Enfilade

Exhibition | Turner: Quest for the Sublime

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 23, 2020

J.M.W. Turner, Small Boats beside a Man-o’-War, 1796–97, gouache and watercolor on paper, 14 × 24 inches
(Tate: Turner Bequest 1856)

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Press release for the exhibition now on view at the Frist Art Museum:

J.M.W. Turner: Quest for the Sublime
Frist Art Museum, Nashville, 20 February — 31 May 2020

The Frist Art Museum presents J.M.W. Turner: Quest for the Sublime, an exhibition of extraordinary oil paintings, luminous watercolors, and evocative sketches by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), a central figure in the Romantic movement widely recognized as Britain’s greatest painter and among the most highly regarded landscape painters in Western art. Selected from Tate’s Turner Bequest and organized in cooperation with Tate, the exhibition made its sole U.S. appearance in the Frist’s Ingram Gallery from February 20 through May 31, 2020.

Long admired for his ingenuity, originality, and passion, Turner strove to convey human moods and the feeling of awe aroused by nature’s immensity and power—its palpable atmospheres, pulsating energy, the drama of storms and disasters, and the transcendent effect of pure light. With approximately 75 works, the exhibition conveys highlights in the British painter’s career from the 1790s to the late 1840s, from dizzying mountain scenes and stormy seascapes to epic history paintings and mysterious views of Venice.

The Romantic movement of the late 18th- through mid-19th centuries arose in response to the Enlightenment emphasis on reason over emotion. “For Turner, psychological expression and the liberation of the imagination were of paramount importance,” says David Blayney Brown, senior curator, 19th-century British art, Tate Britain. “He achieved these goals in images of the landscape that evoked human moods by portraying extreme contrasts of intense light and gloomy clouds, dramatic topographies, and energetic brushstrokes.”

Turner portrays climatic events not only as compelling forces by themselves, but also as settings and metaphor for historical and modern dramas. “Mountains and sea show the world in motion: the glacial creep of geological change in the Alps, the sudden fall of a rock propelled by an avalanche, the changing appearance of Mont Rigi according to time and weather, the swell and heave of the sea,” says Brown. Societal and technological changes are captured as well, with images of steamships and other suggestions of industry signaling the forthcoming machine age. The exhibition also includes elemental images of sea and sky, painted late in Turner’s life, which appear nearly abstract.

The concept of the Sublime was central to Romanticism. “As industrialization progressed, people gradually began to develop a longing for the awe-inspiring power and beauty of untouched nature and natural forces. Turner was able to cater to this interest in his landscape paintings,” says Brown.

Organized thematically, the exhibition begins by examining Turner’s early aptitude at landscape painting while attending the Royal Academy Schools. Works in the section show his masterly adaptation of early influences and the first instances of what would become a lifelong habit of summer touring across Europe to make sketches and studies, which he would later make into studio paintings.

The next sections include Turner’s first impressions of the mountains, glaciers, and lakes of the Swiss Alps. “Turner’s early scenes of Switzerland and Italy are often somber or stormy in mood and coloring, reflecting a region that was as unstable politically as it was in its geology and climate,” says Brown. “In later works, he communicates a sense of rapture and harmony that may be related to the return of peace to Europe after the Napoleonic Wars.”

Other sections provide insight into Turner’s process and working methods by exploring sketchbook studies, works in progress, and watercolors at various stages of completion. The exhibition concludes with a section devoted to Turner’s fascination with the sea. “As time passes, there is a progression from a more substantial, three-dimensional style to one that is more impressionistic and less solid,” says Brown. “In these often-unfinished paintings, Turner stripped away subject and narrative to capture the pure energy of air, light, and water.”

Lecture | Steven Parissien, On George IV and the Horse

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 23, 2020

George Stubbs, George IV, when Prince of Wales, detail, 1791, oil on canvas, 103 × 128 cm
(Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 400142)

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In connection with the exhibition George IV: Art & Spectacle now on view at Buckingham Palace:

Steven Parissien, George IV and the Horse
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 26 February 2020

One of George IV’s greatest passions was horseracing. In this lunchtime lecture, Steven Parissien, Chief Executive of Palace House, Newmarket, examines the ways in which George utilised the image of the thoroughbred horse to define and bolster his royal image. 13:00–14:00

Summer Course | From Print to Paint

Posted in opportunities by Editor on February 23, 2020

From ArtHist.net:

From Print to Paint: Histories and Methods of Artistic Production
Utrecht, 13–17 July 2020

Applications due by 1 April 2020

How do artists master their art? Does painting in oil result in different working procedures and visual effects compared to other media? Which material and technical properties determine the creative possibilities of prints, sculptures, and the applied arts? What can art historians learn from re-making art, re-working historical recipes, or reproducing material objects? This course will immerse you in discussions related to art production and (re-)making, materials and materiality, and techniques and technology.

This course is highly interactive and has a firm hands-on component. It integrates methods typical for the humanities and historical disciplines with practical work in the studio or lab. At one moment you may find yourself decoding a recipe for writing ink in a historical manuscript; at another moment you might be introduced to the practicalities of the printing press. During one lab session you might be mixing pigment with different binding media to make oil and tempera paint, and on the next day you might be working with fire to cast a small metal object. You will benefit from Utrecht University’s Kunstlab and the research and expertise of the ERC-funded research project ARTECHNE. Upon completion, you will have deepened your knowledge in the artistic production of art with insights from recent developments in technical art history and heritage studies. This is the one-week version of the course. You can also choose to participate in the extended version (two weeks) that includes visits to museums throughout the Netherlands.

Lecturers
Jessie Wei-Hsuan Chen (main lecturer), Sven Dupré (guest speaker), Mireille Cornelis (guest speaker)

Target audience
Students who wish to take this course should have some academic training, as there will be substantial readings and intensive discussions. This course is also suitable for MA and PhD students who wish to apply historical remaking as a methodology and learn practical skills, as no previous experience in artistic production and making is required.

Course fee for the one-week version
€650 (included: course + course materials)
Housing fee: €200

Course fee for the extended version
€1150 (included: course + course materials + travel costs and entry fees to site visits)
Housing fee: €350

Housing through Utrecht Summer School. Summer school housing is optional. Students can also choose to arrange their own accommodation.

How to apply?
Please include a brief motivation to introduce who you are and why you want to take this course. This is to help the instructors learn the level of experience to better plan the lab sessions. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. As there is limited space in the lab, interested participants are advised to apply as soon as possible.

More information
Please contact the Course Director and ARTECHNE Project Associate Jessie Wei-Hsuan Chen at w.h.chen@uu.nl.