Enfilade

Print Quarterly, March 2019

Posted in books, exhibitions, journal articles, reviews by Editor on March 4, 2019

The eighteenth century in the current issue of Print Quarterly:

Print Quarterly 36.1 (March 2019)

S H O R T E R  N O T I C E

Donatella Biagi Maino, “Gaetano Gandolfi’s Album of Prints by Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo,” pp. 45–54. Focusing on a little known album of prints assembled by Gaetano Gandolfi (1734–1802), the article explores the relationship between Bolognese and Venetian art in the second half of the eighteenth century, with a particular emphasis on the generative role of the works of Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo.

N O T E S  A N D  R E V I E W S

• Angela Nikolai, Review of the exhibition catalogue, Zeichenunterricht: Von der Künstlerausbildung zur ästhetischen Erziehung seit 1500 (Graphische Sammlung ETH Zürich, 2017–18), pp. 63–64. “On its 150th anniversary, the Graphische Sammlung ETH Zurich hosted three exhibitions, the last of which presented and drawings related to artistic training since the sixteenth century” (63), focusing on Italian, Dutch, and German engravings and etchings from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. “The selection ranges from reproductive prints of antiquities and painted academy scenes to anatomical prints or sheets from drawings books” (64).

Chinese Bird-and-Flower wallpaper at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, ca. 1752, woodblock-printed outlines with the colours added by hand (David Kirkham / National Trust).

• Ming Wilson, Review of Emile de Bruijn, Chinese Wallpaper in Britain and Ireland (London, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2017), pp. 64–66. Drawing on the archives of the National Trust and on works still in situ, this volume establishes a chronology charting what kind of wallpaper was in fashion in the British Isles from 1740 onwards. “It is no exaggeration to say that this book is a comprehensive listing of all Chinese wallpapers known to be in existence today and an indispensable reference work on the subject, with a history of British interior design thrown into the bargain” (66).

• Armin Kunz, Review of the exhibition catalogue, Copy.Right: Adam von Bartsch: Kunst Kommerz Kennersschaft (Kunstsammlung der Universität Göttingen, 2016), pp. 66–68. The 31 essays “assembled in this volume present welcome additions to these final chapters in the long-neglected history of the reproductive print” (68).

Kitagawa Utamaro, The Courtesan Onitsutaya Azamino Tattooes Her Name and the Word ‘inochi’ (Life) into the Arm of Her Lover Gontar, a Man of the World, ca. 1798–99, woodblock print (Boston: MFA).

• Ellis Tinios, Review of Sarah Thompson, Tattoos in Japanese Prints (MFA, Boston: 2017), pp. 68–69. “Thompson’s concise and informative introductory essay explores the meaning of tattoos in Japanese society. . . Large-scale body tattoos appear to have originated in the late eighteenth century among ‘bandits’ and were then taken up by petty criminals, firemen, and others on the margins of society. The practice was banned in the 1810 with little effect” (68).

• Desmond-Bryan Kraege, review of Rolf Reichardt, ed., Lexikon der Revolutions-Ikonographie in der europäische Druckgraphik, 1789–1889, 3 volumes (Münster, Rhema, 2017), pp. 70–71. “The fruit of extensive documentary research in the collections of almost 50 European institutions,” this publication “provides a good complement to an encyclopaedic work that is set to become an indispensable reference for students of print culture and political art during the long nineteenth century” (71).

• Exhibition catalogue, Hélène Iehl and Felix Reusse, eds, La France, Zwischen Aufklärung und Galanterie: Meisterwerke der Druckgraphik​ / La France au siècle des Lumières et de la galanterie: Chefs-d’œuvre de la gravure (Michael Imhof Verlag, 2018), p. 92. “This exhibition catalogue celebrates the gift to the museum in Freiburg, Germany, from the local collector Joseph Lienhart, of his collection of French prints of the eighteenth century formed since the 1970s” (92). [Noted under ‘publications received’.]

Anonymous artist after a drawing by Robert Bonnart, published by Nicolas Bonnart I, Portrait of Catherine Thérèse de Matignon, Marchioness of Seignelay, Wearing Fontange, a Black Veil and Mantua with a Blue Petticoat, 1690–96, hand-coloured etching and engraving, 290 × 196 mm (London: British Museum).

• Anthony Griffiths, review of Pascale Cugy, La Dynastie Bonnart: Peintres, Graveurs et Marchands de Modes à Paris sous L’ancien Régime (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2017), pp. 103–05. The Bonnart family “are one of the few producers that have given their name to a genre: in the nineteenth century ‘Bonnarts’ became a term used to define the full length men and women in fashionable clothing standing against a plain or a simple background” (103). This book focuses on the production of the Bonnart family over a century, shedding new light on eighteenth-century France not only from an artistic point of view, but also from a social and legal one.

• Marc McDonald, review of exhibition catalogue, Ceán Bermúdez: Historiador del arte y coleccionista ilustrado (Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España, 2016), pp. 106–11. Drawing upon a rich variety of sources, this catalogue focuses on one of the most eclectic and interesting figures of the Spanish Enlightenment: the art collector, patron, writer, and historian Juan Augustín Ceán Bermúdez (1749–1829). “Ceán is often described as the first historian of Spanish art and his writings include translations, catalogues, and descriptions of art collections” (106). With five chapters and 158 individual entries, this publication from the 2016 exhibition in Madrid “presents groundbreaking scholarship and is the most complete study of this fascinating figure” (106).

Exhibition | Treasures from the Palace Museum: The Flourishing of China

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 3, 2019

From the Moscow Kremlin Museums:

Treasures from the Palace Museum: The Flourishing of China in the 18th Century
Moscow Kremlin Museums, 15 March – 30 May 2019

Portrait of the Qianlong Emperor (Beijing: The Palace Museum).

The Moscow Kremlin Museums present pieces from the collection of the Beijing Palace Museum (Gugong). The display will be dedicated mainly to the Qianlong Emperor (1736–1796), to important milestones in his life, as well as to court ceremonial in the Qing period. This project is the first part of the bilateral cultural initiative between Russia and China. Then, from the 8th of August 2019, the Palace Museum (Gugong) will host an exhibition “Russian Court Ceremony” from the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums

Everyday life and official events at the Qing court were strictly regulated. The most important and solemn ritual was the enthronement of a new emperor, which included numerous elaborated ceremonies. Ten emperors of the Qing dynasty were enthroned at the imperial palace of the Purple Forbidden City. That explains the richness of the exhibits relating to the enthronement, kept at the Palace Museum.

The reign of the Qianlong Emperor—the most famous ruler in the history of China—is marked by military success and achievements in politics, by the spread of Tibetan Buddhism and by a particular attitude of the educated ruler towards ancient cultural heritage. He strictly maintained moral principles of his ancestors, was fond of reading and composing texts, revered rituals and music as traditional features of a civilized state — thus continuing original Chinese spiritual traditions of the Manchurian dynasty.

Being a man of many talents, the Emperor had an exquisite taste and personally controlled the creation of various works of applied art at court. The Qianlong reign can be justly called the ‘golden age’ of culture in Late Imperial China. An exceptional situation occurred at the Qing court—after sixty years of reigning, the Qianlong Emperor abdicated, and his son the Jiaqing Emperor ascended the throne, but the decisions were still made by his father.

There will be over a hundred exhibits on display at the Moscow Kremlin Museums: symbols of power, ceremonial attire of emperors and empresses, decorations for clothing, portraits, paintings, calligraphy, documents, memorial items, including gifts from the Qianlong Emperor to his mother, as well as ceremonial utensils, musical instruments and ritual objects, used during main national ceremonies and daily at court.

Exhibition | From Hand to Hand: Painting in Northern India

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 1, 2019

From the Krannert Art Museum:

From Hand to Hand: Painting and the Animation of History in Northern India
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, 28 February — 12 May 2019

Curated by Allyson Purpura, with research assistance from Yutong Shi and Samit Sinha

Kakubha Ragini, India, Rajasthan, possibly Bundi School, 18th century; opaque watercolor on paper (Krannert Art Museum, Gift of George P. Bickford, 1970-10-4).

This exhibition features works from KAM’s collection of exquisite paintings predominantly from Rajasthan and the Punjab hills, in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Many of these works were commissioned by royals of the Rajput or Hindu, princely courts that came under the suzerainty of the Mughal Empire between the late 1500s and 1800s. Their enthusiastic arts patronage led to the flourishing of a wide range of regional painting styles and subjects. Especially prevalent are images drawn from the great Hindu epics in which stories of love, longing, and devotion are recounted through the deeds of Hindu deities and their avatars on earth.

Also popular and showing the centuries-long comingling of Rajput and Mughal artistic preferences, are depictions of court life and aristocratic portraiture. The exhibition also features a selection of richly illustrated, devotional narratives commissioned by patrons as acts of piety, and to accrue divine merit for the next life.

While local Indian painters had been producing illustrated texts on horizontal palm leaves for Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu devotees from as early as 1000 CE, the introduction of papermaking from central Asia via the expansion of the Mughal empire freed artists to work in larger, vertical page formats.

However, Rajput paintings were not bound or displayed on walls. They were held close to the body, to be viewed intimately, one at a time, then shared with companions by being passed from hand to hand. Many were also passed on to friends and allies and traveled long distances as precious gifts. Devotional paintings were also created for pilgrims at temple sites who carried them on their journeys home. Others were used as visual aids in itinerant storytelling, or for prayer and recitation. Many artists were themselves itinerant, working in different court ateliers over their careers. Another kind of “mobility” is found in the almost synesthetic blending of musical, literary, and visual metaphor that animate the images themselves.

From Hand to Hand explores the performative dimensions of these evocative paintings. The exhibition’s related programming asks more broadly how these works narrate themselves into the contemporary politics of place and identity in South Asia today. KAM’s collection of Indian paintings was built through the generous donations of distinguished collectors George P. Bickford, Alvin O. Bellak, and Rachel and Allen S. Weller, between 1965 and 2003. A selection of these works was recently conserved through a grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

Curated by Allyson Purpura, senior curator and curator of Global African Art, with research assistance from curatorial interns Yutong Shi and Samit Sinha.

Krannert Art Museum acknowledges and thanks University of Illinois faculty Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz, Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion; Rini Bhattacharya Mehta, Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative World Literatures; Hans Hock, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics; and Dede Fairchild Ruggles, Professor and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture; as well as Krista Gulbransen, Assistant Professor of Art History at Whitman College, for their generous consultation in the preparation of this exhibition.

Exhibition | Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 16, 2019

Square curiosity box with multiple treasures, Qianlong 1736–95, Qing Dynasty (1644–1911); wood, jade, bronze, amber, agate, and ink on paper; 20 × 25 × 25 cm (Taipei: National Palace Museum).

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Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition:

Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2 February — 5 May 2019

Curated by Cao Yin

The Art Gallery of New South Wales presents Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei. The exhibition is a rare opportunity to encounter some of the highest artistic achievements in Chinese history. Featuring 87 masterworks, the exhibition explores the extraordinary creativity of Chinese artists over the centuries, with objects dating from 5000 years ago in the Neolithic period to the nineteenth century.

Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Dr Michael Brand said the National Palace Museum holds one of the world’s finest collections of Chinese art with the majority of its holdings originating from the imperial collections of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). “One of the most-visited museums in the world, the National Palace Museum in Taipei has a collection of outstanding beauty and historical importance.”

Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art presents the ancient Chinese philosophical concept of tian ren he yi, the harmonious coexistence of nature and humans within the cosmos, which holds particular relevance today as we face the environmental challenges of contemporary life,” Dr Brand said. “The Art Gallery of NSW is the first cultural institution to host these extraordinary objects in Australia providing local audiences an exclusive opportunity to see how Chinese art speaks to the modern world,” Dr Brand added.

Dr Chen, Chi-nan, Director of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, said the museum has had a long-term commitment to international cultural exchange and has successfully curated a large number of exhibitions in Europe, America, and Asia from its collection. “Despite this impressive record, the National Palace Museum, Taipei, has not exhibited in the southern hemisphere, until now,” Dr Chen said. “Major highlights from the National Palace Museum collection travelling to Sydney include one of its most popular treasures: the Meat-shaped stone—a Qing dynasty masterpiece. This is only the third time it has been seen outside Taipei,” Dr Chen said.

Meat-shaped stone, Qing dynasty, 1644–1911 (Taipei: National Palace Museum).

The Meat-shaped stone, carved from jasper and set in a decorative gold stand, draws thousands of admirers a day. The stone most closely resembles the dish dongpo rou which is believed to have been invented by Su Dongpo (also known as Su Shi), an 11th-century Chinese poet and artist.

Art Gallery of NSW exhibition curator and curator of Chinese art, Yin Cao said Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art showcases the many ways in which Chinese artists have represented the trinity of heaven, earth, and humanity. “Since the earliest times, the Chinese have created imaginative stories and rich symbols to explain the unfathomable aspects of the world around them. Each work in Heaven and earth in Chinese art tells a unique story of the society in which it is created and bears a broader cultural and philosophical meaning,” Cao said.

“From the miniature carving of an olive pit to one of the longest paintings in Chinese history, this exhibition presents the highest level of artistic skill and advances in technology over the different eras, and shows the aspiration of Chinese artists as they try to capture the essence of nature and the world around them,” Cao added.

Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art presents paintings, calligraphy, illustrated books, bronzes, ceramics, jade, and wood carvings divided into five thematic sections: Heaven and Earth, Seasons, Places, Landscape, and Humanity.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book Heaven & Earth in Chinese Art: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei edited and written by exhibition curator Yin Cao with Dr Karyn Lai, associate professor of Philosophy in the School of Humanities and Languages at the University of NSW. It includes catalogue entries by National Palace Museum curators.

Cao Yin with Karyn Lai,  Heaven & Earth in Chinese Art: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei (Sydney: Art Gallery of NSW, 2019), 236 pages, ISBN: 978-1741741438, $40.

 

 

Display | Spotlight on Boilly

Posted in exhibitions, lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 14, 2019

Louis-Léopold Boilly, Les Malheurs de l’amour (The Sorrows of Love), 1790
(London: The Wallace Collection)

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Opening this month at The Wallace:

Spotlight on Boilly
The Wallace Collection, London, 29 January — 19 May 2019

Curated by Yuriko Jackall

Over the course of his varied artistic career, Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761—1845) witnessed the overthrow of the French monarchy, the revolutionary period, and the rise of Napoleon. Of the fifteen paintings once owned by Sir Richard Wallace, three remain at the Wallace Collection, depicting detailed and humorous scenes of domestic life amongst the Parisian bourgeoisie. Thanks to the generosity of Étienne Bréton and Pascal Zuber, authors of the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Boilly’s oeuvre, the three paintings have undergone extensive restoration and will be welcomed back to the museum with a special display showcasing the renewed vibrancy of their finely jewelled colours and celebrating Boilly’s genius as a chronicler of French society.

Francesca Whitlum-Cooper, From Boudoir to Boulevard: The Revolutionary Art of Boilly
The Wallace Collection, London, 22 February 2019, 18:30

Louis-Léopold Boilly, The Dead Mouse, 1780s or 1790s (London: The Wallace Collection).

Louis-Leopold Boilly lived in extremely turbulent times. Yet, he did not merely survive this violent period: he thrived, painting the faces and places of modern Paris with humour, innovation, and startling modernity. On the eve of the UK’s first exhibition devoted to Boilly at the National Gallery—Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life, curated Francesca Whitlum-Cooper— and to celebrate the recent conservation of the Wallace Collection’s three Boillys, this lecture by Dr Whitlum-Cooper will introduce Boilly to the public, suggesting that, half a century before the Impressionists, he was one of the first ‘painters of modern life’. The lecture will be prefaced by a brief conversation between Dr Whitlum-Cooper and the Wallace Collection’s Curator of French Paintings, Dr Yuriko Jackall, tracing Boilly’s critical fortunes in the present day. The talk will be followed by a wine reception and book signing with Dr Whitlum-Cooper of her new exhibition catalogue. Booking information is available here.

In addition, Yuriko Jackall will give a talk about the display on 21 February and 27 February, at 13:00.

The third painting by Boilly in the Wallace Collection is The Visit Returned, ca. 1789.

Exhibition | Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 13, 2019

Opening this month at the National Gallery:

Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life
National Gallery, London, 28 February – 19 May 2019

Curated by Francesca Whitlum-Cooper

Working in a politically turbulent Paris, Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761–1845) witnessed the French Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon, and the Restoration of the French Monarchy. From controversially seductive interior scenes, which saw him get into trouble with the authorities, to ‘first-of-their-kind’ everyday street scenes and clever trompe l’oeils, this exhibition shows Boilly’s daring responses to the changing political environment and art market he encountered, and highlights his sharp powers of observation and wry sense of humour.

Focusing on 20 works from a British private collection never previously displayed or published, this exhibition—the first of its kind in the UK—celebrates an artist who is little known in Britain and provides unparalleled context for our Boilly, A Girl at a Window.

The catalogue is distributed by Yale UP:

Francesca Whitlum-Cooper, Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life (London: National Gallery Company, 2019), 96 pages, ISBN: 978-1857096439, £17 / $25.

Louis-Leopold Boilly lived a long life in the most turbulent times. From 1785 he spent half a century at the heart of the Parisian art world, throughout the turmoil of the Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon and the restoration of the monarchy. This first English-language publication on Boilly in over twenty years brings together portraiture, interiors on the theme of seduction, and vivid and groundbreaking scenes of raucous Parisian street life. The majority of these pictures have never been published before. The book introduces readers to Boilly’s richly detailed paintings and drawings, emphasising his technical brilliance, his acute powers of observation and his wry sense of humour, and illustrates Boilly’s daring responses to France’s changing political environment and burgeoning art market. It offers an alternative to the accepted view of Revolutionary French art as the purview of grand history painters such as Jacques-Louis David. Boilly popularised trompe l’oeil paintings—he invented the term—and by depicting daily life on the streets of Paris for the very first time, he turned the accepted hierarchies of art on their head.

Francesca Whitlum-Cooper is the Myojin-Nadar Associate Curator of Paintings, 1600–1800 at the National Gallery, London.

Exhibition | Bellotto at the Court of Saxony

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 2, 2019

Bernardo Bellotto, The Zwinger Complex in Dresden, 1751–52, oil on canvas (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, photo by Elke Estel/Hans-Peter Klut).

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From the Kimbell:

The Lure of Dresden: Bellotto at the Court of Saxony
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 10 February — 28 April 2019

Bernardo Bellotto (1722–1780) is recognized as one of the greatest view painters in history, acquiring his fame in mid-18th-century Dresden as the court painter for the elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus II—who was also King Augustus III of Poland. Over the course of a decade, Bellotto produced dozens of breathtaking depictions of the city and its environs, most measuring over eight feet in width. The success and renown of these grand, expansive works would earn Bellotto prestigious commissions at prominent courts throughout Europe.

Bellotto’s magnificent paintings of Dresden are now in the collection of the Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery) of the Dresden State Art Collections and will be on loan to the Kimbell Art Museum for the special exhibition The Lure of Dresden: Bellotto at the Court of Saxony. They will be accompanied by portraits and allegories of the elector and his queen, as well as view paintings of Venice and Saxony by Bellotto’s uncle and teacher Antonio Canaletto and Dresden court painter Alexander Thiele. Visitors to the exhibition will have the unique opportunity to view the majesty that was Dresden in the 1700s. One of the greatest cities of 18th-century Europe, it is only now, following its near-total destruction in the Second World War, being rebuilt to its former glory—with the aid of Bellotto’s pictorial legacy.

This exhibition is organized by the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in cooperation with the Kimbell Art Museum.

 

Exhibition | Futuruins

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

Now on view at the Palazzo Fortuny:

Futuruins
Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 19 December 2018 — 24 March 2019

Curated by Daniela Ferretti and Dimitri Ozerkov with Dario Dalla Lana

Over 250 works from the Venetian Civic Museums and the State Hermitage Museum, as well as from other Italian and international public and private collections, illustrate the multiple meanings attributed to ruins through the centuries: from the architectural and sculptural remains of the Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian-Babylonian and Syrian civilisations, to contemporary art that looks at the physical and moral ruins of today’s society—ruins of its architecture, cities and suburbs, but also of men and ideas, as the result of time, negligence, degeneration, natural or political tragedies such as war and terrorism.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, View of the Foundations of the Theater of Marcellus, detail, from Antichità Romane, volume 4, 1756–57 (Venice: Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Museo Fortuny).

As a result of the collaboration between the City of Venice, the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, and the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg—strengthened by the agreements signed in recent years and the presence of ‘Ermitage Italia’ in the lagoon city—and following Dimitri Ozerkov’s proposal, Palazzo Fortuny will host the exhibition Futuruins from 19 December 2018 to 24 March 2019.

The exhibition reflects on the theme of ruins: an allegory for the inexorable passage of time, always uncertain and changeable, disputed between past and future, life and death, destruction and creation, nature and culture. The aesthetics of ruins is a crucial element in the history of Western civilisation. The ruin as concept symbolises the presence of the past but at the same time contains within itself the potential of the fragment: a fragment that comes from antiquity, covered by the patina of time, which with its cultural and symbolic implications also becomes a valid ‘foundation stone’ for building the future. It comes from the past, confers a wealth of meaning on the present, and offers an awareness to future projects.

The contemporary itinerary opens with the extraordinary environmental installation by Anne and Patrick Poirier and is followed by works by Acconci Studio, Olivio Barbieri, Botto & Bruno, Alberto Burri, Sara Campesan, Ludovica Carbotta, Ugo Carmeni, Lawrence Carroll, Giulia Cenci, Giacomo Costa, Roberto Crippa, Lynn Davis, Giorgio de Chirico, Federico de Leonardis, Marco Del Re, Paola De Pietri, Jean Dubuffet, Tomas Ewald, Cleo Fariselli, Kay Fingerle, Maria Friberg, Luigi Ghirri, Gioberto Noro, John Gossage, Thomas Hirschhorn, Anselm Kiefer, Francesco Jodice, Wolfgang Laib, Hiroyuki Masuyama, Jonatah Manno, Mirco Marchelli, Steve McCurry, Ennio Morlotti, Sarah Moon, Margherita Muriti, Claudio Parmiggiani, Lorenzo Passi, Fabrizio Prevedello, Dmitri Prigov, Judit Reigl, Christian Retschlag, David Rickard, Mimmo Rotella, Anri Sala, Alberto Savinio and Elisa Sighicelli. In line with the tradition of exhibitions at the Fortuny, there are also a series of works specifically made for Futuruins that offer new stimuli for reflection on the present, works by Franco Guerzoni, Christian Fogarolli, Giuseppe Amato, Renato Leotta, and Renata De Bonis.

Between the two chronological extremes of the exhibition, there is a series of masterpieces in various media—paintings, sculptures, applied arts, graphic works—to suggest the major themes being examined. Many have been selected from Venetian collections—ranging from the jellyfish by Arturo Martini and Franz von Stuck to the fire-lit nocturnal ruins of Ippolito Caffi and Urbino-made ceramics bearing themes of genesis and death—while others come from museums and private collections. For its part, the State Hermitage Museum has loaned more than 80 works by such artists as Albrecht Dürer, Monsù Desiderio, Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Jacopo and Francesco Bassano, Parmigianino, Veronese, Jacob van Host the Elder, Arturo Nathan, and Alessandro Algardi.

The contemporary relevance of ruins has been made apparent in the light of recent history, characterised by wars in which iconic and symbolic aspects stand out (the collapse of the Twin Towers, the devastation of the Baghdad museum, Palmyra…) and of the increasingly extreme climate changes on our planet.

Dimitri Ozerkov, ed., with contributions by Dimitri Ozerkov, Mikhail Piotrovsky, and Gabriella Belli, Futuruins: The Future of Ruins and Ruins of the Future (Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2019), 816 pages, ISBN 978-3775745413 (English edition), €50.

Exhibition | Anton Maria Zanetti and His Collections

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

The exhibition closed a few weeks ago, but the catalogue is available from ArtBooks.com:

A Life as a Work of Art: Anton Maria Zanetti and His Collections
Ca’ Rezzonico, Venice, 29 September 2018 — 7 January 2019

Curated by Alberto Craievich

Anton Maria Zanetti (1679–1767) was a central figure in the eighteenth-century history of Venetian collecting and in the world’s endorsement of Venetian art. An art patron and influential intermediary on behalf of nobles and sovereigns, commissioning and purchasing works by Venice’s most famous artists, Zanetti was perhaps the most influential character in the Venetian art scene of the time. Known as ‘il Vecchio’, or ‘di Girolamo’—to distinguish him from his namesake younger cousin, a famous librarian at the Marciana Library in Venice—Zanetti was not only a passionate collector but also a talented draughtsman and skilled engraver.

After his father’s death in 1711, he was forced to provide for the rest of the family as an insurance agent, but despite difficulties, this did not prevent him from following his own inclinations. A friend to artists such as Canaletto, Rosalba Carriera, Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, and Giambattista Tiepolo, Zanetti was in close contact with the most important European collectors. He himself assembled an extraordinary collection of antique gems, drawings, and prints that was dispersed after his death. He also promoted splendid publishing initiatives, most notably two volumes on ancient sculpture, now conserved in the vestibule of the Marciana Library and one of the most beautiful and luxurious illustrated publications of the entire eighteenth century. An inexhaustible collection of letters, now spread among libraries and private collectors, documents his dense network of relationships and friendships and offers a rare insight into the cultural life of the period.

To commemorate this extraordinary figure, the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia presents an exhibition highlighting Zanetti’s activities as an artist and patron. Testimonies from his life in the form of books, letters, engravings, and drawings—none of which are usually exhibited for conservation reasons—will be shown together with art from his collection, including works by Tiepolo, Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Palma il Giovane, and others, now preserved in the city’s museums, including the Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia, the Giorgio Cini Foundation, the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, and Venice’s civic museums, as well as in several private collections.

Alberto Craievich, La Vita Come Opera d’Arte: Anton Maria Zanetti e le sue collezioni (Antiga: Crocetta del Montello, 2018), 336 pages, ISBN: 978-8884351029, €38 / $60 (on sale for $42).

Exhibition | Maestro Van Wittel: Dutch Master of the Italian Cityscape

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 29, 2019

Caspar van Wittel, Piazza Navona, 1699, oil on canvas, 97 × 216 cm (Madrid: Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan at the Museo Nacional Thyssen- Bornemisza).

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Now on view at the Kunsthal KAdE:

Maestro Van Wittel: Dutch Master of the Italian Cityscape / Hollandse meester van het Italiaanse stadsgezicht
Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, 26 January — 5 May 2019

Kunsthal KAdE and Museum Flehite introduce the Netherlands to a world-renowned Dutch master who remained largely unknown in his country of birth, the Netherlands. Caspar Adriaensz van Wittel (1653–1736), also known as Gaspare Vanvitelli, became famous and revered in his adopted homeland of Italy. During the 17th and 18th century, he painted Rome, Naples, and Venice in minute detail, influencing famous Italian cityscape painters such as Canaletto and Bellotto. Van Wittel was born in Amersfoort, left around 1673 for Italy, earned a good reputation for himself there, and never returned to the Netherlands. Today, the vast majority of his works are in collections in Italy, England, and Spain. In the Netherlands, there are only a few drawings and a single gouache: View of Amersfoort in Museum Flehite. With the exhibition Maestro Van Wittel: Dutch Master of the Italian Cityscape, Museum Flehite and Kunsthal KAdE honour this master with a major retrospective from 26 January through 5 May 2019. It puts his extensive oeuvre in the context of his Dutch learning period and his influence on the later Italian vedutisti.

The exhibition at Kunsthal KAdE presents the entire Van Wittel story: the places he painted, the style he developed, his Dutch roots, his high-born patrons, and his undeniable influence in Italy. With this retrospective, Museum Flehite and Kunsthal KAdE want to give Caspar van Wittel his place in the canon of Dutch art history as maestro of the Italian cityscape.

Van Wittel’s Dutch Period

Caspar van Wittel was a student of Matthias Withoos, who had trained at Jacob van Campen’s painting school at the Randenbroek country estate in Amersfoort. Withoos’ masterpiece is his View of Amersfoort; commissioned in 1671 by the city government at the time, it was painted in the time that Van Wittel was training with him and therefore it is possible that the young student—he was 16 or 17 years old at the time—worked on it. Van Wittel relocated to Hoorn with Withoos in 1672. As a result of the move, he was neighbours with the painters Jan van der Heyden and Gerrit Berckheyde, who had developed a ‘pure’ rendering of the cityscape in Amsterdam and Haarlem. This ‘Dutch’ way of painting is conveyed in Van Wittel’s work.

Inventor of the Italian Cityscape

Accompanied by a fellow young painter—Jacob van Staverden—Van Wittel travelled to Rome sometime around 1673. In Rome, he found himself in the Dutch Schildersbent (‘painters’ clique’) faction of the Bentvueghels (‘birds of a feather’), a group that had been an artists’ colony for decades in the eternal city. In Rome, he became acquainted with the work of Lieven Cruyl and Abraham Genoels, who made topographic drawings of the city. He also met Cornelis Meyer, a mechanical engineer who was striving to land an assignment from the Pope to build water works along the Tiber. Meyer asked the young Caspar—now in his mid-20s—to help with the illustrations for the manuscript. One of the subjects that Van Wittel drew was Piazza del Popolo, the square where Van Wittel arrived in Rome from the north. Ultimately, he would paint this square some 15 times in his career, always from the same perspective.

From that moment (around 1680), Van Wittel also began capturing other places in Rome with his signature precision: the Tiber with its bridges and the Castel Sant’Angelo on the banks, the Piazza Navona, the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Square, the Quirinal, Villa Borghese, churches, streets, and smaller squares. He often repeated these compositions numerous times, too, working from a single basic drawing. From Rome he travelled to Naples, the countryside surrounding Rome (Tivoli), Florence, and Venice. In the lagoon city of Venice, he captured the view of San Marco and the Doge’s Palace from the water. He painted the majestic La Salute church at the entrance to the Grand Canal. Nowadays it belongs to the standard repertoire of Venetian cityscape painting, but Van Wittel was the first to paint it.

Van Wittel Inspires Canaletto

Around 1719, the young Venetian painter Antonio Canal was in Rome to paint several decorative pieces with his father. It is highly likely that he met Van Wittel during this time and saw a number of his Venetian cityscapes. Filled with inspiration, Canal, who would quickly be called Canaletto, dedicated himself entirely to this subject. At the time, the Grand Tour—an educational trip for young members of the nobility—became incredibly popular and Canaletto, together with his cousin Bernardo Bellotto, became the go-to painters of Venetian cityscapes that were snapped up by the travellers. Incidentally, Van Wittel led the way here, too; he had provided Grand Tour travellers—including Thomas Coke—with these sorts of ‘picture postcards’. Upon his return to England, Coke built Holkham Hall in the north of Norfolk, which was inspired in part by his travels in Italy and the work of architect Palladio.

Once he arrived in Rome, Van Wittel established an extensive network of patrons that included not only Roman aristocracy such as the Sacchetti and Colonna families—in whose palaces he took up residence from time to time—but also the Spanish nobleman Medinaceli, who lived in Rome as an ambassador, became the viceroy of Naples in 1696 and commissioned a total of 35 paintings by Van Wittel, most of which were views of Naples and around the city.

Photographer Wilschut Follows in Van Wittel’s Footsteps

As part of the exhibition, Rotterdam photographer Hans Wilschut was asked to follow in Van Wittel’s footsteps and capture a number of the places in Rome, Naples, Venice, and Amersfoort that Van Wittel frequently painted. Some of these places have remained essentially the same; some have been completely transformed. Just as Van Wittel liked to capture the urban hustle and bustle in his cityscapes at the time, Wilschut shows people today in the iconic settings. Hans Wilschut is also featured in the exhibition Stadsbeelden (‘Cityscapes‘) at Museum Flehite, from 9 February through 19 May 2019.

Works from International Collections in Amersfoort

The exhibition presents around 45 paintings and gouaches and approximately 30 drawings by Van Wittel from Italian, English, Spanish, German, and French collections. In addition, there are about 30 paintings and drawings by Dutch and Italian masters.

An events programme to accompany the exhibition will be organised in cooperation with the Friends of Caspar van Wittel Foundation. Bekking & Blitz will publish an exhibition catalogue in Dutch and English. This is the first time that a monograph on the artist will be available in these languages. The catalogue costs €30.

The exhibition Maestro Van Wittel: Dutch Master of the Italian Cityscape is made possible by the generous support of the Turing Foundation, the Mondriaan Fund, Fonds 21, the Municipality of Amersfoort, the Cultural Heritage Agency, and the Province of Utrecht.