New Book | Auld Greekie: Edinburgh as the Athens of the North

Posted in books by Editor on December 5, 2022

From Fonthill Media:

Iain Gordon Brown, Auld Greekie: Edinburgh as the Athens of the North (Fonthill Media, 2022), 368 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1781558928, £30.

Around the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and especially in the years between about 1810 and 1840, Edinburgh—long and affectionately known as ‘Auld Reekie’—came to think of itself and to be widely regarded as something else. The city became ‘Modern Athens’, an epithet later turned to ‘the Athens of the North’. The latter phrase is very well-known. It is also much used by those who have little understanding of the often confused and contradictory messages hidden within the apparent convenience of a trite or hackneyed term that actually conceals a myriad of nuanced meanings.

This book examines the circumstances underlying a remarkable change in perception of a place and an age. It looks in detail at the ‘when’, the ‘by whom’, the ‘why’, the ‘how’ and the ‘with what consequences’ (for good or ill) of this most interesting, and extremely complex, transformation of one city into an image—whether physical or spiritual, or both—of another. A very broad range of evidence is drawn upon, the story having not only topographical, artistic and architectural dimensions, but also social, cerebral and philosophical ones. Edinburgh may well have been considered, for one reason or another, as ‘Athenian’. But, in essence, it remained what it had always been. Maybe, however, for a brief period it was really a sort of hybrid city: ‘Auld Greekie’.

Iain Gordon Brown FSA FRSE, whose academic career began as a student of ancient history and classical archaeology, was principal curator of manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland, where he is now honorary fellow. He has held the office of curator of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s national academy, and has also been president of the Old Edinburgh Club and a trustee of Edinburgh World Heritage. He is consultant to the Adam Drawings Project at Sir John Soane’s Museum, London.

Print Quarterly, December 2022

Posted in books, catalogues, journal articles, reviews by Editor on December 4, 2022

The long eighteenth century in the latest issue of Print Quarterly:

Print Quarterly 39.4 (December 2022)


• Antony Griffiths and Giorgio Marini, “Some Italian Importers of British Prints in the 1780s,” pp. 412–22.

“There is little evidence of interest or awareness of British printmaking in Italy before the last quarter of the eighteenth century. In those years, however, things began to change with remarkable speed. The purpose of this article is to draw attention to five importers of British prints—Molini in Florence, Micali in Livorno (Leghorn), Montagnani in Rome, and Viero and Wagner, both in Venice—all of whom produced catalogues of their imported stock within the five years between 1785 and 1789. When considered as a group, these catalogues give evidence of how quickly dealers were able to import newly published stock and how varied tastes were in these years” (412).

N O T E S  A N D  R E V I E W S

• Giorgio Marini, Note of the exhibition catalogue Delfín Rodríguez Ruiz and Helena Pérez Gallardo, eds., Giovanni Battista Piranesi en la Biblioteca Nacional de España (Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid, 2019), pp. 444–46.

• Laurence Lhinares, Note on the Print Collection of Horace His de La Salle (1795–1878), occasioned by the exhibition Officier et Gentleman: La Collection Horace His de La Salle (Louvre, 2019–20) and the recent purchase by the Fondation Custodia of a copy of the 1856 sale catalogue of the collector’s prints, pp. 446–50.

• Paul Coldwell, Note on Elizabeth Jacklin, The Art of Print: Three Hundred Years of Printmaking (Tate, 2021), pp. 450–51.

• Rachel Sloan, Note on Kinga Bódi and Kata Bodor, eds., The Paper Side of Art: Eight Centuries of Drawings and Prints in the Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest (2021), pp. 451–52.

• Anne Leonard, Review of the exhibition catalogue, Rena Hoisington, Aquatint: From Its Origins to Goya (National Gallery of Art / Princeton University Press, 2021), pp. 466–71.

New Book | Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique

Posted in books by Editor on December 4, 2022

Published by Zone Books and distributed by Princeton UP:

Anthony Cascardi, Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique (New York: Zone Books), 376 pages, ISBN: 978-1942130697, $40 / £30.

Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique probes the relationship between the enormous, extraordinary, and sometimes baffling body of Goya’s work and the interconnected issues of modernity, Enlightenment, and critique. Taking exception to conventional views that rely mainly on Goya’s darkest images to establish his relevance for modernity, Cascardi argues that the entirety of Goya’s work is engaged in a thoroughgoing critique of the modern social and historical worlds, of which it nonetheless remains an integral part. The book reckons with the apparent gulf assumed to divide the Disasters of War and the so-called Black Paintings from Goya’s scenes of bourgeois life or from the well-mannered portraits of aristocrats, military men, and intellectuals. It shows how these apparent contradictions offer us a gateway into Goya’s critical practice vis-à-vis a European modernity typically associated with the Enlightenment values dominant in France, England, and Germany. In demonstrating Goya’s commitment to the project of critique, Cascardi provides an alternative to established readings of Goya’s work, which generally acknowledge the explicit social criticism evident in works such as the Caprichos but which have little to say about those works that do not openly take up social or political themes. In Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique, Cascardi shows how Goya was consistently engaged in a critical response to—and not just a representation of—the many different factors that are often invoked to explain his work, including history, politics, popular culture, religion, and the history of art itself.

Anthony J. Cascardi is the Sidney and Margaret Ancker Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of numerous books, including The Consequences of Enlightenment; Cervantes, Literature, and the Discourse of Politics; The Subject of Modernity; and The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and Philosophy.


1  Secularization and the Aesthetics of Belief
2  A Promise of Happiness?
3  Goya, Modernity, Aesthetic Critique
4  The Limits of Representation
5  Conflicts of the Faculties: Goya and Kant
6  Extremities
7  Freedom and the Face of Darkness
8  Beauty and Sympathy

Image Credits

The Burlington Magazine, November 2022

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on December 3, 2022

The eighteenth century in the November issue of The Burlington . . .

The Burlington Magazine 164 (November 2022) — Sculpture

Massimiliano Soldani Benzi, Lamentation over the Dead Christ, 1690–92(?), gilded bronze, 57 × 40 cm (Córdoba Cathedral).


• The Parthenon Sculptures, p. 1063.


• Fernando Loffredo, “Soldani’s Lamentation in Córdoba,” pp. 1118–22.


• Colin Bailey, Review of the exhibition catalogue, Renoir: Rococo Revival (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, 2022), pp. 1150–53.

• Joseph Connors, Review of Livio Pestilli, Bernini and His World: Sculpture and Sculptors in Early Modern Rome (Lund Humphries, 2022), pp. 1160–62. [Pestilli “mines the correspondence of the directors of the Académie de France and sorts through student drawings in the Accademia de San Luca to find that well into the eighteenth century Bernini was copied more than any other artist” (1162).]

• Jamie Mulherron, Review of Alexandre Maral and Valérie Carpentier-Vanhaberbeke, Antoine Coysevox (1640–1720): Le sculpteur du Grand Siècle (Arthena, 2020), pp. 1165–66.

• Hugo Chapman, Review of Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken, The Italian Drawings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in the Teyler Museum (Primavera Pers, 2021), pp. 1166–67.

• Christopher Martin Vogtherr, Review of Sarah Salomon, Die Kunst der Außenseiter: Ausstellungen und Künstlerkarrieren im absolutistischen Paris jenseits der Akademie (Wallstein Verlag, 2021), pp. 1167–68. [Salomon’s book focuses on four institutions: the Académie de Saint-Luc, the Colisée, the Salon de la Correspondence, and the Exposition de la Jeunesse.]

• Stephen Lloyd, Review of Magnus Olausson, Miniature Painting in the Nationalmuseum: A World-Class Collection (Nationalmuseum Stockholm, 2021), pp. 1168–70.


• Michael Hall, Obituary for Mark Girouard (1931–2022), pp. 1171–72.

New Book | The Moving Statues of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam

Posted in books by Editor on December 3, 2022

From Penn State UP:

Angela Vanhaelen, The Moving Statues of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam: Automata, Waxworks, Fountains, Labyrinths (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2022), 236 pages, ISBN: 978-0271091402 (hardcover), $115. Also available as an ebook, with a paperback edition scheduled for release in March 2023.

This book opens a window onto a fascinating and understudied aspect of the visual, material, intellectual, and cultural history of seventeenth-century Amsterdam: the role played by its inns and taverns, specifically the doolhoven.

Doolhoven were a type of labyrinth unique to early modern Amsterdam. Offering guest lodgings, these licensed public houses also housed remarkable displays of artwork in their gardens and galleries. The main attractions were inventive displays of moving mechanical figures (automata) and a famed set of waxwork portraits of the rulers of Protestant Europe. Publicized as the most innovative artworks on display in Amsterdam, the doolhoven exhibits presented the mercantile city as a global center of artistic and technological advancement. This evocative tour through the doolhoven pub gardens—where drinking, entertainment, and the acquisition of knowledge mingled in encounters with lively displays of animated artifacts—shows that the exhibits had a forceful and transformative impact on visitors, one that moved them toward Protestant reform.

Deeply researched and decidedly original, The Moving Statues of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam uncovers a wealth of information about these nearly forgotten public pleasure parks, situating them within popular culture, religious controversies, global trade relations, and intellectual debates of the seventeenth century.

Angela Vanhaelen is Professor of Art History at McGill University. She is the author of the award-winning book The Wake of Iconoclasm: Painting the Church in the Dutch Republic, also published by Penn State University Press.


List of Illustrations

1  The Closed Door: Walking In

Ritual Routes
2  The Courtyard Fountain: Bacchic Rites
3  Into the Labyrinth: Containing the Human Monster

The Moving Statue Strikes
4  Automata: Activating Human Behavior
5  Strange Things for Strangers: Transcultural Automata

Protestant Paganism
6  Wax Portraits: Body Politics
7  Time Machines in the Golden Age: The Kairos of Clockwork

Epilogue: Obsolescence




New Book | Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard (1780–1850)

Posted in books by Editor on November 30, 2022

From Arthena:

Rébecca Duffeix, with a preface by Barthélémy Jobert, Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard (1780–1850) (Paris: Arthena, 2022), 520 pages, ISBN: 978-2903239688, €135.

Reconnu jusqu’aux années 1830 comme un artiste majeur, Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard (1780–1850) a été injustement éclipsé au profit de son père, le célèbre Jean-Honoré.

Peintre d’Histoire en vogue, artiste ‘troubadour’, Alexandre-Évariste est un créateur au talent éclectique. Précoce—il présente son premier dessin au Salon à treize ans—il n’aura de cesse d’explorer avec succès tous les domaines : peinture, dessin, gravure et sculpture. Si ses scènes d’Histoire nationale—François Ier armé chevalier par Bayard, Jeanne d’Arc sur le bûcher ou La Bataille de Marignan—sont entrées dans notre imaginaire, Fragonard a également fourni de nombreux dessins pour des recueils de gravures, des modèles de formes et de décors pour la manufacture de Sèvres ou pour des costumes de l’Opéra. Fidèle aux leçons de son maître David, ‘Fragonard fils’, nous montre aussi ses dons de coloriste, aux effets de lumière audacieux et maîtrisés, hérités de son père, et ses évocations de Bradamante ou de la statue du commandeur de Dom Juan peuvent être qualifiées de romantiques.

Diplômée en Lettres modernes et docteur en Histoire de l’art à l’université Lumière Lyon 2, où elle a enseigné, Rebecca Duffeix a soutenu sa thèse en 2000 sur la vie et l’oeuvre d’Alexandre-Evariste Fragonard. Spécialiste de cet artiste, elle a notamment été commissaire de deux expositions qui lui ont été consacrées (Grasse en 2017 et Angoulême en 2020–21). Elle est actuellement en charge du centre de documentation et de la bibliothèque des musées Gadagne à Lyon.

New Book | James Gillray: A Revolution in Satire

Posted in books by Editor on November 30, 2022

From Yale UP:

Tim Clayton, James Gillray: A Revolution in Satire (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2022), 408 pages, ISBN: 978-1913107321, £50 / $65.

A lavishly illustrated biography of James Gillray, inventor of the art of political caricature

James Gillray (1756–1815) was late Georgian Britain’s funniest, most inventive and most celebrated graphic satirist and continues to influence cartoonists today. His exceptional drawing, matched by his flair for clever dialogue and amusing titles, won him unprecedented fame; his sophisticated designs often parodied artists such as William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, and Henry Fuseli, while he borrowed and wittily redeployed celebrated passages from William Shakespeare and John Milton to send up politicians in an age—as now—where society was fast changing, anxieties abounded, truth was sometimes scarce, and public opinion mattered.

Tim Clayton’s definitive biography explores Gillray’s life and work through his friends, publishers—the most important being women—and collaborators, aiming to identify those involved in inventing satirical prints and the people who bought them. Clayton thoughtfully explores the tensions between artistic independence, financial necessity, and the conflicting demands of patrons and self-appointed censors in a time of political and social turmoil.

Tim Clayton is a historian and writer. He is a specialist in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century history and culture and a leading authority on the printed images of that period.

New Book | Louis Lagrenée (1725–1805)

Posted in books by Editor on November 30, 2022

From Arthena:

Joseph Assémat-Tessandier, with a preface by Jan Blanc, Louis Lagrenée (1725–1805) (Paris: Arthena, 2022), 472 pages, ISBN: 978-2903239701, €99,

Peintre d’Histoire, à la belle carrière officielle, Louis Lagrenée (1725–1805) présente plus de 150 tableaux au Salon du Louvre de 1755 à 1789. Soulevant à plusieurs reprises l’enthousiasme de Diderot, sa peinture est appréciée des milieux financiers et aristocratiques, jusqu’à la Cour de Russie. Son succès au Salon de 1763 lui donne accès aux commandes pour les demeures royales. Il participe ensuite au programme d’encouragement de la peinture d’Histoire, organisé par le comte d’Angiviller de 1777 à 1789 (La Mort de la femme de Darius ou Les Deux Veuves d’un officier indien). De ses petits tableaux de cabinet (Vierge à l’Enfant, allégories ou scènes mythologiques) aux grands sujets inspirés de l’histoire ancienne (Annibal ayant trouvé le corps de Marcellus), son style épuré et raffiné au coloris délicat lui vaut le surnom d’ ‘Albane français’.

Les découvertes de ces dernières années (carnets de croquis, dessins préparatoires et réapparition d’oeuvres perdues), qui ont permis de doubler le corpus connu de Lagrenee l’aîné, ainsi différencié de son frère Jean-Jacques (1739–1821), apportent un nouvel éclairage sur son art, jalon précieux dans l’évolution de la peinture française vers le néoclassicisme naissant.

Joseph Assémat-Tessandier a soutenu en avril 2020 à l’université de Genève, sa thèse en histoire de l’art sur le peintre Louis Lagrenée. Diplômé de Sciences Po Paris et de l’Insead, il a travaillé auparavant dans des institutions financières américaine et française. Ses recherches se poursuivent à l’heure actuelle sur le peintre Jean-Jacques Lagrenée.

Exhibition | Promenades on Paper: 18th-C. French Drawings

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 29, 2022

From The Clark:

Promenades on Paper: 18th-Century French Drawings from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, 17 December 2022 — 12 March 2023

Curated by Esther Bell, Sarah Grandin, Anne Leonard, Corinne Le Bitouzé, Pauline Chougnet, and Chloé Perrot

François-Joseph Bélanger, The Garden of Beaumarchais, 1788, watercolor and pen and ink (Bibliothèque nationale de France).

In partnership with the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), the Clark is organizing the first exhibition of the library’s eighteenth-century French drawings. The selection of eighty-six enchanting studies, architectural plans, albums, sketchbooks, prints, and optical devices expands our understanding of drawing as a tool of documentation and creation in the age of Enlightenment, spanning the domains of natural history, current events, theater design, landscape, and portraiture. Displayed together, these objects immerse audiences in the world of eighteenth-century France—a world shaped by invention, erudition, and spectacle. Works by celebrated artists of the period such as François Boucher (1703–1770) and Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (1724–1780) are featured alongside exquisite drawings by lesser-known practitioners, including talented women, royal children, and visionary architects.

Promenades on Paper: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France is co-organized by the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. It is curated by Esther Bell, Deputy Director and Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Chief Curator; Sarah Grandin, Clark-Getty Curatorial Fellow; and Anne Leonard, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from the Clark, and by Corinne Le Bitouze, Conservateur général; Pauline Chougnet, Conservateur en charge des dessins; and Chloé Perrot, Conservateur des bibliothèques from the Bibliothèque nationale.

This exhibition is made possible by Jessie and Charles Price. Major funding is provided by Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie Eveillard, the Getty Foundation through its Paper Project initiative, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The exhibition catalogue is made possible by Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Esther Bell, Pauline Chougnet, Sarah Grandin, Charlotte Guichard, Corinne Le Bitouzé, Anne Leonard, and Meredith Martin, Promenades on Paper: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from the Bibliotheque nationale de France (Williamstown: Clark Art Institute, 2023), 272 pages, ISBN: 978-0300266931, $50.


New Book | La légèreté et le grave

Posted in books by Editor on November 29, 2022

From Passés Composés:

Cécile Berly, La légèreté et le grave: Une histoire du XVIIIe siècle en tableaux (Paris: Passés Composés, 2021), 150 pages, ISBN: 978-2379334009, €24.

Le XVIIIe siècle s’ouvre avec Le Pèlerinage à l’île de Cythère d’Antoine Watteau et s’achève avec La Mort de Marat de Jacques-Louis David : la naissance de la fête galante versus l’agonie d’un tribun révolutionnaire. Deux chefs-d’œuvre qui illustrent la légèreté et la gravité d’un siècle, deux facettes antagonistes mais complémentaires d’une même époque.

Les dix œuvres ici racontées sont ainsi autant de jalons pour saisir ce siècle passionnant dans ses innombrables contradictions : elles correspondent toutes à un moment du XVIIIe et disent son histoire artistique, culturelle, philosophique, sociale, économique et, bien évidemment, politique. Autant de chefs-d’œuvre qui ont forgé une société nouvelle, éprise de liberté, d’indépendance et de transgressions, au fil d’un siècle qui, sous la plume sensible de Cecile Berly, oscille sans cesse entre une légèreté savamment entretenue et une gravité qui confine au drame.

Historienne, spécialiste du XVIIIe siècle, Cécile Berly a publié plusieurs ouvrages sur Marie-Antoinette. Elle a également présenté et annoté la correspondance de Madame de Pompadour, et est l’auteure des Femmes de Louis XV et de Trois femmes: Madame du Deffand, Madame Roland, Madame Vigée Le Brun.

%d bloggers like this: