Category Archives: Fine Arts

Senses of Italy: Melbourne Masterclass

Scent, sight, sound, taste, touch: all Italian-style. They are covered in a programme of Thursday evening lectures, Melbourne Masterclass : Senses of Italy, at the University of Melbourne, 6.15 – 8.15pm, 5 October – 2 November 2017. The series starts with Catherine Kovesi on Renaissance perfumes (Venice as olfactory heaven) and Antonio Artese on scent and Aquaflor (5 Oct). Then Christopher Marshall looks at Artemisia Gentileschi’s correspondence (‘it’s all about the money’) and Mark Nicholls at Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy (12 Oct). John Weretka uses paintings and poetry to examine the instruments, repertoires and status of Renaissance musicians (upwardly mobile), followed by Malcolm Angelucci on poetics, music and madness in Italy before 1914 (19 Oct). John Hajek and Anthony White consider Futurism and food, the art and appetites of the antigrazioso (26 Oct). Finally Andrea Rizzi explores the ideas and images of Renaissance texts (‘tactile values’), and Carl Villis reveals some attributions and reattributions of Italian Renaissance art in the National Gallery of Victoria (2 Nov). Further details on the contributions, authors, venue and registration can be found here.

Tagged , , , , ,

Award of the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017

ACIS  is very pleased to announce that the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017 has been awarded to Monique Webber (University of Melbourne) for her essay ‘”In Search of Universal Icons”: Interrogating the Superstar Phenomenon of Early Modern Art through the Photography of Jo-Anne Duggan’. It shows how Jo-Anne Duggan’s photographs – notably those in her exhibitions Before the Museum (2000-2002), Impossible Gaze (2002-2005), and Wondrous Possessions (2010) – explore the impact of the passage of time on the works of forgotten masters and the way we now reflect on them. The essay reveals how Jo-Anne’s approach to Renaissance artworks uncovers the complex marks of superstar culture, the dominant form of our contemporary engagement with art and often regarded as a distinctive symptom of the modern age.  We are also very pleased to give the Highly Commended award to Laelie Greenwood (Monash University) for her essay ‘Private Memory, Public Spaces: An Examination of Memory and Monument within Italian Immigrant Experience in Carlton’.  She analyses the architecture of Malbourne’s Carlton area, using Jo-Anne Duggan’s writings to explore the ways in which Italian-Australians developed a distinctive architectural style in their house facades and renovations to convey their enduring links to the country they had left.

Tagged , , ,

War in the Sunshine: the British in Italy 1917-1918

estorick-collection-1024x858This is the title of the current exhibition at the newly renovated Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in Highbury, London. The Collection, opened in 1998, concentrates on Futurist paintings (Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà) and works by Giorgio De Chirico, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio Morandi and Mario Sironi. ‘War in the Sunshine‘ (13 Jan – 19 March) covers the largely forgotten British participation in the final stages of the war on one of its most difficult and dangerous fronts – North East Italy – depicted by official war artists (Sidney Carline, himself a pilot) and photographers (Ernest Brooks and William Brunell).

Tagged , ,

‘Almost spectral in their otherness’

410martin_bogren_italia_special_edition_with_printThat’s a reviewer’s comment on the way the people captured in Martin Bogren’s recent Italia (Max Ström 2016) look.  The Swedish photographer spent three years in Naples, Palermo, Bologna and Turin to produce a black-and-white portrayal of streets and subjects which seem suspended in time. ‘Been wandering around for days now. Street after street. With a heavy heart and loneliness as a constant companion. I’ve forgotten why I’m here and what I’m doing. A camera clutched in my hand, increasingly fearful, with a cowardly posture’.  You can see the striking results of this apparently forlorn enterprise here.


Risk-taking, city-living, document-losing, Baroque-deploying: Italy then and probably also now

the_cardsharps-300x213Four research projects related wholly or partly to Italy have been funded for 2017 and beyond by the Australian Research Council. In an exploration of the cultural history of capitalism Nic Baker (Macquarie) will be analysing how merchants and gamblers took financial risks, rational and irrational, in Renaissance Italy. Nick Eckstein (Sydney) will use the health records of the door-to-door ‘Visitation’ of every poor household in plague-ridden Florence in 1630 to illuminate everyday urban life as experienced by the otherwise voiceless inhabitants. John Gagné (Sydney) will be mapping the social and cultural effects of paper’s introduction to Europe from 1200-1800, focusing on both intended  (censorship, document suppression, prohibitions) and unintended (fires, rot, vermin) loss of documents and its consequences for repression and reinvention. Jaynie Anderson, Shane Carmody and Max Vodola (Melbourne) will track the unstinting efforts of the first Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, James Goold (1812-1886), an Irishman educated in Italy, to use his collection of books and Italian Baroque paintings to convey the intensity of European religious experience to congregations at risk of distraction by the gold discovered in Victoria in 1851.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Italian Art and Politics in the New York Press

Sally Grant   New York

Aside from the news a few days ago that two stolen Van Gogh paintings were recovered near Naples, the New York press has covered Italy’s art and political worlds in a number of recent articles. After Virginia Raggi became the first female mayor of Rome earlier this year, Katie Parla reported on women’s status in the city in “There’s Never Been a Better Time to be a Woman in Rome” for New York Magazine. Though she notes that there are still plenty of sexist obstacles to overcome, the article emphasises a new optimism in Rome, where women are influencing city life in ever-increasing ways. Meanwhile, over at the New York Times, Rachel Donadio wrote of the tricky manoeuvring called for when art and politics collide in her account of the bureaucratic obstacles faced by—another first—the new, non-Italian, director of the Uffizi.

Continue reading


CfP: An Eye on Italy: Continuities and transformations in Italian visual culture, 24-25 Nov 2016

Italian conference banner_v2Flinders University, Griffith University, Victoria University of Wellington and the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies are holding an international conference, An Eye on Italy: Continuities and transformations in Italian visual culture, on 24-25 November 2016 at Flinders in the City, 182 Victoria Square, Adelaide, South Australia. The conference will explore recent developments in Italian visual culture with the aim of bringing together expertise in the areas of photography, the fine arts, film and media studies, fashion and design in order to encourage novel exchanges and collaborations. Among the keynote speakers will be Giancarlo De Cataldo. We welcome papers from a variety of disciplinary, interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives, including the teaching of visual arts and the use of visual cultural products in teaching Italian language and culture. Abstracts, following the format below, should reach the organisers, Luciana d’Arcangeli (Flinders), Claire Kennedy (Griffith) and Sally Hill (VUW) by 30 May 2016 (extended from 15 May).

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

The Pleasures of Allegory: Rethinking ‘Susanna and the Elders’

susanna-and-the-elders.jpg!xlSmallPatricia Simons, Professor of Art History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, will give a talk, The Pleasures of Allegory: Rethinking ‘Susanna and the Elders’ , in Theatre 1, Alan Gilbert Building-G21, at the University of Melbourne on Wednesday, 9 March 2016, 5.30pm – 6.45pm (admission free but booking required here). Tintoretto’s ‘Susanna and the Elders’ (c.1555) is commonly read as a case of male voyeurism, in subject and purpose, or as mere moralizing allegory. This paper moves away from each reductive extreme by re-examining the story’s history and visual effect.

Continue reading

Tagged ,

Piero della Francesca: la fortuna, l’oblio, la riscoperta, la mitografia

250px-Battista_sforza_cast393m1_carra_amante_298Piero della Francesca da Francesco Laurana a Carlo Carrà, passando per Paolo Uccello, Edgar Degas e Edward Hopper (tra molti altri), è il tema della mostra, Piero della Francesca: indagine su un mito, che si tiene a Forlì nei musei San Domenico dal 13 febbraio al 26 giugno 2016. Le opere esposte (che comprendono anche libri) sono 250, distribuite nell’arco di cinque secoli in illustrazione dell’importanza di Piero della Francesca per artisti famosi e meno famosi, in Italia e oltre.

Tagged , ,

Francis Towne’s Rome, 1780-1

Born in 1739 to a London grain merchant, apprenticed to a coach painter, interested in landscape painting, Francis Towne went to Rome in 1780, painted 52 watercolours of its sights and monuments, sold none of them, applied 11 times to join the Royal Academy, failed each time, died in 1816, disappeared from art history, his paintings dispersed. Laura Cumming summarises his life as a pointer to the first complete exhibition of those watercolours since 1805, Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne’s Watercolours of Rome at the British Museum (21 Jan – 14 Aug 2016).

Tagged , ,