Enfilade

New Book | Meltdown!

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 22, 2021

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Accompanying the exhibition Fortune and Folly in 1720 (scheduled to open at the New York Public Library in September), the related publication is now available from Brepols:

Madeleine Viljoen, Nina Dubin and Meredith Martin, Meltdown! Picturing the World’s First Bubble Economy (Turnhout: Harvey Miller, 2020), 157 pages, ISBN: 978-1912554515, $65 / €50.

Meltdown! focuses on the depiction of the first international financial crisis following the 1720 collapse of stock market bubbles in England, France and the Netherlands.

This book tells two parallel stories: one of the spectacular rise and fall of the world’s first bubble economy, and another of the enterprising art industry that chronicled its collapse. The Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles, spawning the invention of French banknotes as well as joint-stock companies built on fantasies of New World trade, imposed on everyday Europeans a crash course in new financial products. In turn, a bubbling print market relentlessly caricatured the meltdown of 1720, offering viewers an entertaining primer on the otherwise bewildering realities of modern economic life. Such satirical works—most notably a Dutch compendium titled The Great Mirror of Folly (Het groote tafereel der dwaasheid )—helped to demystify the disaster by deploying familiar theatrical characters and tragic-comic motifs. Likening the speculative mania to an infectious disease, and spoofing the ‘herd behavior’ of a money-crazed public, its prints portrayed malevolent traders, hoodwinked investors, and a chorus of heroes and villains both real and legendary, from the rakish financier John Law to the foolish Harlequin to the goddess Fortuna. Three hundred years later, our current moment offers a uniquely fitting vantage point from which to reconsider the significance of the bubbles and of the artworks that channeled the fears and desires they unleashed.

Nina L. Dubin is an associate professor of Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Specializing in European art since 1700, she has published widely on the production of art within an economy of risk.

Meredith Martin is an associate professor of Art History at New York University and the Institute of Fine Arts. Specializing in European art of the long eighteenth century, she has published widely on gender and architectural patronage as well as maritime art, mobility, and exchange in the early modern world.

Madeleine C. Viljoen is Curator of Prints and the Spencer Collection at The New York Public Library. Responsible for the Library’s collection of prints and rare illustrated books, she has published widely on early modern printed images, with special attention to the goldsmith-engraver, the reproductive print, and ornament.

Exhibition | Beethoven Moves

Posted in anniversaries, books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 27, 2020

Installation view of the exhibition Beethoven Moves, with John Baldessari’s Beethoven’s Trumpet (with Ear) Opus #132, 2007, resin, fiberglass, bronze, aluminum, electronics. Photo by Mark Niedermann for Tom Postma Design.

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Press release, via Art Daily (26 December 2020) for the exhibition:

Beethoven Moves / Beethoven Bewegt
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, 29 September 2020 — 24 January 2021

Curated by Andreas Kugler, Jasper Sharp, Stefan Weppelmann, and Andreas Zimmerman

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, in cooperation with the Archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, presents Beethoven Moves, an unusual homage to Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), the great representative of the First Viennese School. Beethoven’s popularity remains unbroken, even 250 years after his birth. Beyond the music, his humanistic messages have influenced the history of art and culture. His early deafness shaped his image as a tragic genius.

Beethoven’s universal and unique reception, the epochal significance of his music, and the perception of his deified persona create numerous points of entry. High and popular culture, commerce, and politics all form an inexhaustible reserve of inspiration and appropriation. The exhibition brings together paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, sketchbooks by William Turner, graphic works by Francisco de Goya, Anselm Kiefer and Jorinde Voigt, sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Rebecca Horn and John Baldessari, a video by Guido van der Werve, and a new work developed for the exhibition by Tino Sehgal—all of which are brought into dialogue with the music and persona of Beethoven. The exhibition thus provides a poetic reflection of the composer and his work, as masterpieces of fine art form connections with music and silence.

The elaborately staged exhibition does not present any artworks from the Kunsthistorisches Museum collection. However, it is shown in the Picture Gallery in the context of the art and culture of many centuries, hundreds of works that precede Beethoven’s lifetime and in some ways also lead up to it.

Beethoven is one of the great influential figures in the history of music and culture, not only in Vienna but also internationally. As the largest museum in Austria, the Kunsthistorisches Museum addresses the anniversary of his 250th birthday. Museums are treasure houses, part of the cultural consciousness and tourist magnets; but beyond that, they are also discursive spaces for reflection and confrontation, laboratories for fantasy and the connection of ideas. These aspects become particularly clear in this exhibition project curated by Andreas Kugler, Jasper Sharp, Stefan Weppelmann, and Andreas Zimmerman.

The sequence of rooms in the exhibition relates to Beethoven’s life only in a very general sense. Divided according to themes, they are conceived as a series of tableaux, each based on distinct compositional principles. Indeed, the interplay between the various architectural settings is rather like that between the movements of an orchestral work. And this diversity in the rooms is matched by the variety of the listening experiences on offer, the media of the artworks, and the approaches taken by the artists. Accordingly, visitors will not find any directions telling them how they should move through each room. For a true experience of Beethoven depends on paying heed to one’s inner voice—as when listening to music in general. As we strive to emotionally relive the relations between music, words, imagery, and movement, we should just let our body find its place within the surrounding space. Beethoven Moves is thus intended as an invitation to enter into a very personal encounter with the great composer.

In Room 1 Beethoven’s powerful music immediately captures the imagination of visitors to the exhibition: they hear two of the piano sonatas written by the composer, himself an accomplished concert pianist until he lost his hearing: the Waldstein Sonata (C major, op. 53) and his final Piano Sonata in C minor, op. 111. Beethoven’s original autographs of these compositions are also on show. All of Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas are present in this room, albeit in two very different artworks; in her thirty-two complex drawings, Jorinde Voigt analyzes Beethoven’s compositions, while Idris Khan’s monumental work compiles the scores of all his piano sonatas to create a menacing block-like structure. In the centre of the room, two more contrary sculptures have entered into an equivocal dialogue: Auguste Rodin’s human figure (The Bronze Age in plaster) and Rebecca Horn’s enigmatic grand piano (Concert for Anarchy). The composer’s character, too, was contradictory and highly complex, something that clearly functioned as a source of his creativity: his temperament allowed him to produce works that continue to move people from all parts of the world.

Room 2 is dedicated to silence and stillness, Beethoven’s increasing hearing loss and the associated pain, isolation and reflectiveness. However, we also learn about his admirable ability not to resign himself to his fate but through his art to triumph over his affliction. Los Caprichos, the engravings by Francisco de Goya (1746–1828)—another great artist who lost his hearing—are like pictorial equivalents of the inner fragmentation experienced by the ailing Beethoven. Strictly speaking, all that remains of Beethoven’s thoughts and his art are pages covered with scores and words. Other objects can only serve a superficial cult of remembrance, things like his ear trumpet or a piece of the parquet floor from the house in which he died in 1827. This plain surface, however, also resembles a stage, reminding us that Beethoven and his music have been used for the most varied ends.

To this day, his personality and oeuvre continue to be reinterpreted in politics and propaganda; some worship Beethoven as a revolutionary innovator while for others he is a genius in whose reflected glory nationalist mindsets of all kinds may bask. A work by Anselm Kiefer bears witness to the fact that cultural achievements are still prone to be injected with political content. The reception of Beethoven ranges from the banning of his music to the numerous quotations from his works in popular culture.

In Room 3 we look at Beethoven and his attitude towards nature, which for him was a source of inspiration and strength, offering an escape from his cramped lodgings and the freedom of long country walks regardless of the weather. He would often stop abruptly to jot down some musical idea in one of the sketchbooks he always carried in his pocket. In this room, the colour tones of Caspar David Friedrich and William Turner engage with Beethoven’s tonal colours. They all belong to a generation who witnessed the French Revolution, a radical new awakening whose promises and hopes were quickly scotched by the subsequent Restoration period.

Two symphonies can be heard in this room, both of which are linked in contrasting ways to Napoleon. Beethoven’s anger at Napoleon crowning himself Emperor of the French in 1804 led the composer to scratch out Bonaparte’s name from the title page of his Third Symphony (Eroica). His Seventh Symphony premiered in 1813, just a few weeks after the Battle of Leipzig in which the allied armies of Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Sweden had decisively defeated the emperor. Contemporaries often associated Napoleon with the mythical Prometheus, and Beethoven too was frequently linked with the titan who brought fire to mankind. Prometheus is very much present in a painting by Jan Cossiers, but Guido van der Werve’s video can be read as a complementary reflection of this figure prepared to take a high risk to liberate man: it is the artist himself who walks towards us across the ice, a huge icebreaker in his wake. Threatened with failure, his solitary and heroic actions nonetheless bring forth beauty.

Room 4 brings us full circle to individual, personal encounters with Beethoven. A new work by Tino Seghal, created especially for this exhibition, is permanently installed and on show in this room.

Andreas Kugler, ed., Beethoven Moves (Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2020), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-3775747493 (Engish edition), $55.

Exhibition | Old Ways New Roads: Travels in Scotland, 1720–1832

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 21, 2020

Alexander Nasmyth, Dumbarton Castle and Town with Ben Lomond, 1816, oil on canvas, 33 × 55 cm
(Glasgow: The Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow GLAHA_51732)

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Scheduled to open in January, the exhibition will instead be moved online with related programming soon to be announced (stay tuned); from The Hunterian:

Old Ways New Roads: Travels in Scotland, 1720–1832
(Online) The Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, 29 January — 9 May 202

Curated by John Bonehill, Anne Dulau Beveridge, and Nigel Leask

Old Ways New Roads: Travels in Scotland 1720–1832 addresses the impact of Scotland’s new transport infrastructure on the development of travel, tourism and topographical descriptions of the nation between 1720 and 1832. Old Ways New Roads features paintings, prints, drawings, maps, manuscript tours, and other associated objects from The Hunterian and other public and private collections.

The laying out of new routes in the aftermath of the 1707 Act of Union and the 1715 Jacobite Uprising opened up Scotland (and especially the Highlands) not only to military occupation, but to the forces of commerce and trade and philosophical and scenic tourism. As a recent war zone, Scotland became imbued with aesthetic and topographical significance. Sites and places, old and modern, ruinous and thriving, were brought into view by travel along the military roads constructed by General George Wade and Major William Caulfield. Later, those designed by Thomas Telford under the aegis of the Commission for Highland Roads and Bridges, as well as canals and steam-boat routes, further opened up Scotland’s more inaccessible regions in the Romantic period. Old Ways New Roads traces how these dramatic ‘improvements’ to the Scottish landscape were variously documented, evaluated, planned, and imagined in word and image and more especially ‘framed up’ in terms of the experience of travel.

From Birlinn:

John Bonehill, Anne Dulau Beveridge, and Nigel Leask, eds., Old Ways New Roads: Travels in Scotland 1720–1832 (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2021), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-1780276670, £20.

In 1725 an extensive military road and bridge-building programme was implemented by the British crown that would transform 18th-century Scotland. Aimed at pacifying some of her more inaccessible regions and containing the Jacobite threat, General Wade’s new roads were designed to replace ‘the old ways’ and ‘tedious passages’ through the mountains. Over the next few decades, the laying out of these routes opened up the country to visitors from all backgrounds. After the 1760s, soldiers, surveyors, and commercial travellers were joined by leisure tourists and artists, eager to explore Scotland’s antiquities, natural history, and scenic landscapes and to describe their findings in words and images. Here, a number of acclaimed experts explore how the Scottish landscape was variously documented, evaluated, planned, and imagined in words and images. As well as a fascinating insight into the experience of travellers and tourists, the book also considers how they impacted on the experience of the Scottish people themselves.

C O N T E N T S

Foreword
Notes on Contributors
Acknowledgements

Introduction
1  Writing the Scottish Tour 1720–1830, Nigel Leask
SECTION 1 | The Theatre of War, John Bonehill
2  The Ethnology of the ‘Old Ways’ in Gaelic Scotland, Hugh Cheape
SECTION 2 | Antiquities, Nigel Leask
3  Natural History, Fredrik Albritton Jonsson
SECTION 3 | Custom and Improvement, John Bonehill
4  Roads, Bridges and Designed Landscapes on the Highland Circuit, Christopher Dingwall
5  Scotland’s Prospects, John Bonehill
SECTION 4 | Picturesque Prospects and Literary Landscapes, John Bonehill and Nigel Leask
6  Portable Knick-knacks or the Material Culture of Travel, Viccy Coltman
7  Panoramas and Landscape, Christina Young
8  Picturesque Tours of Wales and Ireland, Mary-Ann Constantine and Finola O’Kane

Bibliography
Photograph Credits
Index

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Note (added 6 January 2021) — The original posting did not include the contents.

Exhibition | Carmontelle (1717–1806)

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 16, 2020

Carmontelle, Self-Portrait, ca. 1762; graphite, watercolor, red chalk, and gouache on paper
(Chantilly: Musée Condé)

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From the Domaine de Chantilly:

Carmontelle (1717–1806), ou la Douceur de Vivre / And the Age of Pleasures
Musée Condé, Château de Chantilly, 5 September 2020 — 28 March 2021

Curated by Nicole Garnier

A playwright, draughtsman, and landscape architect, Louis Carrogis— known as Carmontelle—was a brilliant connoisseur whose many talents reflect the cultivated and cosmopolitan world in which he lived. The organizer of festivities for the Duke of Orléans, famous for his portraits and improvised comedies called Proverbes, Carmontelle designed the Parc Monceau in Paris for the Duke of Chartres and perfected transparencies or long rolls of paper depicting delightful landscapes.

With sitters ranging from Mozart to Buffon, from Rameau to Baron Grimm, Carmontelle created a faithful portrait of mid-18th century Parisian society: princes of the blood, writers, philosophers, musicians, scientists, and elegant beauties of the ‘age of pleasures’—words coined by Talleyrand to describe the Ancien Régime. Thanks to Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale (1822–1897), descendant of the Orléans who acquired the majority of this ensemble, the Condé museum at Chantilly has the best collection in the world of Carmontelle’s works with 484 drawn portraits and one transparency.

The son of a master cobbler, Louis Carrogis took the name ‘Carmontelle’ in 1744 after studying geometry. A topographer during the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763), he spent his spare time making portraits of the officers and organizing improvised comedies. In 1759, he entered the service of the Duke of Orleans as tutor to the young Duke of Chartres (1747–1793), the next Duke of Orléans and future Philippe Egalité; and from 1755 to 1784, he created ‘bad but accurate likenesses’ (Grimm) in gouache and watercolour of the entire court of the Orléans family at the Palais-Royal, Saint-Cloud, and Villers-Cotterêts. As an amateur draughtsman, Carmontelle preferred profile portraits for their ease of execution.

Nicole Garnier-Pelle, Carmontelle (1717–1806) ou le Temps de la Douceur de Vivre: Collection les Carnets de Chantilly n11 (Dijon: Éditions Faton, 2020), 96 pages, ISBN: 978-2878442779, €20.

Note: The exhibition, originally scheduled to close in January, has been extended until the end of March.

Exhibition | Alexander von Humboldt and the United States

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 23, 2020

Now on view at SAAM:

Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, 18 September 2020 — 3 January 2021

Organized by Eleanor Jones Harvey

Renowned Prussian naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt was one of the most influential figures of the nineteenth century. He lived for 90 years, published more than 36 books, traveled across four continents, and wrote well over 25,000 letters to an international network of colleagues and admirers. In 1804, after traveling four years in South America and Mexico, Humboldt spent exactly six weeks in the United States. In these six weeks, Humboldt—through a series of lively exchanges of ideas about the arts, science, politics, and exploration with influential figures such as President Thomas Jefferson and artist Charles Willson Peale—shaped American perceptions of nature and the way American cultural identity became grounded in our relationship with the environment.

Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture places American art squarely in the center of a conversation about Humboldt’s lasting influence on the way we think about our relationship to the natural world. Humboldt’s quest to understand the universe—his concern for climate change, his taxonomic curiosity centered on New World species of flora and fauna, and his belief that the arts were as important as the sciences for conveying the resultant sense of wonder in the interlocking aspects of our planet—make this a project evocative of how art illuminates some of the issues central to our relationship with nature and our stewardship of this planet.

Charles Willson Peale, Self-Portrait with Mastodon Bone, 1824, oil on canvas, 26 × 22 inches (New-York Historical Society, Purchase, James B. Wilbur Fund).

This exhibition will be the first to examine Humboldt’s impact on five spheres of American cultural development: the visual arts, sciences, literature, politics, and exploration, between 1804 and 1903. It centers on the fine arts as a lens through which to understand how deeply intertwined Humboldt’s ideas were with America’s emerging identity. The exhibition includes more than 100 paintings, sculptures, maps, and artifacts as well as a video introduction to Humboldt and his connections to the Smithsonian through an array of current projects and initiatives.

Artworks by Albert Bierstadt, Karl Bodmer, George Catlin, Frederic Church, Eastman Johnson, Samuel F.B. Morse, Charles Willson Peale, John Rogers, William James Stillman, and John Quincy Adams Ward, among others, will be on display. The installation features a digital exploration of Frederic Church’s famous landscape, Heart of the Andes (1859), enabling visitors to engage with the painting’s details in new ways. The wealth of detail is a painterly extrapolation of Humboldt’s plant geography map. The mountain at the center of the work, Chimborazo, was referred to as ‘Humboldt’s Mountain’. The narrated, 2.5D animated projection enables visitors to appreciate the connections between Church’s painting and Humboldt’s ideas.

The exhibition also includes the original ‘Peale Mastodon’ skeleton, on loan from the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, with ties to Humboldt, Peale and an emerging American national identity in the early nineteenth century. Its inclusion in the exhibition represents a homecoming for this important fossil that has been in Europe since 1847, and emphasizes that natural history and natural monuments bond Humboldt with the United States.

Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture is organized by Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. A major catalogue, written by Harvey, accompanies the exhibition. The book shows how Humboldt inspired a network of like-minded individuals who would go on to embrace the spirit of exploration, decry slavery, advocate for the welfare of Native Americans and extol America’s wilderness as a signature component of the nation’s sense of self. Harvey traces how Humboldt’s ideas influenced the transcendentalists and the landscape painters of the Hudson River School, and laid the foundations for the Smithsonian, the Sierra Club, and the National Park Service.

Eleanor Jones Harvey, Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020), 448 pages, ISBN: 978-0691200804, £62 / $75.

Print Quarterly, September 2020

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on November 2, 2020

Johann Jakob Mettenleiter, Double Portrait of Johann Elias Haid and Johann Jakob Mettenleiter, ca. 1778–84, oil on copper, 31 × 38 cm (image courtesy Boris Wilnitsky Fine Arts, Vienna).

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The eighteenth-century in the latest issue of Print Quarterly (with apologies for being so slow! -Craig).

Print Quarterly 37.3 (September 2020)

A R T I C L E S

Julie Mellby, “Audubon’s Copperplates for Birds of America”, pp. 283–93.

After a brief introduction to John James Audubon’s (1785–1851) life and the publication history of his famous Birds of America, this article explores the afterlife of the copperplates. Partly damaged during a fire and later sold as used copper, some of these objects were eventually acquired and restored by William E. Dodge II (1832–1903). Their history interestingly overlaps with the history of important American institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Princeton University Art Museum.

Marianne A. Yule, “A Friendship Portrait of J. J. Mettenleiter and J. E. Haid”, pp. 294–99.

This piece focuses on a newly discovered painting and its related mezzotint, the only known collaborative work between the printmaker John Elias Haid (1739–1809) and the painter Johann Jakob Mettenleiter (1750–1825). It explores the history of the image and identifies all the prints depicted therein.

N O T E S  A N D  R E V I E W S

Peter Van Der Coelen, Review of Henk van Nierop, The Life of Romeyn de Hooghe 1645–1708: Prints, Pamphlets, and Politics in the Dutch Golden Age (2018), pp. 314–16.

The note, as the book it reviews, sheds light on the lesser known, yet extremely prolific Romeyn de Hooghe (1645–1708), a printmaker operating between the Netherlands and Paris. His prints depict the political events of the day, such as the French invasion of Holland, as well as fashionable pastimes, as exemplified by his illustrations for a treatise on wrestling. De Hooghe’s life and work attest to the rising dominance of France all over Europe in the age of Louis XIV, both politically and artistically.

Domenico Pino, Review of Xavier F. Salomon, Andrea Tomezzoli and Denis Ton, Tiepolo in Milan: The Lost Frescoes of Palazzo Archinto (2019), pp. 319–21.

The catalogue under review reconstructs a cycle of frescoes commissioned for an aristocratic Milanese palace and destroyed during World War II. The note focuses on one chapter in particular, analysing Giambattista Tiepolo’s (1697–1770) early career as a book illustrator in Verona and Milan in the 1720s and ’30s, reading it in the context of the cultural fervour that spread all over Italy following the war of Spanish succession.

Domenico Pino, Review of Canaletto & Venezia (2019), pp. 321–22.

The note offers an overview of eighteenth-century Venice and the cultural fervour it hosted. The exhibition catalogue explores in detail the artistic career of Canaletto (1697–1768), Giambattista Tiepolo (1697–1770) and Giambattista Piazzetta (1682–1754), and discusses the developments of artistic trends in furniture, glass, porcelain and architecture in Venice throughout the century up to the fall of the Republic in 1797.

Elizabeth Rudy, Review of Aude Prigot, La Réception de Rembrandt à traversles estampes en France au XVIIIe siècle (2018), pp. 322–25.

The note explores the impact Rembrandt had on artists from the eighteenth through to the twenty-first century. In particular it focuses on the practice of collecting his prints in eighteenth-century France and that of copying his composition in the later part of the century. The main case studies are five French artists, among them Claude-Henri Watelet (1718–86) and Dominique Vivant-Denon (1747–1825).

Exhibition | François Boucher: Rococo Artist

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 25, 2020

François Boucher, Shepherd and Shepherdess, 1760, oil on canvas, 81 × 65 cm
(Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe)

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Opening next month at the Staatliche Kunsthalle:

François Boucher: Künstler des Rokoko / Artiste Rococo
Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, 14 November 2020 — 7 February 2021

François Boucher (1703–1770) est encore considéré de nos jours comme l’artiste rococo français par excellence. À l’occasion du 250e anniversaire de sa mort, la Kunsthalle de Karlsruhe présente la première exposition en Allemagne qui lui soit exclusivement consacrée.

Bien que né dans un milieu modeste, Boucher s’est affirmé comme l’un des principaux artistes de son époque. Premier peintre du roi, il comptait parmi ses commanditaires la marquise de Pompadour ainsi que la margravine Caroline-Louise de Bade. Son style rayonna dans toute l’Europe et ses compositions furent reprises pour un grand nombre de tapisseries et de décors de théâtre, de meubles et de porcelaines.

La diversité des styles qu’il aborda et des sujets qu’il traita reste impressionnante jusqu’à l’heure actuelle. Ses élégantes scènes de genre ainsi que les représentations qu’il a données de paysages bucoliques et de sujets mythologiques se distinguent par leur inventivité, leur humour et l’ironie qui s’en dégage. Par leur exécution subtile et leur palette délicate, ses œuvres nous sensibilisent à la sensualité pouvant irradier d’une toile.

Ses dessins et ébauches à l’huile illustrent parfaitement sa manière de travailler. Tantôt puissantes et virtuoses, tantôt empreintes de retenue et témoins d’une introspection, ces esquisses s’affirment comme desœuvres d’art à part entière.

Artiste fascinant, Boucher, a ainsi développé un style très riche dont l’influence est perceptible jusque dans l’art moderne – Un style que l’exposition de la Kunsthalle permettra de redécouvrir.

L’exposition se complète par une installation sonore d’Elina Lukijanova qui reproduit des éléments stylistiques du Rococo à l’aide de bruits et de mots de notre époque.

Astrid Reuter, ed., François Boucher: Künstler des Rokoko (Cologne: Wienand, 2020), 336 pages, ISBN: 978-3868325812, 45€. With essays by Astrid Reuter, Barbara Bauer, Alexander Eiling, Peter Fuhring, Holger Jacob-Friesen, Melissa Hyde, Oliver Jehle, Françoise Joulie, Alastair Laing, Hans Plechinski, Aileen Ribeiro, Dorit Schäfer, Martin Schieder, Perrin Stein, Christoph Martin Vogtherr, and Kirsten Voigt.

Exhibition | The Torlonia Marbles

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 14, 2020

Notice of the exhibition appeared here at Enfilade last November; here’s the updated information; the catalogue is published by Electa.

The Torlonia Marbles: Collecting Masterpieces
I Marmi Torlonia: Collezionare Capolavori
Musei Capitolini at Palazzo Caffarelli, Rome, 14 October 2020 — 29 June 2021

Curated by Carlo Gasparri and Salvatore Settis

The Torlonia Marbles: Collecting Masterpieces presents 96 works selected from the 620 cataloged marbles belonging to the Torlonia Collection, the prestigious private collection of ancient sculptures, significant for the history of art, excavations, restoration, taste, museography, and archaeological studies. The exhibition is organized in five sections, telling the story of the collecting of ancient Greek and Roman marbles in reverse chronology beginning with the founding of the Torlonia Museum in 1875 by Prince Alexander Torlonia. The second section brings together the nineteenth-century finds of antiquity in the Torlonia properties. The next section addresses eighteenth-century collecting, with sculptures from the acquisitions of Villa Albani and the collection of the sculptor and restorer Bartolomeo Cavaceppi. A selection of sculptures owned by Vincenzo Giustiniani, one of the most sophisticated Roman collectors of the seventeenth century then follows, with the final section presenting pieces from collections of aristocratic families of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Exhibition | The Piranesi Principle

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 9, 2020

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Colosseum in Rome, Bird’s Eye View from the North, ca. 1760–70
(Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz)

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A very brief posting appeared here at Enfilade in February. Here’s the expanded version; from the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin:

The Piranesi Principle: Marking the 300th Birthday of the Great Italian Master
Das Piranesi-Prinzip: Zum 300. Geburtstag des großen italienischen Meisters

Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, 4 October 2020 — 7 February 2021

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) was one of the great polymaths of the 18th century. He carved out an international career as an archaeologist, artist, collector, designer, publisher and author. The principle behind his success was to grasp the multifaceted nature of reality and transform it into something new. He found inspiration everywhere: in the artifacts of bygone epochs and faraway regions, in images from science, technology and opera, and even in denunciations and defeats. This exhibition celebrating the 300th anniversary of his birth brings this Piranesi principle back to life in all its creativity. It is centred around Piranesi’s masterpieces of engraving, his books, pamphlets, satirical illustrations, and drawings from the collections of the Kunstbibliothek and the Kupferstichkabinett, some of which are being shown for the very first time.

Piranesi’s Rome

The exhibition begins with a trip back through time to Piranesi’s Rome. While today’s tourists marvel at the city’s ancient ruins in an urban setting, in the 18th century the Venetian-born artist lived and worked in a city surrounded by a landscape of ruins, in which monuments overgrown by plants protruded from the ground. It was in this context that Piranesi found the motifs for his images and architectural visions, collected artefacts for his ‘Museo’, and conducted research into art and architectural history—the results of which he published in monumental works such as the Antichità Romane (1756). And it was here that he found his clientele and his audience: artists, art scholars, archaeologists, antiques and art dealers came from all over the world to make their fortune in the ‘eternal city’—or, like Piranesi himself—to earn their immortality.

Piranesi’s Stage

Opera and theatre have been influential mass media since the Baroque era. Performances took place not only in private residences, but also on the street and in public squares, where religious festivities were staged as elaborate spectacles. In the 18th century, theatre was a big business, for which artists designed stage sets and decorations, and in doing so revolutionised the viewing habits of their audiences. Piranesi, who had already become acquainted with this scene in Venice, picked up on these ideas and used them to dramatise his compositions. Both his Vedute (Views) and his famous Carceri (Prisons) largely owe their magic to the influence of the theatre of the time.

Piranesi’s Laboratory

As well as the dream factory of theatre, the technical imagery of the sciences was another a source of great fascination for Piranesi. Imagining his workshop as a laboratory, he experimented with creating futuristic images in order to find ways to communicate the findings of his research on archaeology and art with scholars and the public alike. In the section Piranesi’s Laboratory, the exhibition focuses on the monumental display panels, reconstructions and maps that made him famous within the sciences far beyond Italy, and saw him named a member of the Society of Antiquaries in London in 1757 and an honorary member of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1761. His images are ground-breaking and ahead of their time above all because of their resemblance to a computer desktop featuring a multitude of windows open simultaneously. They succeeded in sealing Piranesi’s status as a pioneer of visual communication.

Piranesi’s Palazzo

This section takes viewers to the central site of his work: Palazzo Tomati, not far from the Spanish steps, where Piranesi resided from 1761 onwards, ran a large workshop, and opened his ‘Museo’ (a warehouse of antiques and self-manufactured objects) to tourists and art scholars. The drawings by Piranesi that are held by the Kunstbibliothek, including his renowned fireplace designs, provide important information about his work process. Piranesi was open to everything: he drew on both Roman and Egyptian antiquity, Etruscan and Greek art, and often came up with daring hybrid forms. Even the wastepaper in his studio provided points of departure and stimulus for his creative processes. Recycling and re-using were part of his daily routine in the workshop, especially as paper was a valuable resource. The exhibition makes evident how the recto and verso of his prints, drawings and notes were used over and over again for new sketches.

Piranesi’s Arena

Finally, in the section Piranesi’s Arena, the exhibition presents Piranesi as a polarising figure in the international art scene. Four people in his life are presented to exemplify this tension, beginning with fellow Venetian Pope Clement XIII (1693­–1769), who was particularly important due to his role as a patron, and then looking at three antagonists who infuriated Piranesi to such an extent that he resorted to unusual artistic weapons. He dedicated an entire publication to taking down the argument of French art scholar Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694­–1774), who had questioned the significance of Roman antiquity, with words and pictures. The name of his Irish patron, Lord Charlemont (1728–1799), who had withdrawn funding for one of his largest projects, was visually erased from public memory. And to express his displeasure in a dispute with French archaeologist Bertrand Capmartin de Chaupy (1720–1798), he produced a detailed and masterfully elaborate depiction of his own excrement.

An exhibition of the Kunstbibliothek – Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in cooperation with the Kupferstichkabinett – Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin

The exhibition and catalogue were jointly conceived by students, curators, and researchers at the Kunstbibliothek and the Department for Art and Visual History at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. An exhibition catalogue, edited by Georg Schelbert and Moritz Wullen, will be published by E.A. Seemann Verlag, Leipzig, 144 pages, 135 colour illustrations, ISBN 978-3865024435 (German edition), 978-3865024442 (English edition), €27.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Vignette: Satire targeting Bertrand Capmartin De Chaupy, 1769
(Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz)

 

 

 

 

Exhibition | A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 4, 2020

The exhibition was scheduled to be on view at the NGA this past summer; it will now arrive in Washington after appearing in Rome. From the NGA:

A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750 / La Superba e il Barocco
Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, 25 March — 1 August 2021
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 26 September 2021 — 9 January 2022

Curated by Jonathan Bober, Piero Boccardo, and Franco Boggero

By the 17th century, Genoa was the banking center of Europe with a functioning republican government and enormous wealth that enabled its artists and their patrons to create a singularly rich and beautiful expression of baroque style, with works of extraordinary material sumptuousness, visual splendor, and exuberant feeling. The first major presentation of the Genoese baroque in the United States, this landmark exhibition—accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog—presents some 130 paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, drawings, and prints ranging from 1600 through 1750.

Forming the core of the exhibition are works by the school’s well-known painters—Bernardo Strozzi, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, and Alessandro Magnasco—as well as key works by other Italians and foreigners drawn to the city’s flourishing environment—Peter Paul Rubens, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Orazio Gentileschi, Anthony van Dyck, and Francesco Solimena. Some of the very finest works by such native painters as Valerio Castello, Domenico Piola, and Gregorio De Ferrari are also on view. Monumental decorative ensembles from churches and residences are represented by corresponding oil sketches and presentation models, several grand in scale themselves. Also included are full-size statues by masters—Pierre Puget, Filippo Parodi, and Anton Maria Maragliano—terracotta sketches, and exquisite bronze repetitions of monumental groups, as well as spectacular ceremonial silver from early in the period.

Among the drawings and prints featured are many by the same artists who executed the paintings and objects, with some connected to them. These works reveal the striking characteristics of Genoese draftsmanship: complex techniques, pictorial elaboration, and autonomous function. In fantasy and fluency, the etchings—particularly those of Castiglione and Bartolomeo Biscaino—surpass those of any other Italian school.

The exhibition is curated by Jonathan Bober, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art; Piero Boccardo, Superintendent of the City Collections of Genoa; and Franco Boggero, director, historic and artistic heritage section, Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio, Genoa.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, with special cooperation from the City and Museums of Genoa. The exhibition is made possible by the Robert Lehman Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

The catalogue is now available from Princeton UP:

Jonathan Bober, Piero Boccardo, Franco Boggero, Peter Lukehart, and Andrea Zanini, A Superb Baroque: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750 (Princeton: Princeton University Press in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2020), 384 pages, ISBN: 978-0691206516, $65 / £54.

Genoa completed its transformation from a faded maritime power into a thriving banking center for Europe in the seventeenth century. The wealth accumulated by its leading families spurred investment in the visual arts on an enormous scale. This volume explores how artists both foreign and native created a singularly rich and extravagant expression of the baroque in works of extraordinary variety, sumptuousness, and exuberance. This art, however, has remained largely hidden behind the facades of the city’s palaces, with few works, apart from those by the school’s great expatriates, found beyond its borders. As a result, the Genoese baroque has been insufficiently considered or appreciated.

Lavishly illustrated, A Superb Baroque is comprehensive, encompassing all the major media and participants. Presented are some 140 select works by the celebrated foreigners drawn to the city and its flourishing environment—from Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Giulio Cesare Procaccini to Pierre Puget, Marcantonio Franceschini, and Francesco Solimena; by the major Genoese masters active for much of their careers in other settings—Bernardo Strozzi, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Filippo Parodi, and Alessandro Magnasco; and above all by the brilliantly synthetic but unfamiliar masters who worked primarily in Genoa itself—Gioacchino Assereto, Valerio Castello, Domenico Piola, and Gregorio De Ferrari. Offering three levels of exploration—essays that frame and interpret, section introductions that characterize principal currents and stages, and texts that elucidate individual works—this volume is by far the most extensive study of the Genoese baroque in the English language.