integral to the founding of the Redwood Library, whose members met to discuss current political and scientific issues. William Claggett himself experimented with electricity, and evidence abounds that clocks were conceived as far more than time pieces: in a 1725 pamphlet Benjamin Franklin compares God’s regulation of the world to the movement of a clock, a metaphor used and critiqued later by the philosopher George Berkeley.

The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America is co-curated by Gary R. Sullivan and Benedict Leca. The Redwood gratefully acknowledges support from the Edward W. Kane and Martha J. Wallace Family Foundation, and by several donors who wish to remain anonymous. Further support for the gallery presentation comes from Cornelius C. Bond and Ann E. Blackwell, and an in-kind donation by Sandra Liotus Lighting LLC. A catalog recording the exhibition will be available in 2019.

Donald Fennimore and Frank Hohmann, with an Introduction by Dennis Carr, Claggett: Newport’s Illustrious Clockmakers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-0300233797, $65.

New Book | National Gallery, Eighteenth-Century French Paintings

Posted in books, catalogues by Editor on December 27, 2018

Distributed by Yale UP:

Humphrey Wine, National Gallery Catalogues: The Eighteenth-Century French Paintings (London: National Gallery Company, 2019), 632 pages, ISBN: 978-1857093384, $125.

The impressive collection of eighteenth-century French paintings at the National Gallery, London, includes important works by Boucher, Chardin, David, Fragonard, Watteau, and many others. This volume presents over seventy detailed and extensively illustrated entries that expand our understanding of these paintings. Comprehensive research uncovers new information on provenance and on the lives of identified portrait sitters. Humphrey Wine explains the social and political contexts of many of the paintings, and an introductory essay looks at the attitude of eighteenth-century Britons to the French, as well as the market for eighteenth-century French paintings then in London salerooms.

Humphrey Wine was formerly the curator of 17th- and 18th-century French paintings at the National Gallery, London.

Edinburgh’s Collective Opens on Calton Hill

Posted in museums, on site by Editor on December 26, 2018

Press release (via Art Daily) for Collective in Edinburgh:

Collective—a new centre for contemporary art—opened in Edinburgh after a major restoration project at one of the capital’s World Heritage sites. Situated on top of Calton Hill, overlooking the city, Collective includes the restored City Observatory, designed by William Playfair in 1818, a new purpose-built exhibition space with panoramic viewing terrace, and a destination restaurant, The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage. For the first time in its 200-year history the City Observatory site is freely open to the public.

The opening marks a fresh chapter in the history of the Observatory site and for Collective, an organisation active on the Scottish arts scene since 1984. Collective positions itself as a new kind of observatory, inviting the public to view the world around them through the lens of contemporary art. A selection of international and Scotland-based artists, commissioned specially for the opening, are exhibiting their work at Collective as part of an inaugural exhibition. Affinity and Allusion draws on themes connected to Calton Hill’s rich history and features the work of artists Dineo Seshee Bopape, James N Hutchinson, Alexandra Laudo, Tessa Lynch, Catherine Payton, and Klaus Weber.

The City Observatory, designed by William Playfair in 1818, played a key role in the history of astronomy and timekeeping in Edinburgh. The original telescope, installed in the Observatory in 1831, is on display. The Observatory will houses Collective’s new shop, Collective Matter, selling unique artist editions and specially commissioned products.

The Hillside is a brand-new exhibition and office space embedded in the hillside in front of the City Observatory. The space will primarily exhibit work from Collective’s Satellites Programme for emerging artists and producers in Scotland. A panoramic viewing terrace on the roof of The Hillside allows visitors to soak up the stunning views north across Leith and the Firth of Forth. The nearby City Dome, completed in 1895 as a subsidiary to the main Observatory, has been restored and will play host to a changing programme of international artists showing their work in Scotland for the first time.

A purpose-built restaurant, The Lookout, has been constructed on the northeast corner of Collective and is being managed by local partners The Gardener’s Cottage. The Lookout specialises in seasonal cooking using locally-sourced ingredients. Panoramic views from the upper floor dining area, which is cantilevered to partially float above the hillside, complete an extraordinary dining experience.

The final building to be restored as part of Collective is the Transit House. Originally used as an observatory, the building now serves as a learning and education space for visiting schools and groups. The original ‘Politician’s Clock’, so-called because it has two faces, is back on display. Before the installation of the time-ball in the nearby Nelson monument, sailors from the Port of Leith would ascend Calton Hill and use the clock (accurately set by celestial observations) to set their chronometers.

The £4.5m redevelopment is the result of a partnership between Collective and City of Edinburgh Council. Collective moved to the site in 2013 and began fundraising for the project. Funders include City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Edinburgh World Heritage, William Grant Foundation, WREN, The Wolfson Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation UK, Pilgrim Trust, Architectural Heritage Fund, Hope Scott Trust, Idlewild Trust, Craignish Trust, and the invaluable support of many trusts, funds, and individual donors.

Exhibition | Silent Night Turns 200

Posted in anniversaries, exhibitions by Editor on December 24, 2018

From the Salzburg Museum, in celebration of the song’s 200th anniversary (with nine exhibition sites in all) . . .

Silent Night 200: The Story, the Message, the Present
Stille Nacht 200: Geschichte, Botschaft, Gegenwart
Salzburg Museum, 29 September 2018 — 3 February 2019

Curated by Peter Husty and Birgit Gampmayer

Two hundred years ago, Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber met in Oberndorf. Mohr was born in Salzburg in 1792 and ordained a priest here. In 1815, he was appointed as a curate in Mariapfarr. Here, in 1816, he wrote the poem “Silent Night.” 1816 was a hard year for Salzburg. Salzburg had lost its independence. The year without summer brought crises and famine. The words of the carol were created under this impression; they express a longing for redemption and peace. In 1817, Mohr was moved to Oberndorf on the river Salzach. Gruber was born in 1787 in Hochburg in the Innviertel, Upper Austria; he was a teacher in Arnsdorf close by and played the organ in the Oberndorf church. For a short time, the careers of the two men crossed in Oberndorf. Here, Gruber composed the music to the poem on 24 December 1818 for Christmas Eve in the church of St Nicholas. Mohr and Gruber performed the carol themselves. Today it is sung throughout the world at Christmas. It has been translated into countless languages.

Curators: Mag. Peter Husty und Mag. Birgit Gampmayer, BA

Idea: Hon.-Prof.Mag. Dr. Martin Hochleitner

Research concept: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Hochradner ( Universität Mozarteum Salzburg)

Exhibition | Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 24, 2018

John Constable, The Wheat Field, 1816, oil on canvas, 22 × 31 inches (Clark Art Institute, Gift of the Manton Art Foundation in memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, 2007.8.27).

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Press release for the exhibition at The Clark:

Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape
The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 15 December 2018 — 10 March 2019

Curated by Alexis Goodin

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) and John Constable (1776–1837) rose to prominence as landscape artists in early nineteenth-century Britain. Their inspired subjects, their distinctive compositions, and their innovative brushwork combined to elevate a genre traditionally considered less important than history painting and portraiture. Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape explores the significance of human figures and the built environment in the landscape, as well as the personal significance of specific places to each artist.

The exhibition features more than fifty paintings, drawings and watercolors, prints, and books, a beautiful selection of which are on loan from the Yale Center for British Art and the Chapin Library at Williams College. The works in the show are primarily drawn from the Clark’s Manton Collection of British Art, created by Sir Edwin Manton and given to the Clark by the Manton Art Foundation in 2007. This transformative gift included more than 250 oil paintings, sketches, works on paper, and prints, making the Clark a center for the study of nineteenth-century British Art.

“One of the real joys of visiting the Clark is the opportunity to consider magnificent landscapes in our galleries while surrounded by the natural beauty of our own campus,” said Olivier Meslay, the Hardymon Director of the Clark. “The Manton collection is so special to us because it is a rich resource that continues to inspire our curators to consider these works through a myriad of lenses. With this exhibition we will look at landscapes in a different context—and we’re particularly excited because this concept provides a perfect opportunity to present several works that have never been shown at the Clark, while many others are rarely on view due to their delicate nature.”

Alexis Goodin, the Clark’s Curatorial Research Associate, organized the exhibition. “It’s easy to overlook the people depicted in the landscapes of Turner and Constable,” said Goodin. “Often these artists’ figures are small, quickly painted, and sometimes not anatomically correct—qualities that might make them seem less relevant to a breathtaking landscape view. When one begins identifying the people within landscapes and their actions, however, these figures can reveal social and political concerns of the time as well as the artists’ interests and connections to the places depicted. We hope this exhibition opens up a new understanding of these works for our visitors and deepens their appreciation for two of the most revered landscape painters of the nineteenth century.”

The exhibition considers a variety of elements presented in landscapes by both Turner and Constable and creates a framework for appreciating the ways in which these figures lend added meaning to the works. They include:

The Observed Landscape

Turner and Constable created a wide range of landscapes and seascapes throughout their careers. They often depicted familiar places that shed light on the personal histories of the artists. Figures incorporated into these landscapes were important to the picture’s narrative and not merely a measure of scale.

Constable, having spent his honeymoon in the seaside village of Osmington, recorded this place of personal importance. Osmington Bay (1816) reveals nature’s grandeur on an intimate scale. The figures—including a fisherman mending a net, a shepherd, and a mother with her child—show the beach as a place of both work and leisure. In the painting Osmington Village (1816–17, Yale Center for British Art), smoke billows from the chimney of the vicarage while people make their way by cart or foot along the village lane, conveying both domestic comfort and productivity within the landscape.

Laborers in the Landscape

Laborers—ploughmen, shepherds, laundresses, fishermen, sailors—populate many of Constable’s and Turner’s landscapes and seascapes. The workers’ presence animates the natural world and underscores the potential abundance of the land or sea. Contemporary accounts reveal difficult working conditions and the extreme poverty of agricultural workers, conditions often not apparent in the artists’ portrayals. The laborers’ presence invites the observer to consider how the environment shaped them, and how they influenced their surroundings. The ways in which Turner and Constable rendered laborers within their landscapes may also shed light on how they viewed the workers.

The Wheat Field (1816) presents a view across a valley in Constable’s native Suffolk. Harvesters cut down the golden wheat with scythes, reapers bundle the stalks, and gleaners collect leftover grains while a boy and his dog guard lunch. The idealized scene belies the heat of the sun and the long hours of monotonous and sometimes painful work. Constable’s inclusion of different classes working together suggests that commercial success and charity were not mutually exclusive. This sympathetic treatment of the poor came at a time when the landless classes were increasingly denied access to places that they had traditionally used to grow food or graze animals.

Laborers fill the foreground in Turner’s Saumur from the Île d’Offart, with the Pont Cessart and the Château in the Distance (c. 1830). In this scene of the town of Saumur, located on the Loire River in west central France, washerwomen spread out laundry to dry on the steps while men load cargo onto barges. The workers bring the picturesque view to life, showing the town as a center of commercial prosperity.

The Literary Landscape

Turner often turned to literary texts for source material, situating characters in settings that enhanced their stories or populating imaginary landscapes with familiar narratives. He was commissioned to design illustrations for literary publications, supplying finished watercolors that printmakers would turn into engravings used in bound volumes.

Turner spent the summer of 1831 in Scotland, sketching landscapes described in Sir Walter Scott’s poems and novels for a proposed illustrated edition of the author’s works. The project never came to fruition, but Turner worked up his drawings for a related publication. Wolf’s Hope, Eyemouth (c. 1835) is one of six finished watercolors translated into illustrations for Rev. George Wright’s Landscape-Historical Illustrations of Scotland and the Waverly Novels (1836). Wolf’s Hope, Eyemouth illustrates one of the settings in Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Bride of Lammermoor (1819), showing the harbor town where the novel’s tragic hero, Edgar Ravenswood, resided in a dilapidated castle called Wolf’s Crag.

The Built Landscape

The buildings within Constable’s and Turner’s works not only identify the geography and place their landscapes within time, but also reveal each artist’s personal connections to place. Constable found inspiration in the English countryside, often highlighting the small villages, cottages, churches, cathedrals, and other built structures that he encountered.

Salisbury Cathedral and its environs held special meaning for Constable, as his good friends and patrons the Bishop of Salisbury John Fisher and his nephew, John Fisher, later Archdeacon of Berkshire, resided there. Inspired by the majestic Gothic cathedral, he painted this important seat of the Anglican faith from many viewpoints, often emphasizing the spire towering over the plain. For Constable, a member of the Church of England, the church was not just architecture or a relic of the past, but a symbol of enduring faith. Indeed, as a seat of Anglican worship, Salisbury represented steadfastness and tradition in a time of increasing challenges to its authority, including the rise of Evangelicalism and the revival of Anglo-Catholicism brought on by the Oxford movement in the mid-1830s. The exhibition presents four works in various media depicting the cathedral—three from the Manton Collection of British Art and a fourth collected by Sterling and Francine Clark in 1945.

Turner grew up in London, and the city provided him with his earliest subjects. His watercolor The Tower of London (c. 1794) served as the basis for an engraving published in The Pocket Magazine on January 1, 1795. Viewed from across the Thames, the White Tower, built in 1078 and famously used as a prison until 1952, rises majestically above a city awash with light. Large mast ships on either side of the small composition frame the view of this historic fortress. The still water of the Thames reflects the boats and buildings, giving the scene a timeless calm. The absence of figures and narrative allows the focus to remain on the built environment.

Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape is presented in the Clark’s special exhibition galleries in the Clark Center. The Clark also presents a companion installation of sixteen landscape drawings by Thomas Gainsborough in the Manton Gallery for British Art, located in the Manton Research Center, from December 1, 2018 until March 17, 2019. Fourteen of the Gainsborough drawings on view in this installation are from the Manton collection. Though recognized as one of the most fashionable portrait painters in the eighteenth century, Gainsborough made hundreds of drawings of the English landscape. Abundant with foliage, cottages, and pastoral figures, the works evoke the gentle woodland and heath of the artist’s native Suffolk and the mountainous Lake District of Cumbria. Gainsborough’s landscape drawings in this presentation reveal the artist’s fascination with mixed-media technique: graphite, chalks, ink washes, watercolor, and oil paints intermingle on toned papers.

New Book | Gems in the Early Modern World:

Posted in books by Editor on December 22, 2018

From Palgrave Macmillan:

Michael Bycroft and Sven Dupré, eds., Gems in the Early Modern World: Materials, Knowledge and Global Trade, 1450–1800 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 359 pages, ISBN: 978-3319963785, $120.

This edited collection is an interdisciplinary study of gems in the early modern world. It examines the relations between the art, science, and technology of gems, and it does so against the backdrop of an expanding global trade in gems. The eleven chapters are organised into three parts. The first part sets the scene by describing how gems moved around the early modern world, how they were set in motion, and how they were pulled together in the course of their travels. The second part is about value. It asks why people valued gems, how they determined the value of a given gem, and how the value of a gem was connected to its perceived place of origin. The third part deals with the skills involved in cutting, polishing, and mounting gems, and how these skills were transmitted and articulated by artisans. The common themes of all these chapters are materials, knowledge and global trade. The contributors to this volume focus on the material properties of gems such as their weight and hardness, on the knowledge involved in exchanging them and valuing them, and on the cultural consequences of the expanding trade in gems in Eurasia and the Americas.

Michael Bycroft is Assistant Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the University of Warwick. He completed his PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge in 2013, and has since held fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the University of Warwick. He specialises in the physical sciences in early modern Europe, and is writing a monograph on the role of precious stones in the scientific revolution.

Sven Dupré is Professor of History of Art, Science and Technology at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He directs ARTECHNE, an interdisciplinary project on technique in the arts, supported by the European Research Council. Previously he was a Professor of History of Knowledge at the Freie Universität in Berlin.


• Michael Bycroft and Sven Dupre, Introduction: Gems in the Early Modern World
• Hugo Miguel Crespo, The Plundering of the Ceylonese Royal Treasury, 1551–1553: Its Character, Cost, and Dispersal
• Christina M. Anderson, Diamond-Studded Paths: Lines of Communication and the Trading Network of the Hellemans Family, Jewellers from Antwerp
• Claire Sabel, The Impact of European Trade with Southeast Asia on the Mineralogical Studies of Robert Boyle
• Anna Grasskamp, Branches and Bones: The Transformative Matter of Coral in Ming Dynasty China
• Michael Bycroft, Boethius de Boodt and the Emergence of the Oriental/Occidental Distinction in European Mineralogy
• Marcia Pointon, Good and Bad Diamonds in Seventeenth-Century Europe
• Marieke Hendriksen, The Repudiation and Persistence of Lapidary Medicine in Eighteenth-Century Dutch Medicine and Pharmacy
• Marjolijn Bol, Polito et Claro: The Art and Knowledge of Polishing, 1100–1500
• Taylor L. Viens, Mughal Lapidaries and the Inherited Modes of Production
• Karin Hofmeester, Knowledge, Technique, and Taste in Transit: Diamond Polishing in Europe, 1500–1800
• Marlise Rijks, Gems and Counterfeited Gems in Early Modern Antwerp: From Workshops to Collections


New Book | The Game of Love in Georgian England

Posted in books by Editor on December 20, 2018

From Oxford UP:

Sally Holloway, The Game of Love in Georgian England: Courtship, Emotions, and Material Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0198823070, £60 / $75.

Courtship in Georgian England was a decisive moment in the life cycle, imagined as a tactical game, an invigorating sport, and a perilous journey across a turbulent sea. This volume brings to life the emotional experience of courtship using the words and objects selected by men and women to navigate this potentially fraught process. It provides new insights into the making and breaking of relationships, beginning with the formation of courtships using the language of love, the development of intimacy through the exchange of love letters, and sensory engagement with love tokens such as flowers, portrait miniatures, and locks of hair. It also charts the increasing modernization of romantic customs over the Georgian era—most notably with the arrival of the printed valentine’s card—revealing how love developed into a commercial industry. The book concludes with the rituals of disintegration when engagements went awry, and pursuit of damages for breach of promise in the civil courts.

The Game of Love in Georgian England brings together love letters, diaries, valentines, and proposals of marriage from sixty courtships sourced from thirty archives and museum collections, alongside an extensive range of sources including ballads, conduct literature, court cases, material objects, newspaper reports, novels, periodicals, philosophical discourses, plays, poems, and prints, to create a vivid social and cultural history of romantic emotions. The book demonstrates the importance of courtship to studies of marriage, relationships, and emotions in history, and how we write histories of emotions using objects. Love emerges as something that we do in practice, enacted by couples through particular socially and historically determined rituals.

Sally Holloway is the Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in History and History of Art at Oxford Brookes University. Holloway is an historian of emotions, gender, material culture, and romantic relationships in Georgian England. After completing her AHRC-funded PhD at Royal Holloway in 2013, she worked on the Georgians season at Historic Royal Palaces, and taught at Queen Mary University of London, Oxford Brookes University, and Richmond, The American International University in London. With Stephanie Downes and Sarah Randles, she is co-editor of Feeling Things: Objects and Emotions through History (OUP, 2018).


1  The Language of Love
2  Love Letters
3  Love Tokens
4  The Marketplace of Love
5  Romantic Suffering
6  Breach of Promise

Exhibition | Seeing the Divine: Pahari Painting of North India

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 19, 2018

Radha and Krishna Walking at Night, ca. 1775–80, Punjab Hills, Kingdom of Kangra or Guler
(New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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Press release for the exhibition:

Seeing the Divine: Pahari Painting of North India
The Met Fifth Avenue, New York, 22 December 2018 — 21 July 2019

Curated by Kurt Behrendt

Starting December 22, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present an exhibition focusing on early painting styles that emerged in the Pahari courts of North India during the 17th and 18th centuries. Featuring some 20 of the most refined paintings produced in South Asia during the period, Seeing the Divine: Pahari Painting of North India will examine the innovative ways in which Pahari artists depicted the Hindu gods. By juxtaposing devotional images with emotionally charged narrative moments, the paintings gave royal patrons a novel approach to forging a personal connection with the divine through devotion (bhakti). Highlights include a rare, early 19th-century temple banner measuring 26 feet that is being shown publicly for the first time. The majority of the works on view are recent promised gifts of Steven Kossak, and they transform The Met’s ability to showcase 17th- to 18th-century North Indian painting of the highest caliber.

Working mostly in miniatures and large-format folios, Pahari artists employed remarkably innovative vocabularies. They often depicted god as a child, a lover, a terrible protector, or even a personal vision. Famous narratives such as the Ramayana and the Gita Govinda (Song of Govinda) had tremendous appeal at the Pahari courts, and the exhibition will include folios that reference both. The Monkey Leader Angada Steals Ravana’s Crown from His Fortress (ca. 1725), a folio from the Ramayana (the story of Rama’s quest to save his beloved Sita from the demon Ravana), is attributed to the master painter Manaku (active ca. 1725–60). Radha and Krishna Walking at Night (ca. 1775–80), a folio from the Gita Govinda, depicts Krishna’s emotionally charged interactions with Radha—here, the artist contrasts her solitude and longing with erotically charged encounters to emphasize the idea of unity between god and devotee.

The impressive temple banner recounts the complex story of Krishna’s rescue and marriage to his first wife, Rukmini, as well as dramatic scenes of Krishna and his many followers fighting a heroic battle in the Himalayan foothills—a battle that represents the great conflict between gods and demons to restore cosmic order.

The exhibition is organized by Kurt Behrendt, Associate Curator of the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is made possible by The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation.


Call for Papers | Asia-Oceania and the French-Speaking World

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 19, 2018

From H-ArtHist:

Asia-Oceania and the French-Speaking World
University of Hong Kong, 5–6 July 2019

Proposals due by 15 February 2019

Organized by the University of Hong Kong (China) and Laval University (Canada)

The conference will be held in English or French (20-minute papers), addressing a different topic each day (see below). The deadline for applications is the 15th of February 2019. Please email fknothe@hku.hk for the ‘China in Text and Image’ workshop and Guillaume.Pinson@lit.ulaval.ca for the ‘Press’ workshop.

China in Text and Image: Documentary Writing and Art Objects in the Early Modern Era
Friday, 5 July 2019

We invite applications for 20-minute papers presenting original research on either the reception of China in France in written reports or the adaptation of China in France in objects and architecture during the 17th to the 19th centuries. We encourage colleagues in French and comparative literature, anthropology, history and art history to apply, and welcome inter-disciplinary subjects. Our ambition is to publish the papers following the conference to add to the existing scholarship on our topics a group of solidly researched essays on France-China relations and newly explored cross-cultural studies.

The French-Speaking Press of the 19th Century in the Asia-Oceania Region
Saturday, 6 July 2019

As part of the Media 19 project on the literary history of the 19th-century French-language press and the Transfopress network on the foreign-language press, the second day of our conference will focus on the French-language press in the Asia-Oceania region (China, Japan, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, etc.). Presentations will include the development of local newspapers and the history of Francophone migration, relations with France, etc. The period under consideration will focus on the 19th century, with the possibility of excursions into the first half of the 20th century. Papers will be considered for contribution to the establishment of a world history of the French-speaking press in the 19th century, under the direction of Diana Cooper Richet and Guillaume Pinson.

New Book | The Architecture of Art History

Posted in books by Editor on December 18, 2018

From Bloomsbury:

Mark Crinson and Richard Williams, The Architecture of Art History: A Historiography (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 168 pages, ISBN: 9781350020917, $82.

What is the place of architecture in the history of art? Why has it been at times central to the discipline, and at other times seemingly so marginal? What is its place now?

Many disciplines have a stake in the history of architecture—sociology, anthropology, human geography, to name a few. This book deals with perhaps the most influential tradition of all—art history—examining how the relation between the disciplines of art history and architectural history has waxed and waned over the last one hundred and fifty years.

In this highly original study, Mark Crinson and Richard J. Williams point to a decline in the importance attributed to the role of architecture in art history over the last century—which has happened without crisis or self-reflection. The book explores the problem in relation to key art historical approaches, from formalism, to feminism, to the social history of art, and in key institutions from the Museum of Modern Art, to the journal October. Among the key thinkers explored are Banham, Baxandall, Giedion, Panofsky, Pevsner, Pollock, Riegl, Rowe, Steinberg, Wittkower and Wölfflin. The book will provoke debate on the historiography and present state of the discipline of art history, and it makes a powerful case for the reconsideration of architecture.

Mark Crinson is Professor of Art History at the University of Manchester, where he teaches on the history of modern architecture and photography. He won the 2004 Spiro Kostof Prize for his work Modern Architecture and the End of Empire, and the 2012 Historians of British Art Prize for Stirling and Gowan: Architecture from Austerity to Affluence.

Richard Williams is Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures at the University of Edinburgh. He has written and edited several books, including Regenerating Culture and Society (2011) and After Modern Sculpture (2000), and is a frequent contributor to The Times Higher on architecture and urbanism related topics.


1  The German Tradition
2  The Architectural Unconscious — Steinberg and Baxandall
3  Modernism- Institutional and Phenomenal
4  From Image to Environment — Reyner Banham’s Architecture
5  The New Art History
October’s Architecture

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