Print Quarterly, March 2021

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on March 12, 2021

Marco Carloni, Franciszek Smuglewicz, and Vincenzo Brenna, plate nine from Vestigia delle Terme di Tito e Loro Interne Pitture, 1776–78, hand-coloured etching (London: The British Museum).

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The eighteenth century in the latest issue of Print Quarterly:

Print Quarterly 38.1 (March 2021)


Francesca Guglielmini, “Ludovico Mirri’s Vestigia and Publishing in Eighteenth-Century Rome”, pp. 29–49.

This article is a detailed study of the publishing activities and business model of the erudite antiquarian, art dealer and print publisher Ludovico Mirri (1738–1786). His ambitious project Vestigia delle Terme di Tito e Loro Interne Pitture (The Remains of the Baths of Titus and Their Paintings) is discussed in detail alongside eight previous unpublished images of hand-coloured etchings of grotesque wall decorations taken from antique ruins in Rome and surroundings, now in the British Museum, here proposed as an extension of the original Vestigia. Four appendices contain a compilation of uncoloured and coloured impressions of the Vestigia etchings; a description of the contents of the Vestigia and Giuseppe Carletti’s accompanying booklet; known copies of the Vestigia in public collections; and a list of supplementary plates, including those eight mentioned in the British Museum collection.

David Stoker, “The Marshall Family’s Print Publishing Business”, pp. 50–63.

This article explores the little researched late activities of the Dicey print publishing business which was run by members of the Marshall family into the nineteenth century after Cluer Dicey (1715–1775) retired in 1770. The article discusses various publications produced by each member of the Marshall family, from Dicey’s partner Richard Marshall (d. 1779) to his grandson John II Marshall (b. 1793).

N O T E S  A N D  R E V I E W S

Antony Griffiths, Review of The Lost Library of the King of Portugal (2019), pp. 72–74.

This review sheds light on new research uncovered about the lost library of John V, King of Portugal, specifically archival documents. A significant portion of this review tells the fascinating story of how orders were sent to the Portuguese ambassadors in various European capitals in 1724 for an impression of every available print in those countries. These indeed happened but the various volumes of prints disappeared in the cataclysm of 1755, except for three volumes representing British, French, and Italian prints which were rediscovered in recent decades.

Domenico Pino, “Anton Maria Zanetti II and Limited Editions in Venice, c. 1734,” pp. 74–76.

This note seeks to interpret a handwritten inscription found on the verso of a print by Anton Maria Zanetti the Younger (1706–1778) in the British Museum. The inscription provides important evidence on early exploitation of limited editions in printmaking among the Zanetti clan and their contemporaries.

Antoinette Friedenthal, Review of La vita come opera d’arte: Anton Maria Zanetti e le sue collezioni (2018), pp. 108–14.

This review of an exhibition catalogue exploring Anton Maria Zanetti the Elder (1680–1767) offers an overview of his intellectual and artistic interests. His admiration for Parmigianino is discussed in detail, as well as his own reconstruction of the technique of chiaroscuro woodcuts. The review concludes with a few paragraphs on his forays into publishing.

Online Lecture | Women Artists at the Court of Catherine the Great

Posted in conferences (to attend), online learning by Editor on March 11, 2021

From the lecture series Collecting Art in Imperial Russia, organized by Princeton’s REEES program:

Polly Blakesley, Power and Paint: The Patronage of Women Artists at the Court of Catherine II
Online, Thursday, 18 March 2021, 12.00–1.30pm (ET)

Catherine the Great’s passion for the arts served a vital role in her efforts to position herself as a paragon of the Enlightenment. With avaricious focus she snaffled celebrated art collections from under the noses of other European rulers, while the quest to establish professional artists led her to champion Russia’s new Academy of Arts. This lecture considers the role that women artists played in Catherine’s pursuit of her artistic ambitions, and the dynamic ways in which they energized Russian cultural life.

Catherine’s far-sighted patronage propelled renowned painters such as Angelica Kauffman to new heights. Just as important were the empress’s relations with lesser-known artists, among them the troubled painter Anna Dorothea Therbusch-Lisiewska and Catherine’s daughter-in-law Maria Fedorovna, who sculpted accomplished cameos and objets de vertu. With stories of extraordinary artistic endeavour, this lecture places these and other artists centre stage at one of Europe’s most thrilling courts.

Registration is available here»

Rosalind Polly Blakesley is Professor of Russian and European Art at the University of Cambridge and co-founder of the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre. She has served on the boards of various museums and galleries, among them the National Portrait Gallery in London, where she curated the acclaimed exhibition Russia and the Arts and advised on its partner exhibition at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Other collaborations around the world include an exhibition of works by women artists from the Hermitage that took place at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. in 2003. Blakesley’s many books include The Russian Canvas: Painting in Imperial Russia (2016), which was awarded the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize and The Art Newspaper Russia Best Book Award. She currently holds a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for her new project, Russia, Empire and the Baltic Imagination. In 2017 Blakesley was awarded the Pushkin Medal by the Russian Federation for services to Anglo-Russian relations and Russian art. Blakesley is a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, London; a Syndic of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; and serves on the advisory councils of the Hamilton Kerr Institute and Kettle’s Yard Gallery, as well as the advisory boards of academic journals and professional associations.

In Memoriam | Wilhelmina Cole Holladay (1922–2021)

Posted in museums, obituaries, on site by Editor on March 10, 2021

Press release (8 March 2021) from the NMWA:

Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, who founded the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the first and only museum solely dedicated to championing women through the arts, died on Saturday, 6 March 2021, at the age of 98 in Washington, D.C. Against tremendous odds and with dedication, drive, and a singular vision, Holladay created a museum to help alleviate the underrepresentation of women artists in museums and galleries worldwide.

“For nearly 40 years, Wilhelmina Holladay has been the guiding light of our museum,” said Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “Mrs. Holladay knew the power of art and the importance of women in art and in the world. Her foresight in recognizing women artists of the past and championing women artists of the present by creating a new museum was visionary—even revolutionary—for the time. Her actions signaled a major shift in our thinking about art and society, and it is her genius and purpose we carry forward with us today.”

Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, A Museum of Their Own: National Museum of Women in the Arts (New York: Abbeville Press, 2008).

“Wilhelmina, ‘Billie’ as she was known to her friends, believed deeply in philanthropy and volunteerism,” said Board Vice-Chair and daughter-in-law Winton Smoot Holladay. “Her leadership and generosity established the museum, and she worked tirelessly to create an important institution where women artists could fully participate in and shape the national and international cultural conversation. Her unwavering sense of purpose and her love of art enriched the lives of all who were privileged to work alongside her.”

Holladay’s interest in art by women began in the 1970s, when she and her husband Wallace traveled widely to visit museums and galleries. They were particularly drawn to a painting they saw in Vienna, a 1594 still life by Flemish artist Clara Peeters. They saw additional paintings by Peeters at the Prado in Madrid. When Holladay attempted to learn more about the artist, she could find no information on Peeters—or any other female artist—in the standard art history textbook, H. W. Janson’s History of Art. Astonished by this discovery, the Holladays began to search for work by other women artists.

By the 1980s, the Holladay collection had grown to approximately 500 works by 150 artists, from the Renaissance to contemporary times. In addition to artwork, the Holladays kept an archive of catalogues, books, photographs, and biographical information on women artists. Nancy Hanks, then head of the National Endowment for the Arts, encouraged the Holladays to consider establishing a museum, and Holladay focused her considerable organizational and fundraising skills in this direction.

NMWA was incorporated in 1981, and for the next six years, Holladay opened her residence to the public for tours, traveled extensively to garner support for her idea, raised more than $20 million from public and private sources, purchased and renovated a historic building to house the collection, and donated her personal collection and library to the museum. On 7 April 1987, Barbara Bush, wife of the then-Vice President, cut the ribbon to open the museum in a 1907 Renaissance revival landmark building located two blocks from the White House.

NMWA’s collection has grown to include more than 5,500 works by approximately 1,000 artists, such as Louise Bourgeois, Mary Cassatt, Judy Chicago, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Faith Ringgold, and Élizabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun. Special exhibitions have included premier solo showings of work by Camille Claudel (19th-century French), Remedios Varo (20th-century Mexican), Lavinia Fontana (16th-century Italian) and Carrie Mae Weems (contemporary American). The diversity of women’s artistic creativity has been showcased in exhibitions featuring treasures from the Hermitage, pottery by American Indians, theatrical creations by Julie Taymor, representations of the Virgin Mary in Western art, abstract art by Black women artists, and work by emerging artists in the museum’s signature Women to Watch series. These exhibitions have broadened the art historical canon to be more open and inclusive.

The museum is also a leader in online content and arts education, serving the local community through outreach to D.C. public and private charter schools as well as developing an arts education model for schools nationwide. NMWA’s Women, Arts, and Social Change public program initiative offers a platform for speakers and attendees to advance ideas and solutions to society’s most pressing issues—especially those affecting women and girls—and inspires action in the arts and beyond. NMWA also publishes a triennial magazine, serves as a center for the performing and literary arts, and maintains one of the foremost repositories of documents and materials on women artists.

In over 35 years, the museum’s budget has grown to $11 million, and the full-time staff numbers 50. NMWA members and donors—nearly 13,000 strong—come from all over the United States and 21 other countries. Its network of national and international committees has 25 outreach groups with more than 3,000 dedicated members throughout the United States and around the world, including Chile, France, Peru, and the United Kingdom. The committees host regional programs and serve as ambassadors for the museum.

Holladay was born on 10 October 1922, in Elmira, N.Y. She developed an early appreciation of art from her maternal grandmother. She earned a BA degree from Elmira College in 1944, studied art history at Cornell University, and completed postgraduate work in art history at the University of Paris in 1953–54. During World War II, Holladay worked in Washington, D.C., where she met her husband, an officer in the United States Navy. She worked as social secretary to Madame Chiang Kai-Shek from 1945 to 1948, but after the birth of her son Wallace Jr., she dedicated herself to volunteer projects.

In addition to serving as the museum’s chair of the board, Holladay was active in many other ventures, serving on the boards of the National Women’s Economic Alliance, the Adams National Bank, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the World Service Council of the YWCA, the American Academy in Rome, the United States Capitol Historical Society, the National Gallery of Art’s Collector’s Committee, and the International Women’s Forum. In recognition of her service, Holladay received the National Medal of Arts as well as diplomatic orders from France and Norway. She also was regularly listed as one of the most powerful women in Washington, D.C. and received a lifetime achievement award from the District of Columbia. Among Holladay’s other awards for her service to women include induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, a lifetime achievement award from the Women’s Caucus for Art, the Women Who Make a Difference Award from the International Women’s Forum, and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the National League of American Pen Women. She received honorary doctorate degrees from four colleges.

Holladay was predeceased by a son, Scott Cole Holladay and her husband, Wallace F. Holladay. Holladay is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Wallace ‘Hap’ Holladay Jr. and Winton Holladay; four grandchildren, Brook Holladay Peters (Brian), Fitz Holladay, Jessica Holladay Sterchi (Louis), and Addison Holladay (Eliza); and nine great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be announced at a future date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions may be made to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

National Museum of Women in the Arts, at 1250 New York Avenue, NW in Washington, D.C. Built in 1908 as a Masonic Temple—to designs by Wood, Donn, and Deming—the Renaissance revival style building has been home to the NMWA for 34 years. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, 2008.

The French Porcelain Society’s Online Spring Symposium, 2021

Posted in conferences (to attend), online learning by Editor on March 9, 2021

From The French Porcelain Society:

Ceramics & Wanderlust: Curators & Castles
The French Porcelain Society’s Online Spring Symposium, 13–14 March 2021

Wanderlust, our need to travel to study ceramic collections in museums and castles throughout Europe and Britain, is at the heart of the French Porcelain Society’s educational activities. It has been over a year since our last visit to France and our next visit may not be for several months. In order to share the pleasure of exploration, comradery, and discovery associated with these trips, Patricia Ferguson with the help of Félix Zorzo and other members of the French Porcelain Society committee have organised a two-day virtual symposium on the 13th and 14th of March. From the recently installed porcelain cabinet at the Château de Versailles to the stunning Porzellankabinett in Schloss Charlottenburg, as well as state, royal, and aristocratic collections from Lisbon, Kassel, and Colonial Williamsburg, their directors and curators have enthusiastically agreed to be part of our programme. We are extremely grateful to the knowledgeable custodians of some of our favourite castles and country houses, who have captured private tours for our global audience on video. Each unique and very personal tour has been pre-recorded, but there will be a live Q&A panel at the end of each day led by Dr. Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth.

Please do join us; the two-day symposium is free and open to all. For any questions, contact FPSenquiries@gmail.com. Please note that the programme is subject to change. Free links to the webinar are available here.

S A T U R D A Y ,  1 3  M A R C H  2 0 2 1

16:00–18:30, UK GMT

Introduction — Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth
• Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, Lisbon — Cristina Neiva Correia, Conservadora
• Château de Versailles — Marie-Laure de Rochebrune, Conservateur en chef
• Schloss Wilhelmshöhe — Martin Eberle, Direktor, Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel
• Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel — Xenia Schürmann, Curatorial Assistant
Panel discussion

S U N D A Y ,  1 4  M A R C H  2 0 2 1

16:00–18:30, UK GMT

Introduction — Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth
• Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia — Angelika R. Kuettner, Associate Curator of Ceramics and Glass, and Janine Skerry, Senior Curator of Metals
• Waddesdon Manor — Mia Jackson, Curator of Decorative Arts
• Charlottenburg, Neues Palais and Belvedere — Samuel Wittwer, Direktor der Schlösser und Sammlungen, Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg
Panel discussion

Online Seminars | O Gosto neoclássico: A Dimensão americana

Posted in conferences (to attend), lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on March 9, 2021

I’m sorry for not posting news of these seminars much sooner. CH

O Gosto neoclássico — A Dimensão americana: instituições, atores e obras
Online, 8–22 March 2021

O seminário O Gosto neoclássico — A Dimensão americana: instituições, atores e obras será realizado de 8 a 22 de março de 2021, às 2ª-feiras e 4ª-feiras, às 15h, em transmissão remota. É promoção do grupo de pesquisa “O gosto neoclássico”, conduzido pela Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa e o leU/Prourb/FAU/UFRJ, com o apoio do Instituto Rui Barbosa de Altos Estudos – IRbae.

O evento dá continuidade a uma agenda sistemática de discussões públicas sobre arte, arquitetura, cidade e cultura sob o impacto da circulação das ideias neoclássicas no período compreendido entre o final do século XVIII e meados do XIX. Já foram discutidas temáticas relativas aos contextos brasileiro, português e francês. Em 2021, propõe-se uma pauta ainda inédita e que permita uma visão articulada e comparada sobre o fenômeno também nas Américas.

O Gosto neoclássico — A dimensão americana, se organiza em cinco sessões compostas por palestras e mesas redondas com especialistas brasileiros e estrangeiros. As palestras serão voltadas para aspectos da questão no México, França, Brasil, Portugal, Estados Unidos e Caribe. As mesas-redondas irão enfocar quatro eixos principais: as questões de ensino das artes nas academias: visões estéticas, padrões de gosto e formas de transmissão; mudanças e permanências nas culturas acadêmicas; as práticas projetuais e construtivas e o campo das visualidades, suas inovações e continuidades. O encerramento se dará com uma palestra concerto em torno das questões da música no período.

O evento será coordenado por Ana Pessoa (FCRB) e Margareth Pereira (leU/Prourb/UFRJ) e organizado por Ana Lúcia V. Santos (EAU/UFF), Karolyna Koppke (PROARQ-UFRJ/Ibmec RJ), Luiza Xavier (leU/Prourb/UFRJ), Ornella Savini (PIC-FCRB/CNPq). Arte e diagramação: Luiza Xavier (leU/Prourb/UFRJ). Fotografia: Ana Claudia P. Torem.

O seminário ocorrerá através da plataforma Zoom.

8  M A R C H  2 0 2 1

15.00 (BRT) Palestra
• Kelly Donahue-Wallace (CVAD-UNT, EUA), Good Taste within Reach: The Mexican Medals of Jerónimo Antonio Gil

16.00 (BRT) Mesa Redonda
• Renata Baesso (PUC-Campinas), O lugar do gosto, do gênio e da invenção nas preceptivas arquitetônicas
• Elaine Dias (UNIFESP), François-René Moreaux na Galeria e Escola de Pintura: a exposição da coleção italiana e a afirmação do artista
• Sonia Gomes Pereira (EBA-UFRJ), A Academia Imperial de Belas Artes e a longa duração da tradição clássica

1 0  M A R C H  2 0 2 1

15.00 (BRT) Palestra
• Jean Philippe Garric (Univ.Paris 1-França), Grandjean de Montigny et la polychromie architecturale à l’école de Percier

16.00 (BRT) Mesa Redonda
• Maria Luiza Zanatta (UFSM), O “tratado das ordens” de Vignola em S. Paulo: do Neoclassicismo ao Ecletismo
• Gustavo Rocha-Peixoto (PROARQ-UFRJ), Uma questão de gosto
• Karolyna Koppke (PROARQ-UFRJ/Ibmec RJ), A urbe imaginada: a Academia e o projeto para os paços Imperial e do Senado

1 5  M A R C H  2 0 2 1

15.00 (BRT) Palestra
• Margareth da Silva Pereira (PROURB-UFRJ), A ressignificação da ideia de arquitetura: A cena americana e a educação dos sentidos

16.00 (BRT) Mesa Redonda
• Ana Lucia V. dos Santos (EAU-UFF), A casa do Passeio – estudo de um edifício residencial de Grandjean de Montigny
• José Pessôa (PPGAU-UFF), A Praça Municipal de Grandjean de Montigny
• Nelson Pôrto (DAU/UFES), Os engenheiros e o neoclassicismo

1 7  M A R C H  2 0 2 1

15.00 (BRT) Palestra
• Helder Carita (FCSH-UNL), Neoclassicismo tardio em Portugal: da arquitectura às artes decorativas

16.00 (BRT) Mesa Redonda
• Paulo Knauss (UFF), O desafio da pedra: o gosto neoclássico e a escultura no Brasil
• Ana Pessoa (PPGMA/FCRB) e Ornella Savini (PIC/FCRB), Uma arcádia tropical? Vassouras, RJ, sec. XIX
• Júlio Bandeira (BN/MTur), Do Capitão Carlos Julião a Mauricio Rugendas, a camisola neoclássica no Brasil

2 2  M A R C H  2 0 2 1

15.00 (BRT) Palestras
• Dell Upton (AH-UCLA, CASVA/NGA), Politics of Neoclassicism in the United States
• Paul Niell (AH-FSU, USA), No Taste for Thatching: Value, Aesthetics, and Urban Reform in the Bohíos of Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico

16.20 (BRT) Palestra-Concerto
• Rosana Lanzelotte (Musica Brasilis), Clássica: a nova música


Exhibition | The Great Divide: Footwear in the Age of Enlightenment

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 8, 2021

Woman’s Shoe, 1730–40, English (Toronto: Bata Shoe Museum). One way working women acquired footwear was through the cast-off clothing given to them by the people they served. These ‘gifts’ would often be altered by the new wearer. This shoe originally had thin latchets that most likely were tied with a bow over the tongue but were updated to feature more fashionable straps by a later wearer.

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From the press release (12 August 2020) for the exhibition at Toronto’s BSM (the museum is currently closed, but stay tuned). And a very happy International Women’s Day to everyone!

The Great Divide: Footwear in the Age of Enlightenment
Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, 12 August 2020 — 28 February 2022

The Bata Shoe Museum is excited to announce its newest exhibition, The Great Divide: Footwear in the Age of Enlightenment. The first of three exhibitions in the museum’s 25th anniversary lineup, The Great Divide explores several timely issues from gender and race to imperialism and colonization. Featuring extraordinary 18th-century artefacts from the permanent collection, the exhibition highlights complex stories about privilege, oppression, danger, desire, revolution, and resistance that are as relevant today as they were 300 years ago.

The Age of Enlightenment was a period in European history from the end of the 17th to the end of the 18th century when Western philosophers and scientists wrestled with concepts of ‘human nature’ and ‘natural rights’. Some argued that all people had inherent social and political rights, but many more advocated for the reordering of social hierarchies using ‘scientific’ proof to divide people through the identification of ‘natural’ differences such as gender and race. Much of the oppression and imperialism that marked the period was supported by these ideas.

“Throughout the 18th century, Western fashion, including footwear, was central to the ‘naturalization’ of difference in Europe,” says Elizabeth Semmelhack, Creative Director and Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum. “Distinctions between men and women, children and adults, Europeans and ‘Others’ became increasingly codified through clothing. Yet, European fashion was also used to blur the lines between classes as social mobility and access to consumable goods grew as a result of imperialism.”

The exhibition was thoughtfully designed by the award-winning designers Arc + Co who focused on creating a space that engages with the powerful themes and issues of the 18th century explored in this gallery. With loans from Toronto’s Gardiner Museum, the design also includes a look at contemporary footwear, asking visitors to reflect on shoes and society today.

Highlights include:
• Moccasins said to have belonged to Myaamia leader Mishikinawa, also known as Little Turtle, who resisted the incursion into Myaami territory by delivering one of the worst defeats in U.S. history at the Battle of Wabash in 1791.
• Late 18th-century shoes that began as Indian jutti but were transformed into a pair of English women’s shoes that embody British Imperialism in India.
• An early 18th-century silver side-saddle stirrup made for a woman from a powerful colonial Spanish family in Peru. Roughly 85 percent of the world’s silver was mined by conscripted Indigenous people and imported enslaved Africans in Spanish-held South America.

Man’s Shoe, 1760–80, English (Toronto: Bata Shoe Museum). This shoe would have been used to express both gender and class. Its low heel conveyed that it was masculine and the expensive fabric and ostentatious bow conveyed that it was upper class. The use of pink might confuse us today, but in the 18th century pink was not gendered.


Call for Papers | Work, Rest, and Power

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 8, 2021

From the Call for Papers:

Work, Rest, and Power: Architecture, Space, and Political Life, 1500–1815
Online Workshop Hosted by the Humanities Research Centre at the University of York, 27 May 2021

Proposals due by 12 April 2021

Joseph Goupy, Sir Robert Walpole Addressing the Cabinet, 1723–42, drawing, 36 × 29 cm (London: The British Museum, 1920,0214.4).

This workshop explores the role of the home in politics and political life, taking a broad view to explore the lived space of political figures, materiality, and the role of women and the household. The workshop will commence with a keynote paper from Dr Manolo Guerci, University of Kent, before leading into a series of panel discussions and optional thematic breakout sessions for those who wish to continue the discussion.

Interested scholars are invited to submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by 12 April 2021. We are seeking abstracts that relate to the home as a political space, broadly conceived, in any place or time period within the early modern era. We welcome submissions from all scholars, but particularly encourage postgraduate and early career researchers.

Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:
• Definitions: what makes a home political?
• Homes of political figures or homes located in political institutions
• Political sociability
• Materiality, art, architecture, and archaeology
• The household: wives, family, and servants
• Uses of space: orientation, gendered space, public and private
• Town and country houses
• Social history of the home: class, economics, and ritual

Please submit abstracts and any questions via email to the organisers Kirsty Wright (kmw532@york.ac.uk) or Murray Tremellen (mat550@york.ac.uk). For further information, please see our website.


New Book | The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680–1790

Posted in books by Editor on March 7, 2021

(The cover for the British edition, from Allen Lane, looks much ‘happier’ to me.–CH). From Harper Collins:

Ritchie Robertson, The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680–1790 (New York: Harper, 2021), 1008 pages, ISBN: 978-0062410658, £40 / $45.

A magisterial history that recasts the Enlightenment as a period not solely consumed with rationale and reason, but rather as a pursuit of practical means to achieve greater human happiness.

One of the formative periods of European and world history, the Enlightenment is the fountainhead of modern secular Western values: religious tolerance, freedom of thought, speech and the press, of rationality and evidence-based argument. Yet why, over three hundred years after it began, is the Enlightenment so profoundly misunderstood as controversial, the expression of soulless calculation? The answer may be that, to an extraordinary extent, we have accepted the account of the Enlightenment given by its conservative enemies: that enlightenment necessarily implied hostility to religion or support for an unfettered free market, or that this was ‘the best of all possible worlds’. Ritchie Robertson goes back into the ‘long eighteenth century’, from approximately 1680 to 1790, to reveal what this much-debated period was really about.

Robertson returns to the era’s original texts to show that above all, the Enlightenment was really about increasing human happiness—in this world rather than the next—by promoting scientific inquiry and reasoned argument. In so doing Robertson chronicles the campaigns mounted by some Enlightened figures against evils like capital punishment, judicial torture, serfdom and witchcraft trials, featuring the experiences of major figures like Voltaire and Diderot alongside ordinary people who lived through this extraordinary moment.

In answering the question ‘What is Enlightenment?’ in 1784, Kant famously urged men and women above all to “have the courage to use your own intellect.” Robertson shows how the thinkers of the Enlightenment did just that, seeking a well-rounded understanding of humanity in which reason was balanced with emotion and sensibility. Drawing on philosophy, theology, historiography, and literature across the major western European languages, The Enlightenment is a master-class in big picture history about the foundational epoch of modern times.

Ritchie Robertson is Professor of German at Oxford University, a fellow of the British Academy, and a lead reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement.

Call for Papers | Buying Art and Antiquities in Eighteenth-Century Italy

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 6, 2021

From the Call for Papers, which also includes the Spanish version:

Buying Art and Antiquities in Eighteenth-Century Italy
La compra de arte y antigüedades en la Italia del siglo XVIII
Online and/or Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid, 4–5 November 2021

Proposals due by 31 May 2021

Jean-François Sablet, In the Antiquities Shop, Rome, 1788 (Private Collection)

The third meeting of the international conference series Transnational Relations and the Arts will address the issue of art and antiquities markets in eighteenth century. With the Grand Tour at its peak, men from all over Europe and beyond flooded into the cities of Italy, mainly Rome but also Naples, Venice, and Florence. These grand tourists fed an already flourishing art market and were also active agents of the spread of ancient marbles and vases, Old Master paintings, ancient coins, and medals back to their homelands, not to mention the diffusion of an international ‘buon gusto’ among the middling and upper classes.

We are interested in proposals that address any aspect related to this phenomenon. Especially welcome are cross-disciplinary contributions, proposals that deal with different cases studies in a comparative way, or studies focused in a city/country, as well as discussions around a particular period acquired at that period.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
• Commercial hubs
• Agents: merchants, clients, antiquarians, dealers, etc.
• Logistics of buying art in the eighteenth century
• Forgeries and fakes of antiquities
• Copies of Old Masters for profit
• Classical art collections in the eighteenth-century (from the individual object to the whole collection)

Scientific coordination
Pilar Diez del Corral Corredoira (Eighteenth Century), diezdelcorral@geo.uned.es
David Ojeda Nogales (Classical Antiquity), dojeda@geo.uned.es

Please submit your proposal and an abbreviated CV to both organizers by 31 May 2021. And do not hesitate to write with any questions you have related to your proposal; we will be happy to discuss the details with you. Depending upon health conditions, the conference may take place online, but we will try our best to host it in Madrid. In the event that the conference will proceed online, we will assist with any technical support you may need in order to give the paper as easily as possible. There are plans for publishing the outcomes as a volume of selected papers in a prestigious print and the contributions will go through a peer-review system.

Online Lecture | Wendy Wassyng Roworth on Angelica Kauffman

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on March 5, 2021

Dr. Roworth’s talk, originally slated for last spring in St. Louis, has been rescheduled for later this month; from the Saint Louis Art Museum:

Wendy Wassyng Roworth, Angelica Kauffman: An Enterprising Artist in 18th-Century Britain
Mary Strauss Women in the Arts Lecture, Saint Louis Art Museum
Online, 25 March 2021, noon–1 pm (CDT)

Angelica Kauffman, Woman in Turkish Dress, 1767, oil on canvas, 25 × 20 inches (Saint Louis Art Museum, Funds given by Dr. E. Robert and Carol Sue Schultz 704.2018).

Angelica Kauffman (1741–1807) was an Austrian-Swiss artist who began her career in Italy, where her clients included British tourists who encouraged the young painter to pursue her profession in England. Over the 15 years she worked in London, Kauffman achieved fame and fortune and returned to Italy as an international celebrity. This lecture celebrates a portrait recently acquired by the Museum. Wendy Wassyng Roworth will discuss Kauffman’s life and work in England as a fashionable painter and member of the Royal Academy of Arts, a rare distinction for a woman, and how the artist used her talents to her advantage.

Wendy Wassyng Roworth is Professor Emerita of Art History, University of Rhode Island.

This free, virtual program will take place on Thursday, 25 March 2021, via Zoom, and will include opportunities for participants to ask questions with the Q&A feature. Attendees’ mics and cameras will not be activated. Attendees must register to receive the Zoom link. Capacity for the live program is limited. A closed-captioned recording of the program will become available on the Museum’s YouTube channel in the weeks following. This program is supported by the Mary Strauss Women in the Arts Endowment.


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