Exhibition | Prospects of India

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 15, 2019

Thomas Daniell (British, 1749–1840), On the Ganges, ca. 1788, watercolor (San Marino: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, Gilbert Davis Collection).

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Now on at The Huntington:

Prospects of India: 18th- and 19th-Century British Drawings from The Huntington’s Art Collections
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, 2 March — 10 June 2019

The drawings in this exhibition take as their subject the landscape of India. They were made by British artists, some of whom traveled there on their own in hopes of finding new and ‘exotic’ subject matter. As these drawings attest, the history of Britain’s engagement with South Asia is a complicated one. It covers a spectrum of motivations that ranges from trade and mutually beneficial cultural exchange to violent imperial conquest. The fifteen images on view hint at this complexity, revealing a fascination and admiration for the Indian landscape and the people who lived there, as well as attitudes of cultural superiority and ownership. Works by professional artists such as George Chinnery and Thomas and William Daniell, hang alongside examples by accomplished, though amateur, draftsmen like Col. George Francis White, revealing both the range of artists who sought to depict the scenery of India and the diversity of the landscape itself.

Exhibition | Image Control: Understanding the Georgian Selfie

Posted in exhibitions, today in light of the 18th century by Editor on April 14, 2019

Now on view at No. 1 Royal Crescent:

Image Control: Understanding the Georgian Selfie
No. 1 Royal Crescent, Bath, 13 April 2019 — 5 January 2020

As the Age of Instagram erodes our mental well-being with manipulated and curated images of ideal lifestyles and standards, Image Control explores the way Georgians manipulated their own images to convey certain messages. By using these techniques, we aim to create our own manipulated images of historical figures to show how easy it is to create a fictionalised version of our lives today.

The exhibition is supported by new art commissions: we have commissioned three artists to create a portrait of Henry Sandford—the house’s first resident—to be displayed in the main house. There is an exhibition guide showing a recommended route, starting with the exhibition room and leading into the house, giving visitors a deeper understanding of the portraits and images throughout.

The project team included Lizzie Johansson-Hartley, Museum Manager, No.1 Royal Crescent; Dr Amy Frost, Senior Curator, Bath Preservation Trust; Isabel Wall, Assistant Curator, Bath Preservation Trust; Polly Andrews, Learning and Engagement Officer, Bath Preservation Trust; Katie O’Brien, Gallery Director, 44AD; and Amina Wright, Art Lecturer and Historian.

The earlier, working title of the project was Image Control: The Power of Perception Then and Now. The artist’s brief is available as a PDF file here.


Exhibition | Art in Focus: Blue

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 13, 2019

William Gilpin, leaves 33v–34r (with color chart laid in) from “Hints to form the taste & regulate ye judgment in sketching landscape,” ca. 1790, manuscript, with pen and ink and watercolor (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection). More information on the manuscript is available here.

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Now on view at YCBA:

Art in Focus: Blue
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 5 April — 11 August 2019

Curated by Merritt Barnwell, Sunnie Liu, Sohum Pal, Jordan Schmolka, and Muriel Wang, led by Linda Friedlaender and Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye

This exhibition uses the color blue to trace a visual and material history of British exploration, trade, and colonialism. Starting from a consideration of Britain’s growing control over maritime trade, this display proceeds to examine how blue was used to depict the landscapes and peoples of the ‘Orient’ in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and concludes with a consideration of the postcolonial interventions of Anish Kapoor.

Art in Focus is an annual initiative for members of the Center’s Student Guide Program, providing Yale undergraduates with curatorial experience and an introduction to all aspects of exhibition practice. The student guide curators for Art in Focus: Blue are Merritt Barnwell, SY ’21; Sunnie Liu, JE ’21; Sohum Pal, BR ’20; Jordan Schmolka, SM ’20; and Muriel Wang, TC ’20. In researching and presenting the exhibition, the students have been led by Linda Friedlaender, Senior Curator of Education, and Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye, Curator of Education and Academic Outreach.

This exhibition and the accompanying brochure—available in the gallery and online—have been generously supported by the Marlene Burston Fund and the Dr. Carolyn M. Kaelin Memorial Fund.

Exhibition | Homer

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 6, 2019

Press release for the exhibition:

Homer / Homère
Musée du Louvre-Lens, 27 March — 22 July 2019

Curated by Alain Jaubert, Alexandre Farnoux, Vincent Pomarède, Luc Piralla, and Alexandre Estaquet-Legrand

The Musée du Louvre-Lens presents one of the most ambitious exhibitions ever devoted to Homer, the ‘prince of poets’, author of two celebrated epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, that have been an integral part of Western societies since antiquity. It explores the origins of Homer’s fascinating influence on Western artists and culture down the centuries and sheds light on its many mysteries.

Achilles, Hector, Ulysses: these names continue to resonate in people’s minds today. From antiquity to the Renaissance, artists borrowed from Homer’s stories a multitude of fundamental subjects that have shaped the history of art. What is the reason for this uninterrupted success? This exhibition of international scope sets out to explore how artists drew on Homer and the heroes of The Iliad and The Odyssey. It also provides an opportunity to examine numerous questions: Did Homer exist? Was he the sole author of these monumental works? Where and when did he live?

‘Homeromania’ has led the Homeric poems to be used repeatedly as sources of inspiration. The exhibition explores the various aspects of this phenomenon and analyses its diverse manifestations in language, literature, the sciences, the arts, morality, and life. Through almost 250 works, dating from antiquity to the present day, the exhibition offers an unprecedented immersion in the riches of the Homeric world. It presents a selection of works as dense and varied as Homer’s influence, ranging from paintings and objects from ancient Greece, sculptures and casts, and tapestries to paintings by Rubens, Antoine Watteau, Gustave Moreau, André Derain, Marc Chagall, and Cy Twombly.

After a prelude devoted to the gods of Olympus, visitors begin their visit by discovering the ‘prince of poets’ and above all the mysteries that surround him. They then begin their visit in the company of the principal heroes of The Iliad and The Odyssey: archaeological objects and modern works evoke the way in which these seminal sagas, reconsidered, reinterpreted, and updated so many times, have been captured in images over time. The exhibition includes a detour by way of other poems from the Epic Cycle that were lost over the course of time and which contained narratives recounting the most famous scenes of the Trojan War, including the Trojan horse, the death of Achilles, and the abduction of Helen. These episodes reveal the full extent of the ancient epic literature and the miraculous nature of the conservation of Homer’s work. The adventure ends with an exploration of the phenomena of ‘Homeromania’ that has marked the science of archaeology and inspired works and behaviour, based on the extensive imitation of Homer that even extended to everyday life.

Curators: Alain Jaubert, writer and filmmaker, Alexandre Farnoux, director of the École Française d’Athènes, Vincent Pomarède, assistant general administrator of the Louvre, Luc Piralla, assistant director of the Musée du Louvre-Lens, assisted by Alexandre Estaquet-Legrand.

Exhibition | Canova and the Antique

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 6, 2019

Now on view in Naples at the MANN:

Canova and the Antique
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples, 28 March — 30 June 2019

Curated by Giuseppe Pavanello 

The magnificent art of Antonio Canova (1757–1822) has rightly earned him praise as “the last of the ancients and the first of the moderns.” This exhibition focuses on Canova’s constant, intense, and fruitful relationship with classical antiquity, which made him known as “the new Phidias” among his contemporaries. Throughout the course of his artistic activity, Canova followed Winckelmann’s call “to imitate but not to copy the ancients” in order to “become inimitable.”

Antonio Canova, Dancer with Hands on Hips, 1811–12 (Saint Petersburg: State Hermitage Museum).

The exhibition is organised on two floors and displays over 110 works by Canova, including drawings, sketches, paintings, plaster casts, and marble sculptures. It showcases some of Canova’s greatest masterpieces, such as the famous group of The Graces on loan from the Hermitage State Museum in Saint Petersburg. The National Archaeological Museum of Naples is in a uniquely privileged position to present this complex and fascinating dialogue between Canova’s works and the great works of antiquity, with stunning pieces that can delight the modern spectator as thoroughly as they did Canova’s contemporaries.

The two installations dedicated to Canova in the entrance hall of the Museum are hosted in theatre-like round structures with a six-metre diameter. The visual journey takes the visitor through virtual imagery and scientific study, going from a single detail to a bird’s eye view, from the butterfly of Cupid and Psyche, to Hercules hurling Lichas, the great myths sculpted in marble and the polychrome paintings on a dark background, dedicated to dance. Adriano Giannini’s voice and the original soundtrack by the cello-player Giovanni Sollima contribute to a show that mixes deep emotion and accurate knowledge.

Canova visited Naples in 1780 to admire the beauties of the city and the antiquities of Herculaneum and Paestum. In his second Quaderno di Viaggio he writes about Naples: “everywhere is like Heaven.” He also reports of his visits to the Sansevero Chapel—where he appreciated the Dead Christ (Veiled Christ) by Giuseppe Sammartino—to the Gallery of Capodimonte, and to the Museum of Portici, where all the antiquities from the Vesuvian area had been gathered. Among the bronzes from the Villa of Papyri of Herculaneum he praises the Seated Mercury for “its wonderful beauty.” Canova obtained permission to draw the nude at the Academy (of Fine Arts), then in the area of San Carlo alle Mortelle. Today, in the Academy’s Gipsoteca, it is possible to admire some of Canova’s plaster models. The master returned to Naples in 1787 and carved for Francesco Maria Berio the marble group Venus and Adonis, to be placed in a little temple in the garden of the marquis’ palace, along via Toledo. The work, inscribed in the genre “delicate and gentle,” is today in Geneva. For the Neapolitan Onorato Caetani he sculpted the group Hercules and Lichas, classified in the genre “strong” or “fierce,” taking inspiration from the ideal model of the Farnese Hercules and from the composition of Hector and Troilus—both on display at the MANN. The Herm of a Vestal, commissioned by the count Paolo Marulli d’Ascoli, would leave Naples for Switzerland first and for the Getty Museum of Los Angeles later. After the short life of the Parthenopean Republic, the Bourbon king Ferdinand IV asked Canova to sculpt for him a portrait-statue. In 1821, as suggested by the master himself, it was placed in the niche of the monumental staircase of the Royal Bourbon Museum, today Museo Archeologico Nazionale. During the French decade Canova carved the marble busts, today lost, of Caroline and Joachim Murat, known through their plaster models. In the same period, the king Joseph Bonaparte and his successor Joachim Murat commission an Equestrian Monument to Napoleon, but, with the French domination coming to an end, the work was never completed. When the Bourbon king of Naples Ferdinand I regained the throne as king of the two Sicilies, he asked Canova to complete the piece with the statue of his father, Charles III. The monument can be admired today in Piazza Plebiscito.

Blasco Pisapia and Valentina Moscon, Canova e l’Antico (Milan: Electa, 2019), 360 pages, ISBN: 978-8891825063.

Antonio Canova, Theseus and Pirithous in the Temple of Diana Ortia See Diana Dancing, between Two Dancers, in Front of the Figure of Artemis of Ephesus (Abduction of Helen), 1799, tempera (Possagno: Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova). The painting is one of 34 works inspired by Pompeiian wall paintings.

Exhibition | Éloge du sentiment et de la sensibilité

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 4, 2019

From the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes:

Éloge du sentiment et de la sensibilité: Peintures françaises du xviiie siècle des collections de Bretagne
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes et le Musée d’Arts de Nantes, 15 February — 12 May 2019

Dans le cadre des collaborations entre musées du Grand-Ouest, le Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes et le Musée d’Arts de Nantes présentent de février à mai 2019 une exposition en coproduction intitulée Éloge du sentiment et de la sensibilité: Peintures françaises du xviiie siècle des collections de Bretagne. Cet événement présente l’originalité de se dérouler simultanément dans les deux institutions avec un catalogue commun.

Le propos général de l’exposition est une découverte de l’ensemble de la production picturale du Siècle des Lumières à travers le prisme du sentiment et de la sensibilité. Dans la seconde moitié de ce siècle, littérature et peinture reflètent une nouvelle vision de l’Homme et de son environnement. Sentiment et sensibilité deviennent de nouvelles qualités de l’âme, donnant une liberté inédite de ressentir le monde. Diderot s’interroge sur le sentiment dans la peinture et au théâtre, Rousseau porte aux nues la sensibilité dans la Nouvelle Héloïse et théorise une nouvelle forme d’éducation dans l’Émile, Voltaire s’émerveille de l’impact de la nature sur ses sens et son âme… La peinture offre un écho enthousiaste et inspiré à ces préoccupations inédites.

Le choix des oeuvres a été réalisé essentiellement dans les riches collections conservées aux musées de Brest, Nantes, Quimper et Rennes avec des compléments apportés par les collections publiques (musées, églises, bâtiments municipaux) de Morlaix et de Lamballe. La réunion de ces collections permet de représenter l’ensemble des grands artistes du siècle tels qu’Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, Carle Vanloo, Charles Joseph Natoire, Jean Siméon Chardin, Hubert Robert, Jean-Baptiste Greuze ou Jean Honoré Fragonard.

L’exposition en deux parties organisée à Rennes et à Nantes, Éloge du sentiment et Éloge de la sensibilité, permet d’embrasser l’évolution de la peinture française sur un siècle, depuis Antoine Watteau jusqu’au début du xixe siècle. À Rennes s’expose la grande histoire, antique, religieuse et mythologique. Nantes met à l’honneur les différents genres, du grand portrait d’apparat aux sensibles natures mortes. Ce partage des oeuvres s’appuie sur une division ancienne bien connue, que les hasards des collections semblent avoir reproduite dans nos musées : Rennes conserve davantage de peintures d’histoire que Nantes, qui s’illustre plus dans la peinture de genres.

Un premier ensemble d’environ 70 tableaux, réuni à Rennes autour de la notion de sentiment, évoquera en quatre sections l’évolution de la peinture à sujet historique (biblique, mythologique, antique et contemporaine).

Un second ensemble d’environ 70 oeuvres présente en six sections au Musée d’arts de Nantes un parcours autour de la notion de sensibilité à travers la peinture de genre (portraits, scènes galantes, paysage, natures mortes…).

Cet événement inédit fait suite à l’organisation en 2013, par les musées de Quimper et de Rennes, de l’exposition De Véronèse à Casanova, qui, selon le même principe faisait le bilan des richesses des musées bretons dans le domaine de la peinture italienne. Les restaurations et les recherches menées à l’occasion de cet événement ont permis d’apporter un éclairage nouveau sur de nombreuses oeuvres et quelques découvertes importantes dans les réserves de certains musées.

Guillaume Kazerouni and Adeline Collange-Perugi, Éloge du sentiment et de la sensibilité: Peintures françaises du xviiie siècle des collections de Bretagne (Paris: Snoeck, 2019), 367 pages, ISBN: 978-9461615138, 35€.

Exhibition | Bernard Picart (1673–1723)

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 4, 2019

Now on view at the Musée National de Port-Royal des Champs, near Versailles:

Bernard Picart (1673–1723), Dessinateur, de Paris à Amsterdam
Musée National de Port-Royal des Champs, Magny-les-Hameaux, 21 March — 23 June 2019

Curated by Corentin Dury and Philippe Luez 

Bernard Picart (1673–1723), issu d’une famille janséniste, s’installe à Amsterdam en 1710 et y occupe une place majeure dans l’édition hollandaise illustrée. Mais on le connaît moins comme dessinateur. La présente exposition permet de découvrir ce pan inconnu de son activité et lui rend sa place parmi les grands dessinateurs des débuts du règne de Louis XV.

En collaboration avec le Salon international du dessin de Paris et avec la participation du Rijksmuseum d’Amsterdam

Corentin Dury, conservateur du patrimoine, musée des Beaux-arts d’Orléan, et Philippe Luez, conservateur général du patrimoine, directeur du musée national de Port-Royal des Champs

Corentin Dury and Philippe Luez, Bernard Picart (1673–1723), Dessinateur, de Paris à Amsterdam (Paris: Snoeck, 2019), 175 pages, ISBN: 978-9461615459, €25.

Exhibition | Tiepolo in Milan

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on April 1, 2019

Press release from The Frick:

Tiepolo in Milan: The Lost Frescoes of Palazzo Archinto
The Frick Collection, New York, 16 April — 14 July 2019

Curated by Xavier Salomon, with Andrea Tomezzoli and Denis Ton

This spring and summer, The Frick Collection presents paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs related to Giambattista Tiepolo’s (1696–1770) first significant project outside of Venice, a series of ceiling frescoes painted in 1730–31 for Palazzo Archinto in Milan. Commissioned by Count Carlo Archinto, one of the city’s most influential patrons and intellectuals, the frescoes were tragically destroyed when the palazzo was bombed by the Allies during World War II. Tiepolo in Milan: The Lost Frescoes of Palazzo Archinto brings together more than fifty works from collections in the United States and Europe to tell the story of this important commission. Five preparatory paintings and drawings are featured, among them the oil sketch Perseus and Andromeda, acquired by Henry Clay Frick in 1916. As the Frick does not loan objects purchased by the institution’s founder, the New York museum is the only place where these works can be displayed together. Several complementary drawings and books illustrated by Tiepolo are included, alongside documentary photographs, taken between 1897 and the early 1940s, which are the only surviving records of the finished frescoes. The exhibition is organized by The Frick Collection in collaboration with the Azienda di Servizi alla Persona Golgi-Redaelli, Milan, and curated by Xavier F. Salomon, the Frick’s Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, with Andrea Tomezzoli, Professor at the University of Padua, and Denis Ton, Curator of the Musei Civici in Belluno.

Comments Salomon, “At a moment in history when wars are destroying art and culture in many parts of the world, it is worth pausing to consider, through an exhibition like this, the tragic, irreparable effects caused by violence throughout the centuries on great works of human creativity.”

Tiepolo and the Archinto Family

Palazzo Archinto belonged to one of Milan’s most prominent aristocratic families, documented in the city since at least the twelfth century. In the eighteenth century, the Archinto were described as one of those Milanese families who had always owned “highly admired treasures.” In addition to Tiepolo’s frescoes, the palazzo contained extensive collections of artworks and a renowned library. Carlo Archinto (1670–1732), Tiepolo’s patron, was at the center of Milan’s intellectual circles and was especially recognized for his interest in philosophy, mathematics, and science. During the mid-eighteenth century, he lived in the family palazzo, located on Via Olmetto, near Porta Ticinese, in one of the oldest parts of the city.

The palazzo’s library, overseen by librarian Filippo Argelati, filled five rooms and was open to scholars. Together with Carlo Archinto and other patrons, Argelati founded the Società Palatina, a publishing enterprise. Between 1723 and 1751, the Società published Ludovico Antonio Muratori’s Rerum Italicarum Scriptores. Archinto financed the project and contributed notes to one of the volumes. Tiepolo provided a number of designs for books published by the Società Palatina (five are included in the exhibition) and thus became acquainted with the aristocratic family. About 1730, when Archinto decided to redecorate his palazzo, he commissioned eight frescoed ceilings: five from Tiepolo and three from the Bolognese painter Vittorio Maria Bigari (1692–1776).

The Commission

The substantial commission was Tiepolo’s first outside the Veneto, and it marked the beginning of his international career. According to the Tiepolo scholar, Michael Levey, the frescoes at Palazzo Archinto “must have been sumptuously rich and impressive. Tiepolo never received a commission for a private palace of comparable extent and rarely of such splendour.” The ceilings, in part to celebrate the wedding of Carlo’s son Filippo to Giulia Borromeo, were meant to underscore the status of the Archinto family and were Carlo’s spiritual and visual testament, blending allegorical and mythological scenes.

Of the preparatory works that survive from the commission, three painted sketches on canvas provide the most important visual record of the lost frescoes: Triumph of Arts and Sciences (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon), Perseus and Andromeda (The Frick Collection), and Apollo and Phaëton (Los Angeles County Museum of Art).

The largest and most elaborate fresco at Palazzo Archinto was the Triumph of the Arts and Sciences, which decorated one of the main rooms on the palace’s principal floor, or piano nobile. In it, Tiepolo depicted a resplendent sky with an assembly of allegorical figures, including Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, Music, and Mathematics, under the aegis of Apollo and Minerva. The ceiling’s decoration surely related to Carlo’s intellectual pursuits and to his library. When Tiepolo created the sketch (modello) for the ceiling, the fictive architectural scheme (quadratura) that was to frame the fresco had not yet be finalized; he therefore depicted his figures hovering in a cloudy sky, surrounded only by an area of brown ocher. In preparation for his fresco cycles, Tiepolo executed numerous drawings. Two surviving drawings related to Triumph of the Arts and Sciences are included in the exhibition, together with the related Lisbon modello and black-and-white photographs of the finished fresco in situ.

Giambattista Tiepolo, Perseus and Andromeda, ca. 1730–31, oil on canvas (New York: The Frick Collection).

The fresco of Perseus and Andromeda was likely envisioned as a celebration of the wedding of Filippo Archinto and Giulia Borromeo. Book IV of Ovid’s Metamorphoses recounts the tale of the young and beautiful Andromeda, daughter of the Aethiopian king Cepheus and Cassiopeia. Boasting that Andromeda is more beautiful than the Nereids, Cassiopeia angers Neptune, who, in revenge, sends a monster to ravage the cost of Aethiopia. Told that the only way to save their country is to sacrifice their daughter to the monster, Andromeda’s parents chain her to a rock by the sea. The hero Perseus, son of Jupiter and Danaë, sees Andromeda while flying over Aethiopia and falls in love with her. He asks her parents for permission to marry her if he is able to save her; he subsequently kills the sea monster and rescues Andromeda. Tiepolo took liberties with Ovid’s Metamorphoses in showing Perseus riding the winged horse Pegasus instead of flying by way of a pair of winged sandals. As evidenced in the archival photographs, the overall configuration of the Perseus and Andromeda fresco in Palazzo Archinto was almost identical to the one visible in the oil sketch (page one), which was likely presented to Carlo Archinto for approval.

Tiepolo faithfully followed another passage from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in the fresco depicting Phaëton, the son of Apollo and Clymene. Uncertain about his divine origins, the youth questions Clymene about the identity of his father, and Clymene encourages him to visit Apollo in his heavenly palace. To prove his paternity, Apollo grants Phaëton a single wish, which is to drive the sun god’s chariot for a day. Apollo provides the exact course he should take across the sky and warns his son about the dangers of such a trip, particularly from specific constellations such as Scorpio. Once guiding the chariot, however, Phaëton is terrified by Scorpio and quickly loses control. Despite Apollo’s instructions and warnings, Phaëton flies too close to earth and scorches it. Incensed, Jupiter hits him with a thunderbolt, hurling him out of the chariot and to his death in the river Po. In the modello for the fresco, the artist set the scene in the dwelling of the Sun, described by Ovid as decorated with columns and bathed in golden light. Carlo’s choice of this father-son myth as the fresco’s subject may have been meant to serve as a warning to his children—Filippo especially—about life’s dangers. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to compare the Los Angeles modello and related archival photographs of the original fresco with three other works previously associated with Palazzo Archinto: two paintings by Tiepolo (now at the Akademie in Vienna and the Bowes Museum) and a drawing from the British Museum, all of which depict Apollo and Phaëton.

Tiepolo’s other two ceilings in the palazzo represented Juno, Venus, and Fortune, probably painted for Giulia Borromeo’s private apartments, and an allegory of Nobility, which most likely decorated the ceiling of a relatively small room. Unfortunately, no related preparatory drawings or modelli have been identified. The two frescoes are represented in the exhibition by archival photographs.

The Fate of Palazzo Archinto

The palazzo belonged to the Archinto family for more than a century, until 1825, when the family sold it. In 1853, it was purchased by the current owner, Luoghi Pii Elemosinieri, a charitable institution (now called the Azienda di Servizi alla Persona Golgi-Redaelli). On the night of August 13, 1943, Allied bombs hit Palazzo Archinto, destroying its interior, including Tiepolo’s frescoes. (The interior was rebuilt between 1955 and 1967, following the general structure of its previous architectural form.) During World War II, sixty-five percent of Milan’s historic monuments were damaged or destroyed. Tiepolo’s frescoes at Palazzo Archinto were among the most tragic losses.

Fortunately, a number of black-and-white photographs were taken in Palazzo Archinto at different points before 1943. In 1897, Attilio Centelli and Gerardo Molfese published a large volume dedicated to Tiepolo’s frescoes in Lombardy. The book includes a series of fifty photographs of frescoes by—or attributed at the time to—Tiepolo. These photographs are the oldest surviving images of the Palazzo Archinto frescoes and remain vital documents of their original appearance. Only three copies of the book survive (one in Milan, one in Rome, and one in Venice). The Milan copy is preserved, unbound, in the archive of the Azienda di Servizi alla Persona Golgi-Redaelli. The exhibition includes ten plates from this copy, as well as twenty photographs documenting the palace before the war, Tiepolo’s finished frescoes, and the ruins of the palace after 1943.

Major support for the exhibition is provided by an anonymous gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden and by Margot and Jerry Bogert. Additional funding is generously provided by the David L. Klein, Jr. Foundation, Julie and David Tobey, an anonymous gift in memory of Charles Ryskamp, Dr. Tai-Heng Cheng and Cole Harrell, Mr. and Mrs. Hubert L. Goldschmidt, and The Krugman Family Foundation.

Xavier Salomon, Andrea Tomezzoli, and Denis Ton with Alessandra Kluzer, Tiepolo in Milan: The Lost Frescoes of Palazzo Archinto (London: Paul Holberton, 2019), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-1911300526, £45 / $50.

The Frick Collection, in association with Paul Holberton Publishing, has produced a fully illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition. Included are essays about Tiepolo’s work in Palazzo Archinto (Xavier F. Salomon), the architectural history of the palace (Alessandra Kluzer), the role of the Archinto frescoes in Tiepolo’s career (Andrea Tomezzoli), and the intellectual world of the Archinto family (Denis Ton).

Exhibition | The Tale of Genji

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 31, 2019

Press release (26 February 2019) from The Met:

The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 5 March — 16 June 2019

Curated by John Carpenter and Melissa McCormick with Monika Bincsik and Kyoko Kinoshita

A major international loan exhibition focusing on the artistic tradition inspired by Japan’s most celebrated work of literature will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning March 5, 2019. Bringing together more than 120 works of art from 32 public and private collections in Japan and the United States—including National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, most of which have never left Japan—The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated explores the tale’s continuing influence on Japanese art since it was written around the year 1000 by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu (ca. 978–ca. 1014). Often referred to as the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji has captivated readers for centuries through its sophisticated narrative style, humor and wit, and unforgettable characters, beginning with the ‘radiant prince’ Genji, whose life and loves are the focus of the story.

Tosa Mitsunari (Japanese, 1646–1710), ‘Murasaki Shikibu’, late 17th–early 18th century, one of a triptych of hanging scrolls, ink and color on silk (Ishiyamadera Temple).

The Tale of Genji has inspired generations of artists over centuries, and ours is the first exhibition to explore this phenomenon in such a comprehensive way,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. “The magnificent works of art in the show will also offer a view into the development of Japanese art, a testament to the prevalence and impact of the renowned story.”

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Japan Foundation, with the cooperation of the Tokyo National Museum and Ishiyamadera Temple. It is made possible by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Fund, 2015; the Estate of Brooke Astor; the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; and Ann M. Spruill and Daniel H. Cantwell.

The exhibition presents the most extensive introduction to the visual world of Genji ever shown outside Japan. It features nearly one thousand years of Genji-related art—an astonishing range of works including paintings, calligraphy, silk robes, lacquerware, a palanquin for a shogun’s bride, and popular art such as ukiyo-e prints and contemporary manga—and provide viewers with a window into the alluring world of the Heian imperial court (794–1185) that was created by the legendary authoress.

Comprising 54 chapters, The Tale of Genji describes the life of the prince, from the amorous escapades of his youth to his death, as well as the lives of his descendants, introducing along the way some of the most iconic female characters in the history of Japanese literature.  Organized thematically in eight sections, the exhibition pays special attention to the Buddhist reception of the tale, while also giving prominence to Genji’s female readership and important works by female artists.

Among the works on view, highlights include two of Japan’s National Treasures. The first, on loan from Seikado Bunko Art Museum, is a pair of screens by the Rinpa master Tawaraya Sotatsu (ca. 1570-ca. 1640)—Channel Markers and The Barrier Gate—depicting two chance encounters between Genji and a former lover. The second is the breathtaking Heian-period Lotus Sutra with Each Character on a Lotus, from the Museum Yamato Bunkakan. These works will be on view for six weeks and then rotated with other masterpieces over the course of the exhibition. A number of works recognized as Important Cultural Properties will be on view throughout the exhibition, including beautifully preserved album leaves by Tosa Mitsuyoshi (1539–1613), from the Kuboso Memorial Museum of Arts, Izumi, which will be shown together with rare Tosa School album paintings from the Harvard Art Museums and The Met’s own collection.

The exhibition also includes a section featuring important works of art from Ishiyamadera Temple whose hall contains a ‘Genji Room’ that commemorates the legend that Murasaki started writing the novel within the temple precincts. And the final section of the exhibition features a series of original manga drawings by Yamato Waki that were inspired by The Tale of Genji. She translated Genji into the comic book idiom, making Murasaki’s tale accessible to a whole new generation of readers.

A site-specific opera entitled Murasaki’s Moon—commissioned by MetLiveArts, On Site Opera, and American Lyric Theater in conjunction with the exhibition—will be presented in The Met’s Astor Court on May 17, 18, and 19.

This exhibition will be the opening highlight of Japan 2019, a series of events organized by The Japan Foundation to introduce Japanese arts and culture in the United States throughout 2019.

The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Florence and Herbert Irving Fund for Asian Art Publications; the Charles A. Greenfield Fund; The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation; the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Fund, 2015; the Parnassus Foundation; and Richard and Geneva Hofheimer Memorial Fund.

The exhibition is curated by John T. Carpenter, Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese Art in the Department of Asian Art at The Met; and guest curator Melissa McCormick, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University; with Monika Bincsik, Diane and Arthur Abbey Assistant Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts at The Met; and Kyoko Kinoshita, Professor of Japanese Art History at Tama Art University.

John Carpenter and Melissa McCormick, The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019), 368 pages, ISBN: 978-1588396655, $65.

Exhibition | Yinka Shonibare CBE: The American Library

Posted in exhibitions, today in light of the 18th century by Editor on March 30, 2019

Yinka Shonibare CBE, The American Library, 2018; hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, headphones, interactive application; installation view at The Cleveland Public Library, 2018; commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. © Yinka Shonibare CBE. Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York and FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art with funds from VIA Art Fund, Cleveland Public Library and The City of Cleveland’s Cable Television Minority Arts and Education Fund. Photography by Field Studio.

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Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

Yinka Shonibare CBE: The American Library
The Cleveland Public Library, 14 July — 30 September 2018
Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, 25 October — 14 December 2018

Speed Art Museum, Louisville, 29 March — 15 September 2019

Opening on March 29, 2019, 21c Museum Hotel and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky will present a co-curated exhibition of British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare CBE’s The American Library, a large-scale installation of thousands of books covered in the artist’s signature textiles with the names of people who have contributed to our collective understanding of diversity and immigration in the United States embossed in gold on the spines. The immersive installation will be on view in the Speed Art Museum’s original galleries from 1927, which formerly housed an art library, activating the historic space. Additional works by Shonibare from the 21c Museum Hotel and Speed collections will provide further context. Commissioned by Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, the work was recently on view at the Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, North Carolina ahead of its forthcoming presentation at the Speed Art Museum this spring. This exhibition marks the first time the Speed Art Museum and 21c Museum Hotel have co-organized a major exhibition.

The American Library is inspired by ongoing debates about immigration and diversity in the United States. The installation comprises bookshelves holding over 6,000 volumes covered in Shonibare’s signature Dutch wax printed cotton, a material whose mixed origins reflect the history of colonization, and are printed with gilded names of figures who have made significant contributions to American culture and/or have influenced public discourse on immigration. The selected names, which include W. E. B. Du Bois, Maria Goeppert Mayer, Steve Jobs, Bruce Lee, Ana Mendieta, Joni Mitchell, Toni Morrison, Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Carl Stokes, Donald Trump, and Tiger Woods, fall into the following categories: people who immigrated or whose parents immigrated to the U.S., African Americans who relocated or whose parents relocated out of the American south during the Great Migration, or people who have spoken out against immigration, equality, or diversity in the United States. In the gallery, visitors can access a website that provides additional information on each individual represented on the shelves.

“We at 21c are thrilled to collaborate with the Speed to present The American Library,” says 21c Chief Curator and Museum Director Alice Gray Stites. “In the face of the growing refugee crisis and resistance to immigration across the globe, we feel an urgency to share this work that celebrates the spectrum of voices that have created our nation’s culture and history, while simultaneously acknowledging that there are others who have spoken out against diversity. We hope this exhibition will provide opportunities to better understand the complexity of these political and cultural debates.”

“It feels both timely and meaningful to be collaborating with 21c on an exhibition that acknowledges the many facets of the debate surrounding immigration and the innumerable ways that the United States has benefited from the contributions of migrants and immigrants,” says Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Art Museum. “Empathy is often enhanced by education, and Shonibare’s masterful installation of books, and his online database of names, illuminates that this country was built by individuals coming from many different backgrounds and places.”

Yinka Shonibare CBE’s work examines race, class, and cultural identity and explores the history of colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalization. Working across media, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, and installation, Shonibare’s work provides insightful political commentary on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. In addition to The American Library, the 21c and Speed exhibition will feature other works by Shonibare, including:

Yinka Shonibare CBE, ‘The Age of Enlightenment — Gabrielle Émile Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet’, 2008; life-size fiberglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton, mixed media (Collection of Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, 21c Museum Hotels, and Collection of Jim Gray, © Yinka Shonibare CBE).

The Three Graces (2001), depicting three headless mannequins dressed in Shonibare’s signature Dutch wax fabric, was inspired by a photograph of three women in Edwardian dress that the artist found in the archives of the Hendrik Christian Andersen Museum in Rome, Italy. As a trio, the sculptures allude to the archetype of ‘The Three Graces’ found in classical ancient Greek sculpture, while their Edwardian dresses speak to the history of Great Britain’s colonization of the African continent.

The Age of Enlightenment — Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet (2008), a sculpture from Shonibare’s series inspired by key historic figures and thinkers from the 18th century, presented as headless mannequins, dressed in his signature Dutch wax fabrics, questions and interrogates the ideas embraced during the Age of Reason that supported and justified colonial expansion. This sculpture depicts female mathematician, physicist, and author Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet and comments upon her status and treatment as an intellectual woman in this period.

Food Faerie (2010) is a sculptural representation of a winged child carrying mangoes in a leather pouch, with one arm held aloft as if holding a spear. Dressed in the style of Victorian England and Dutch wax fabric designed by the artist, this sculpture examines how identity is shaped by both mythology and by capital markets, alluding to England’s colonial control of regions and resources in West Africa.

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (2008) combines references to Goya’s 18th-century critiques of the Spanish Church and State with allusions to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Shonibare questions the ongoing impact of the theories of the Enlightenment period on world history and on contemporary geo-politics.