Enfilade

Lecture Tour | Wolf Burchard on Charles Le Brun

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on September 21, 2017

Wolf Burchard, The Sovereign Artist: Charles Le Brun and the Image of Louis XIV

• Charleston Library Society, Charleston
Tuesday, 26 September 2017, 6:00

• Institute of Classical Architecture and Art / Boston Design Center
Friday, 29 September 2017, 2:00

• Institute of Classical Architecture and Art / New York School of Interior Design
Thursday, 5 October 2017, 6:00

• National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Friday, 6 October 2017, 3:30

• The Bard Graduate Center, New York
Tuesday, 10 October 2017, 12:15

King Louis XIV’s favorite artist, Charles Le Brun (1619–1690) has often been described as a “dictator of the arts in France”—a view Burchard reassesses in his new book, The Sovereign Artist (Holberton 2017). Le Brun was a gifted and versatile artist, an excellent painter and designer of tapestries, sculpture, architecture, and furniture. As Louis XIV’s principal painter and director of the Gobelins manufactory, he sought to translate the Sun King’s claim for absolute power into a visual form. This lecture will explore Le Brun’s different fields of activities and his relationship to the great monarch.

Wolf Burchard, an art and architectural historian and a specialist on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century royal patronage, is the Furniture Research Curator at Britain’s National Trust. From 2009 to 2014 he was Curatorial Assistant at the Royal Collection Trust, where he assisted Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures, in curating The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy, 1714–1760, an exhibition held at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, to commemorate the tercentenary of George I’s accession to the British Throne. He studied history of art and architecture at the universities of Tübingen and Vienna as well as the University of London, where he earned the MA and PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He regularly publishes and lectures on art and architectural patronage at the British, French, and German courts. He is a Trustee of the Georgian Group and a member of the Committee of the Society for Court Studies and of the Events Committee and Editorial Panel of the Furniture History Society.

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Workshop | Printing Time: French Almanacs

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on September 20, 2017

From the workshop programme:

Printing Time: Workshop on French Almanacs
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, Monday 16 October 2017

Almanac for the Year 1683 (The Universal Festivities), detail; published by Pierre Landry (ca. 1630–1701), Paris; etching, engraving and letterpress on paper (Waddesdon / National Trust, acc. no. 2669.4.3).

This is to announce a workshop at Waddesdon Manor in conjunction with the exhibition Glorious Years: French Calendars from Louis XIV to the Revolution. The workshop will explore themes around the production and consumption of French 17th-and 18th-century almanacs (book and print formats), while also looking at the broader context of the history of Time and its depiction during this period. Our distinguished speakers are drawn from across disciplines.

To register an interest in attending please email diane.bellis@nationaltrust.org.uk. A charge of £25 covers all catering costs. To secure a place, please call the Waddesdon booking office 01296 820414 (open 10:00–16:00) to pay using either a debit or credit card. If you have any dietary requirements, please let us know when you book your place.

P R O G R A M M E

10:00  Registration and coffee (Manor Restaurant)

10:30  Welcome and introduction by Pippa Shirley (Head of Collections, Waddesdon) and Rachel Jacobs (Curator, Waddesdon)

10:50  Morning Presentations
• Maxime Préaud (formerly conservateur général, département des Estampes et de la Photographie, Bibliothèque nationale de France), Les relations entre la France et l’Angleterre pendant le règne de Louis XIV, selon les almanachs muraux français
• Stephen Boyd Davis (Professor of Design Research, Royal College of Art), La Science des Temps: New Ideas of Time in the Eighteenth Century

12:10   Visit the exhibition Glorious Years with curator Rachel Jacobs and Adam Dant (Artist), The Mother of Parliaments: Annual Division of Revenue: A Print for the British Electorate, 2017. Information on Dant’s commissioned almanac is available here.

13:00  Lunch in Manor Restaurant

14:30  Afternoon Presentations
• Véronique Sarrazin (Maître de conférence d’histoire modern, Université d’Angers, Laboratoire CERHIO), Livres et estampes, deux économies de l’almanach dans la 1ère moitié du XVIIIe siècle à Paris
• Matthew Shaw (Librarian of the Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study), Almanacs for a New Era: The French Republican Calendar

16:00  Drinks with a chance to visit the manor and exhibition

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At Sotheby’s | Joseph Wright’s ‘An Academy by Lamplight’

Posted in Art Market by Editor on September 20, 2017

Press release via Art Daily (18 September 2017) . . .

Old Masters Evening Sale
Sotheby’s, London, 6 December 2017

Joseph Wright, An Academy by Lamplight, 1769, 127 × 102 cm.

The genius of Joseph Wright of Derby A.R.A. (1734–1797) will come under the spotlight this winter, when one of the artist’s most important candlelit pictures, and one of his last major works remaining in private hands, appears at auction at Sotheby’s. Painted in 1769, An Academy by Lamplight is a supreme example of Wright’s dramatic rendering of light and shade and his association with the Enlightenment movement. Almost certainly the picture that Wright exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1769, this rare painting was first securely recorded in the collection of Sir Savile Crossley, 1st Baron Somerleyton (1857–1935), the scion of a great carpet manufacturing dynasty from Halifax, and has remained in the possession of his family ever since. One of the star lots of Sotheby’s London Old Masters evening sale on 6 December 2017, it will be offered with an estimate of £2.5–3.5 million, the highest estimate for a work by Joseph Wright of Derby ever at auction.

Julian Gascoigne, Senior Specialist, British Paintings at Sotheby’s said: “Joseph Wright of Derby is one of a small and select group of British 18th-century artists whose work transcends national boundaries and speaks to a wider global sensibility. Drama and passion are at the core of his oeuvre and this is particularly true of this exceptional painting. The artist’s masterful use of light brings to life the sensual antique statue and brilliantly captures the contemporary aesthetic infatuation with the art of the past. With its overt reference to the classical legend of Pygmalion, and the transformative power of art, this is one of the most important works by the artist to come to the market in recent years and we look forward to presenting it to collectors around the world.”

Joseph Wright of Derby is widely regarded as one of Britain’s most interesting and versatile painters and his greatest works, such as An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (National Gallery, London), The Orrery (Derby Museums and Art Gallery), and A Grotto in the Kingdom of Naples with Banditti (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) have become icons of British art the world over.

An Academy by Lamplight is one such masterpiece, and one of the artist’s most famous and celebrated works. This is the first of two versions of the subject painted by Wright and most likely the one he exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1769—a period when Wright was rapidly establishing himself as one of the most exciting and innovative young artists in Britain. Whilst it has rarely been seen in public in the 250 years since, the other version, painted in 1770, was acquired by Paul Mellon in 1964 and is now in the collection at the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven.

Nymph with a Shell, first century CE, marble (Paris: Louvre, photo from Wikimedia Commons). Roman copy of a Hellenistic type.

In An Academy by Lamplight, Wright of Derby tackles a subject with a long and illustrious history dating back to the first academies of art established during the Renaissance in Italy. Wright may have been inspired by the profusion of such organisations in 18th-century Europe and especially in Britain, where the Royal Academy in London was founded just a year before the work was painted, in 1768. The picture depicts six young draughtsmen contemplating the cast of Nymph with a Shell, an antique Hellenistic statue much admired in the 18th century when it was housed in the Villa Borghese in Rome. Today it can be found in the Louvre.

Wright was closely associated with the key members of the Enlightenment and, in particular, with the group of scientists and industrialists who made up the intriguing Lunar Society. A peculiarly 18th-century fusion of science, the arts, philosophy and literature, the Society’s members challenged accepted beliefs and pushed the boundaries of scientific and intellectual exploration, counting among its members leading figures like Josiah Wedgewood, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Priestly, and Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles). Though Wright himself was never officially a member of the Lunar Society, he was intimately bound up in that world of intellectual, scientific and, commercial enterprise and drew succour from its activities, which forms the spiritual core of his art.

Wright ‘candlelit’ pictures, with their dazzling use of chiaroscuro, are in many ways the artistic manifestation of the intellectual endeavours of these luminaries of the Enlightenment: the introduction of light into darkness acting as a metaphor for the transition from religious faith to scientific understanding and enlightened rationalism.

New Book | Synagogues In Hungary, 1782–1918

Posted in books by Editor on September 19, 2017

Klein’s magnum opus was first published in Hungarian in 2011. It’s recently been translated into English. From the Central European Press:

Rudolf Klein, Synagogues In Hungary, 1782–1918 (Budapest: Terc Press, 2017), 800 pages, ISBN: 978 615544 5088, $120 / €106 / £92.

This is the first comprehensive study that systematically covers all synagogues in Hungary from the Edict of Tolerance by Joseph II to the end of World War I. Unlike prior attempts, dealing only with post-World-War-II Hungary, the geographical range of this study includes historic Hungary, including the Austro-Hungarian successor states. The study presents the architecture of Hungarian synagogues chronologically, giving special attention to the boom of synagogue architecture and art from 1867 to 1918, a time also called ‘the modern Jewish Renaissance’. The greatest contribution of this book is the innovative matrix method, which the author applies to determine the basic types of synagogues by using eight basic criteria. The book also deals with the problem of urban context, the position of the synagogue in the city and its immediate environment. There are two detailed case studies addressing how communities built their synagogues and how these were received by the general public. A theoretical summary tries to determine the role of post-emancipation period synagogues in general architectural history.

Rudolf Klein is Professor of modern architectural history, Szent István University, Miklós Ybl Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Budapest.

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Symposium | The Room Where It Happens

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on September 19, 2017

From Harvard Art Museums:

The Room Where It Happens: On the Agency of Interior Spaces
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 13–14 October 2017

Stephen Sewall, Copy of Inscription on Dighton Rock (detail), 1768, black ink on paper (Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 967-28-10/45474, digital file 99270006).

This symposium explores the spaces of artistic, artisanal, and intellectual production. From the artist’s studio to the alchemist’s lab, from the stateroom to the secret chamber, from the brick and mortar hall to the winding corridors of cyberspace, rooms and their contents have long impacted history, and transformed their inhabitants. Held in conjunction with the Museums’ special exhibition The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820, this symposium brings together artists, architects, and historians to consider the spaces where objects and ideas are generated.

This project is supported in part by major grants from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation. The exhibition and catalogue were also supported in part by the following endowed funds: the Bolton Fund for American Art, Gift of the Payne Fund; the Henry Luce Foundation Fund for the American Art Department; the William Amory Fund; and the Andrew W. Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund.

All events will take place at Menschel Hall, Lower Level, Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA. All symposium events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. For details on the programs, including how to register, visit the Harvard Art Museums website.

F R I D A Y ,  1 3  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 7

6:00pm  Keynote Lecture

• Making Room: Cartography, Collecting, and the Construction of Empire, Louis Nelson (Professor of Architectural History and the Associate Dean, School of Architecture, University of Virginia)

S A T U R D A Y ,  1 4  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 7

10:00  Rooms for Looking: Parlor / Museum / Studio

• ‘No One Could Prevent Us Making Good Use of Our Eyes’: Enslaved Spectators and Southern Plantation Spaces, Jennifer Van Horn (Assistant Professor of Art History and History, University of Delaware)

• The Room of Broken Bodies: Civil War Wounds, the Army Medical Museum, and Perceiving Re-Unification, Julia B. Rosenbaum (Associate Professor and Chair, Art History, Bard College; Director of Research and Publications, The Olana Partnership, Olana State Historic Site)

• The Symposium on Habitability: Robert Irwin, NASA, and the Case of the Artist as a Meta-Scholar, Boris Oicherman (Cindy and Jay Ihlenfeld Curator for Creative Collaborations, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota)

11:30  Rooms for Making: Library / Laboratory / Model

• ‘A Scene in a Library’: Inventing and Destroying Enlightenment Photography at Soho House, Matthew Hunter (Associate Professor, Department of Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University)

• Connected Interiors: Learning Architecture and Observation in Meiji Japan, Matthew Mullane (Ph.D. candidate, School of Architecture, Princeton University)

• Interior as Microcosm: The Production of Epistemologies, Ethics, and Identities at Biosphere 2, 1991–94, Meredith Sattler (Assistant Professor of Architecture, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)

2:00  Virtual Rooms: Theater / Period Room / Cockpit

• A Machine of Visibility: Paul Nelson’s Surgical Theater at the Cité Hospitalière de Lille, Nicholas Robbins (Ph.D. candidate, Department of the History of Art, Yale University)

• Visiting Mrs. M.—–‘s Cabinet: Period Room as Pedagogy, Sarah Anne Carter (Curator and Director of Research, The Chipstone Foundation)

• Bedroom Aviators—Flight Simulation and the Domestic Realm, Chad Randl (Visiting Lecturer in Architecture, Cornell University)

3:45  Closing Remarks

Follies and Wonder Rooms, Mark Dion (Conceptual Artist)
Introduced by Ruth Erickson (Mannion Family Curator, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston)

 

 

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Symposium | Fluctuating Alliances: Art, Politics, and Diplomacy

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on September 18, 2017

From the programme for the upcoming conference:

Fluctuating Alliances: Art, Politics, and Diplomacy in the Modern Era, 16th–18th Centuries
Technische Universität, Berlin, 21–22 September 2017

Sebastiano Conca, The Education of Achilles, 1727, oil on canvas, 59 × 74 cm (Madrid, Museo del Prado, inv. P02869).

In January 1722 after a few days of heavy rain in Rome the ephemeral ‘macchina d’arti cio’ built to celebrate the wedding between the Prince of Asturias and Isabel d’Orleans was finally burnt before the Palazzo di Spagna. The machine, designed by Domenico Paradisi, showcased a clear message of unity and power between the former enemies, France and Spain. At the summit, allegories of both countries shook hands before the representation of the Four Continents. This functioned as a gentle reminder to their enemies after the years of turmoil surrounding the War of Spanish Succession, which had deeply affected the balance of power in Europe.

Fluctuating Alliances: Art, Politics, and Diplomacy in the Modern Era (s. XVI–XVIII), the first International Symposium on Transnational Relations and the Arts, seeks to explore the role played by prints, drawings, and others kinds of artistic production, such as music and literature, which represented the changing alliances among kings, rulers, and countries in the fluctuating early modern political environment. Taking as an example the War of Spanish Succession, but not limited to it, we encourage researchers to explore the uses of art for that purpose.

T H U R S D A Y ,  2 1  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 7

9:15  Welcome by the convenor

9:30  War and Peace
Chair: Guy Rowlands (University of St. Andrews, UK)
• Alberto Rodríguez Martínez (UPO, Sevilla), An Impossible Peace: Views and Representations of the Twelve Years Truce from 1609 to 1621
• Anna Lisa Schwartz (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg), Iunguntur Iupiter et Sol: Picturing Peace between Louis XIV and Charles VI after the Treaty of Rastatt (1714)
• Francisco Zamora Rodríguez (CHAM-Centro de Humanidades, UNL-Lisboa), Microcon ictos e imagen en espacios portuarios ‘neutrales’ durante la Guerra de Sucesión Española

11:20  Coffee break

11:40  Jesuits and Diplomacy
Chair: Pilar Diez del Corral Corredoira (TU, Berlin)
• Lise Puyo (University of Pennsylvania), The 1676 Huron-Wendat Wampum Belt: Indigenous Negotiations with the Divine
• Mar García Arenas (CHAM-Centro de Humanidades, UNL-Lisboa), Las implicaciones diplomáticas de la reconciliación entre Roma y Lisboa a través de la numismática conmemorativa, 1769–70

13:00  Lunch break

14:30  Negotiating with Faith
Chair: Francisco Zamora Rodríguez (CHAM-Centro de Humanidades, UNL-Lisboa)
• Amanda Van der Drift (The University of Queensland, Brisbane), Picturing Politics and Diplomacy in the Early Years of the Franco-Ottoman Alliance (XVI)
• Pierre-Olivier Oullet (Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada), France Bringing Faith to the Hurons of New France: The Regent Anne of Austria and the Taking over of the Colony by Louis XIV
• Iris Haist (Graphischen Sammlung, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz), Herrschaft aus Marmor und Papier – Die Grabmonumente für Maria Clementina Sobieska und Jacob III. Stuart als Repräsenta- tionsinstrumente der römisch-katholischen Kirche

F R I D A Y ,  2 2  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 1 7

9:00  Court and Diplomatic Celebrations
Chair: Nicole Hegener (Humboldt Universität, Berlin)
• Philippa Woodcock (University of Warwick/ Oxford Brookes/ CNAM Paris), L‘ambition de l‘Espagnol: Reworks and Frontiers in Bourbon Paris
• Roland Béhar (École Normale Supérieure, Paris), Le héros qui sauve du monstre marin : les fêtes de 1612 et l’émulation symbolique franco-espagnole

10:10  Coffee break

10:30  Court and Diplomatic Celebrations, continued
Chair: Pilar Diez del Corral Corredoira (TU, Berlin)
• Danièle Lipp (Wien Universität), The Habsburg Emperor Charles VI and the Politics of Recruitment for His Music Chapels
• Luis Méndez Rodríguez and Rocío Orellana (Universidad de Sevilla), Arte y diplomacia en el siglo XVIII: La corte española en el Lustro Real

11:20  Final discussion with closing remarks by Diego Valverde Villena (Director of the Instituto Cervantes)

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New Book | Turin and the British in the Age of the Grand Tour

Posted in books by Editor on September 18, 2017

Scheduled for November publication from Cambridge UP:

Paola Bianchi and Karin Wolfe, eds., Turin and the British in the Age of the Grand Tour (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 506 pages, ISBN: 978  110714  7706, $135.

The Duchy of Savoy first claimed royal status in the seventeenth century, but only in 1713 was Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy (1666–1732), crowned King of Sicily. The events of the Peace of Utrecht (1713) sanctioned the decades-long project, the Duchy had pursued through the convoluted maze of political relationships between foreign powers. Of these, the British Kingdom was one of their most assiduous advocates, because of complimentary dynastic, political, cultural and commercial interests.

A notable stream of British diplomats and visitors to the Sabaudian capital engaged in an extraordinary and reciprocal exchange with the Turinese during this fertile period. The flow of travellers, a number of whom were British emissaries and envoys posted to the court, coincided, in part, with the itineraries of the international Grand Tour which transformed the capital into a gateway to Italy, resulting in a conflagration of cultural cosmopolitanism in early modern Europe.

Paola Bianchi teaches Early Modern History at the Università della Valle d’Aosta. She has researched and written on the journeys of various English travellers who came to Italy in the eighteenth century to be presented at the Savoy court and to be part of Piedmont society. Her publications include Onore e mestiere: Le riforme militari nel Piemonte del Settecento (2002); Cuneo in età moderna: Città e stato nel Piemonte d’antico regime (with A. Merlotti) (2002); Sotto diverse bandiere: L’internazionale militare nello stato sabaudo d’antico regime (2012); L’affermarsi della corte sabauda: Dinastie, poteri, élites in Piemonte e Savoia fra tardo Medioevo e prima età moderna (with L.C. Gentile) (2006); Le strategie dell’apparenza: Cerimoniali, politica e società alla corte dei Savoia in età moderna (with A. Merlotti) (2010); and Storia degli Stati sabaudi, 1416–1848 (with A. Merlotti) (2017).

Karin Wolfe is a Research Fellow at the British School at Rome. Her research focuses on topics in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Italian history, including art, architecture, patronage, and collecting, as well as the history of cardinals and the Grand Tour. Her publications include Roma Britannica: Art Patronage and Cultural Exchange in Eighteenth-Century Rome (edited with D. R. Marshall and S. Russell, 2011). She is presently completing a monograph on Francesco Trevisani, Francesco Trevisani (1656–1746): A Universal Painter, Catalogue Raisonné.

C O N T E N T S

List of figures
Contributors

Preface and Acknowledgements, Christopher J. Smith and Andrea Merlotti
Foreword, Martin Postle
Introduction, Paola Bianchi and Karin Wolfe

Part I | Britain in Turin: Politics and Culture at the Savoy Court
1  England and Savoy: Dynastic Intimacy and Cultural Relations under the Early Stuarts, Toby Osborne
2  Marriage Proposals: Seventeenth-Century Stuart–Savoy Matrimonial Prospects and Politics, Andrea Pennini
3  The Court of Turin and the English Succession, 1712–20, Edward Corp
4  The British Diplomatic Presence in Turin: Diplomatic Culture and British Elite Identity, 1688–1789/98, Christopher Storrs

Part II | Turin: Gateway to Grand Tour Society
5  The British at the Turin Royal Academy: Cosmopolitanism and Religious Pragmatism, Paola Bianchi
6  Thomas Coke in Turin and the Turin Royal Academy, Andrew Moore
7  ‘Never a More Favorable Reception than in the Present Juncture’: British Residents and Travellers in and about Turin, 1747–48, Edoardo Piccoli
8  The British and Freemasonry in Eighteenth-Century Turin, Andrea Merlotti

Part III | Torino Britannica: Diplomacy and Cultural Brokerage
9  John Molesworth: British Envoy and Cultural Intermediary in Turin, Karin Wolfe
10  Silver from London and Turin: Diplomacy by Display and George Hervey, Earl of Bristol, Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of Savoy, 1755–58, James Rothwell
11  The ‘Savoyard’: The painter Domenico Duprà and His British Sitters, Jonathan Yarker
12  The Culture of Confession: The Sardinian Chapel in London in the Eighteenth Century, Paola Cozzo

Part IV | Turin and Britain: Architectural Crossroads
13  Architects and Kings in Grand Tour Europe, Tomasso Manfredi
14  A Homage from Turin: Filippo Juvarra’s Sketches for Lord Burlington, Cristina Ruggero
15  Crossing Borders: The Pioneering Role of the Architect-Engineer Giovanni Battista Borra between Piedmont and Britain, Olga Zoller

Part V | Britain and Turin: Chinoiserie as an International Aesthetic
16  Chinoiserie in Piedmont: An International Language of Diplomacy and Modernity, Christopher M. S. Johns
17  ‘Alla China’: The Reception of International Decorative Models in Piedmont, Cristina Mossetti
18  The British Garden in Piedmont in the Late Eighteenth Century: Variations on the Picturesque, the Anglo-Chinese, and the Landscape Garden, Paolo Cornaglia

Part VI | Turin in Britain: Cultural Exchange in Grand Tour Europe
19  A Plurality of Pluras: The Plura Family of Sculptors between Turin and Britain, Alastair Laing
20  ‘A Memorable Era in the Instrumental Music of This Kingdom’: Piedmontese Musicians in London in the Latter Half of the Eighteenth Century, Annarita Colturato
21  The British Baretti: Didactics and Criticism, Cristina Bracchi
22  Vittorio Alfieri and the ‘English Republic’: Reflections on an Elective Affinity, Francesca Fedi

Appendices
A  British Diplomats and Visitors to Turin in the Eighteenth Century, Christopher Storrs
Sabaudian Diplomats to London in the Eighteenth Century, Andrea Merlotti
B  British Attendees at the Turin Royal Academy, Paola Bianchi
C  Letters from the Molesworth–Galilei Correspondence, 1721–25, Karin Wolfe

References
Index

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Exhibition | Making Beauty: The Ginori Porcelain Manufactory

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 17, 2017

Now on view at the Bargello:

Making Beauty: The Ginori Porcelain Manufactory and Its Progeny of Statues
La Fabbrica della Bellezza: La manifattura Ginori e il suo popolo di statue
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, 8 May — 1 October 2017

The exhibition is divided into six thematic sections illustrating the transformation of sculptural invention into works of porcelain. The first section opens with an 18th-century life-size bronze Venus, a copy of the celebrated Medici Venus in the Uffizi Tribune. Sculpted by Massimo Soldani Benzi in 1702, the bronze was commissioned by Prince Johann Adam Andreas I of Liechtenstein and still forms part of the present prince’s collection, this exhibition marking its first return to Italy in over 350 years. It stands side by side with a large porcelain Venus made by Gasparo Bruschi in 1747–48, probably using the plaster moulds which Carlo Ginori purchased from Soldani Benzi’s workshop. The two Venuses are, in turn, displayed alongside a monumental porcelain Mercury based on another Classical statue in the Uffizi Tribune. The Mercury, now in the Ginori Lisci Collection, is on display for the very first time in this exhibition, not only with the Venus but also with the monumental Fireplace alongside which it stood in the old Museo di Doccia until 1962, because the Museo Ginori has kindly granted the loan of the two most important works in its entire collection: the Medici Venus reproducing the celebrated statue in the Uffizi Tribune, and the monumental Fireplace specially restored for the exhibition.

Tempietto Ginori, modeled by Gaspero Bruschi, 1750–51; glazed and painted porcelain, heigh 167 cm including ebony base (Museo dell’Academia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona).

The second section is devoted to the superlative Ginori Tempietto Ginori, a masterpiece by Gasparo Bruschi which Carlo Ginori himself donated to the Accademia Etrusca in Cortona. The Tempietto, of exceptional sophistication in terms of its technique and design and unique in terms of its size, summarises in concentrated form not only the artistic aims but also the political aspirations of the manufactory’s founder. Specially restored for the exhibition, it is returning to Florence for the first time since 1757. Alongside it we have Giambologna’s small bronze and wax models of Mercury, from the Bargello Collection and the Museo Ginori respectively, which inspired the Mercury atop Gaspare Bruschi’s Tempietto.

The next room hosts two large, complex bronze and porcelain versions of the Pietà. In 1708, Soldani made the model for the large Lamentation over the Dead Christ, of which numerous versions are known. Carlo Ginori purchased the plaster moulds—some of which are on display in the exhibition—which were used for the porcelain version that the Marchese Ginori gave to the influential Cardinal Neri Corsini around 1745. The group was made in fifty-nine different porcelain parts, individually fired and then assembled by the manufactory’s craftsmen in Sesto Fiorentino.

Somewhat smaller but equally sophisticated in terms of their execution are the groups of Judith with the Head of Holofernes that comprise the exhibition’s fourth thematic section. Gaspare Bruschi’s porcelain version, on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum, is displayed in an unprecedented dialogue with Agostino Cornacchini’s terracotta model, the first sculptural study for this popular group.

Lamentation over the Dead Christ, after Massimo Soldani Benzi, 1745–50, glazed porcelain, height 71.5 cm not including ebony base (Rome: Palazzo Corsini).

This is followed by Soldani’s precious bronze ‘pictorial’ relief depicting the Passing of St. Joseph and the wax model based on the bronze, from the Bargello Collection, which are on display alongside the preparatory study in unfired clay, it too in Italy for the very first time, testifying to the Ginori Manufactory’s plan to produce porcelain versions of it—none of which have, however, survived.

The exhibition’s ‘grand finale’ is the monumental porcelain Fireplace, an absolutely unique work, which may be attributed to Doccia’s chief modeller Gasparo Bruschi and to Domenico Stagi, a stage set designer and painter of quadrature. The piece is a veritable triumph of technical mastery and ornamental sophistication. Its upper part hosts porcelain versions of works by illustrious sculptors, the oval bas-relief with ‘putti distilling flowers’ after a bronze by Massimiliano Soldani Benzi and copies of Dawn and Dusk which Michelangelo carved for the tomb of Lorenzo de’ Medici in the Medici Chapels.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue rich in new research, published by Mandragora in both Italian and English. The catalogue entries explore the manufactory’s artistic and political history, using essays focusing on the works on display to set Ginori’s porcelain sculpture, whether monumental or on a smaller scale, in the broader artistic and political context of the time, and presenting a number of important new attributions. The catalogue also contains fascinating input from experts in the manufacture of porcelain, not only reviewing the manufactory’s history but also illustrating previously unpublished material and highlighting the unique technical nature of Ginori’s inventions.

La Fabbrica della bellezza has also served as a formative experience for two university students who have taken part in all of the various phases in the development of the exhibition project and drafted the catalogue entries on the basis of an apprenticeship agreement with Florence University’s SAGAS Department. The exhibition and catalogue have been designed and produced with a grant from the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, with the sponsorship of Richard Ginori and with the collaboration of Firenze Musei; Opera Laboratori Fiorentini and Arteria have also contributed in their capacity as partners for the layout and transport respectively.

In addition to acquainting the general public with an exceptional chapter in the history of Florentine sculpture, the exhibition also sets out to draw the attention of Florentine and international public opinion to the fate of the Museo di Doccia. The generosity of international loans for the exhibition points to the intense interest in the the museum and the manufactory shown by numerous institutions both in Italy and abroad. In that connection, we would like to express our special gratitude to HRH Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein for granting the exhibition his lofty patronage.

Tomaso Montanari and Dimitrios Zikos, eds., Making Beauty: The Ginori Porcelain Manufactory and Its Progeny of Statues (New York: ACC Publishing, 2017), 160 pages, ISBN: 978 88746 13496, $30. Also available in Italian.

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Note (added 17 September 2017) — Aileen Dawson provides a review of the exhibition in the current issue of The Burlington Magazine (September 2017), pp. 748–49.

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Exhibition | Luigi Crespi

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 16, 2017

Now on view at the Museo Davia Bargellini in Bologna:

Luigi Crespi: Portraitist in the Age of Pope Lambertini
Museo Davia Bargellini, Bologna, 15 September — 3 December 2017

 Curated by Mark Gregory d’Apuzzo and Irene Graziani

The Musei Civici d’Arte Antica dell’Istituzione Bologna Musei, in collaboration with the Department of Arts at the University of Bologna, present Luigi Crespi: Portraitist in the Age of Pope Lambertini, the first exhibition dedicated to the painter and art dealer Luigi Crespi (1708–1779), the son of the famous painter Giuseppe Maria Crespi (1665–1747).

The exhibition is a tribute to this multifaceted figure—among the most interesting of the artistic and literary panorama of eighteenth-century Bologna—in relation to the climate of cultural renewal favored by the enlightened pastoral work of Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, who in 1740 became Pope Benedict XIV. The exhibition presents the most significant core of Crespi’s paintings here, together with other works from the Municipal Art Collections and loans from other important museums and private collectors. The exhibition is organized around seven thematic sections that chart the most important phases of the artist’s career.

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La mostra, a cura di Mark Gregory D’Apuzzo e Irene Graziani, è la prima dedicata al pittore, molte opere del quale sono esposte presso il Museo Davia Bargellini e le Collezioni Comunali d’Arte. Figura poliedrica fra le più interessanti del panorama artistico e letterario di Bologna durante l’episcopato del cardinale Prospero Lambertini (1731–54), e dunque nel periodo di apertura della città alle istanze di rinnovamento culturale sostenute dal vescovo e poi papa Benedetto XIV (1740–58), Luigi Crespi è protagonista della mostra realizzata grazie alla collaborazione di importanti Istituzioni museali cittadine e collezionisti privati.

Luigi, pur essendo soprattutto celebre come letterato e autore del terzo tomo della Felsina Pittrice, edita nel 1769, ha percorso con successo anche la carriera artistica, intrapresa sotto la guida del padre fra la fine degli anni venti e gli inizi degli anni trenta del Settecento. Un’attività che egli stesso, molti anni più tardi, nella biografia del padre (1769), sosterrà di aver svolto «per divertimento», per significare il privilegio accordato al prestigioso ruolo, assunto a partire dagli anni cinquanta, di scrittore e critico d’arte, che gli frutterà infatti l’aggregazione alle Accademie di Firenze (1770), di Parma (1774) e di Venezia (1776).

La sua produzione figurativa tuttavia, in particolar modo quella rappresentata dal più congeniale genere del ritratto, lo rivela sensibile al dialogo con la scienza moderna e con la libera circolazione delle idee dell’Europa cosmopolita. Nonostante l’impegno applicato anche all’ambito dell’arte sacra, cui Luigi si dedica almeno fino agli inizi degli anni sessanta, è soprattutto nella ritrattistica che raggiunge esiti di grande efficacia, molto apprezzati dalla committenza. «Ebbe un particolare dono di ritrarre le fisionomie degli Uomini, e ne fece una serie di Ritratti di Cavaglieri e Damme», scrive infatti Marcello Oretti (1760–80), celebrandone l’abilità nell’adattare la formula del codice ritrattistico alle esigenze della clientela.

Come dimostrano il Ritratto di giovane dama con il cagnolino, o i tre ritratti dei Principi Argonauti in origine nel collegio gesuitico di San Francesco Saverio, la pittura di Crespi junior, già addestrato dal genitore Giuseppe Maria ad un fare schietto, attento al naturale e al «vero», evolve verso un nitore della visione che risalta i dettagli, in un’analitica investigazione della realtà, memore di certi esempi (Balthasar Denner e Martin van Meytens) osservati durante un viaggio di sette mesi fra Austria e Germania, dove visita le Gallerie delle corti di Dresda e Vienna (1752). Così li commenterà infatti Gian Pietro Zanotti in una nota manoscritta: «Bisogna dire il vero che ora fa ritratti bellissimi, e di ottimo gusto, in un certo stile oltramontano».

Dal confronto con il «grande mondo»—per utilizzare un’espressione di Prospero Lambertini, che fu in stretti rapporti con Giuseppe Maria Crespi e fu in gran parte il responsabile della carriera ecclesiastica del figlio, conferendogli la carica di «segretario generale della visita della città e della diocesi», il canonicato di Santa Maria Maggiore (1748) ed ancora nominandolo suo cappellano segreto—Luigi deriva dunque la conferma della validità del codice del ritratto ufficiale, che gli consente di rappresentare i personaggi, qualificandone i gusti sofisticati, le abitudini raffinate, i comportamenti eleganti e disinvolti da assumere nella vita di società, dove si praticano i rituali di quella “civiltà della conversazione” che nella moderna Europa riunisce aristocratici e intellettuali in un dialogo paritario, dettato dalla condivisione di regole e valori comuni. Ma la prossimità con la cultura lambertiniana lo conduce anche a sperimentare, dapprima ancora con il sostegno del padre, poi autonomamente (Ritratto di fanciulla), nuove tipologie di ritratto, in cui lo sguardo incrocia i volti di individui del ceto borghese: talvolta sono gli oggetti a raccontare con la loro perspicuità di definizione la dignità del lavoro (Ritratto di Antonio Cartolari), altre volte sono invece i gesti caratteristici, l’inquadratura priva di infingimenti (Ritratto di fanciulla), la resa confidenziale del modello, quasi al limite della caricatura (Ritratto di Padre Corsini), a fare emergere il valore umano di quella parte della società, cui papa Lambertini riconosceva un ruolo fondamentale nel rinnovamento.

Irene Graziani and Mark Gregory d’Apuzzo, Luigi Crespi: Ritrattista nell’età di Papa Lambertini (Milan: Silvana, 2017), 144 pages, ISBN: 978  88366  37928, $35.

 

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Call for Papers | Hazardous Objects

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on September 16, 2017

Hazardous Objects: Function, Materiality, and Context
Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, Wilmington, Delaware, 26–28 April 2018

Proposals due by 10 November 2017

The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware invites submissions for papers to be given at the Fifteenth Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars. We invite papers that identify and consider the production and use of hazardous material culture. Whether through composition or intended function, objects are hazardous or may become hazardous. Certain materials, organic or artificial, exist as hazards to humans. Additionally, hazards are often embedded in the material environment and affect our experience of domestic, institutional and public space.

What makes an object hazardous? What cultural, social, and transhistorical processes create hazards? How are materials and material culture used in hazardous ways? In concept and in practice, hazards affect the everyday awareness of danger, risk, or contamination. Alternatively, humans create hazards through the use or subversion of objects and materials. What level of complicity should one assume for their creation or maintenance?

This symposium is not bound by any temporal or geographical limits. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• Designing Hazards
• Intentional Hazards
• Accidental Hazards
• Social hazards
• Hazards in historical perspective
• Responding to hazards – defining and regulating hazards, handling hazardous objects.

We invite panel submissions in addition to individual submissions.

Finally, we encourage papers that reflect upon and promote an interdisciplinary
approach to hazards and hazardous material culture. Disciplines represented at past symposia have included American studies, anthropology, archaeology, consumer studies, English, gender studies, history, museum studies, and the histories of art, architecture, design, and technology. We welcome proposals from graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and those beginning their teaching or professional careers.

Proposals should be no more than 300 words and include the focus of your object-based research and the significance of your project. Relevant images are welcome. Programs and paper abstracts from past symposia are posted here. Send your proposal, with a current CV of no more than two pages, to emerging.scholars@gmail.com.

Proposals must be received by 5pm on Friday, 10 November 2017. Speakers will be notified of the committee’s decision in January 2015. Confirmed speakers will be asked to provide digital images for use in publicity and are required to submit their final papers by 15 March 2018. Travel grants will be available.

2018 Emerging Scholars Co-Chairs
Erica Lome (History of American Civilization)
Kiersten E. Mounce (Art History)
Allison Robinson (Winterthur Program in American Material Culture)
Victoria Sunnergren (Art History)
University of Delaware