Category Archives: Fine Arts

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).

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Fondazione Giorgio Cini: borse di studio

biblioteca_del_longhena-190x120La Fondazione Giorgio Cini di Venezia offre borse di studio residenziali da 3 e 6 mesi a PhD e post-doc interessati a trascorrere un periodo di studio a Venezia per lavorare su temi di storia dell’arte, storia di Venezia, musicologia, letteratura, teatro, libri antichi. Oltre a queste borse, vi è un bando specificamente rivolto a studenti di origine italiana. Per ulteriori informazioni, contattare Marta Zoppetti del Centro Vittore Branca della Fondazione.

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Enfilade, Venetian Painting, Remembering David Rosand

Sally Grant   New York

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Here is an item from a recent issue of the newsletter Enfilade that will interest ACIS readers (Enfilade is edited by the tireless and ineffably charming Craig Hanson who keeps everyone in eighteenth-century studies, especially art and architecture, informed about what is going on in the way of exhibitions, conferences and publications). It signals the opening this week of a Venetian painting exhibition, In Light of Venice: Venetian Painting in Honor of David Rosand, at the Otto Naumann Gallery, New York, which lasts until 12 February 2016. The title recalls the distinguished art historian of Renaissance Venice who died in 2014 and in whose honour a new Italian professorship is to be established at Columbia University. Some of the profits from the exhibition will be donated to the David Rosand Tribute Fund at the university to support the position.

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Assessing creativity

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Andrea del Sarto: Portrait of a Young Man (c.1517-1518)

From the transcript of an early research assessment exercise in the field of art history: ‘Professor Vasari, would you like to lead off for the panel on the work of Andrea del Sarto? I see he is currently exhibiting those odd drawings of his in New York.’ ‘Thank you, Chair, yes, at the Frick. Ah, the divine Andrea! Not the truly divine, I should say at once …. a certain timidity of spirit … a lack of elaboration perhaps, even of grandeur … a rare spirit of course ..’ ‘Yes, yes, Professor, fewer words and more numbers, please: what would you give him – 4* world-leading quality or is he just an ordinary 2* internationally-recognised chappie?’ ‘Difficult, Chair, such an odd fellow, prefers Florence to Paris, but certainly a scholar, a master of sfumato too. Perhaps the panel might consider a 3*?’. ‘Thank you, Professor. Our consultant, Professor Rowland, has been rather more generous about his work. Sublime, she says, exhilarating too…’

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The Diva in Modern Italian Culture

ITS_150pxThe latest issue (vol.70, no.3, August 2015) of the journal Italian Studies, entitled The Diva in Modern Italian Culture, explores a national case that has been largely overlooked in the extensive scholarship on the phenomenon of the diva in literature, theatre, and opera. It takes a long historical perspective, with the contributors discussing examples all the way from Isabella Andreini (1562-1604) to Anna Magnani (1908-1973) and including Antonia Cavallucci and Eleanora Duse. Recurring themes in the articles include feminine beauty, ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’, self-promotion and marketing, the contradictory image of femininity and its relationship to contemporary values.

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Venetian Old Master Drawings, and a Contemporary Response, at the Ashmolean, Oxford

Sally Grant   New York

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1682-1754), Head of a Youth, Ashmolean Museum

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1682-1754), Head of a Youth © Ashmolean Museum

A major early-modern Venetian drawing exhibition has opened at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Focusing on works from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, Titian to Canaletto: Drawing in Venice should be a visual delight. Considering other recent exhibitions on this subject in Venice, LA, and New York (both in 2012 and 2013-14, as reviewed here), however, the museum’s emphasis on its “ground breaking” attention to the role drawing played for Venetian artists is perhaps a tad overstated. Nevertheless, when it comes to the art of Venice, the more shows the merrier.

This is particularly the case when exhibitions bring to view drawings that are often sequestered in archives away from the public’s gaze. Each opportunity to look closely at such works brings with it the chance of new understanding of aspects of art and humanity. And unlike the previously mentioned exhibitions, where the works were all drawn from US collections, the Ashmolean is displaying its own drawings alongside loans from the Uffizi in Florence and Oxford’s Christ Church. This will create the UK’s first prominent exhibition devoted to the drawings of the Venetian Old Masters.

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Site of Resistance: The Popular Piety of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato

 Shannon Gilmore   University of California, Santa Barbara

260px-Prato,_Santa_Maria_delle_CarceriThis summer I enjoyed a month-long sojourn in Florence to expand my dissertation project on Central Italian miraculous image cults established in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, specifically the cult of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato. My trip got off to a promising start: I had the good fortune to attend the special mass marking the anniversary of Santa Maria delle Carceri’s first miracle. I was immediately grateful that I had arrived early to snag a seat, as the interior of Giuliano da Sangallo’s church was bursting at the seams with the faithful whose eyes were fixed on the miraculous image of the Virgin and Child with Saints Leonard and Stephen (c. 1350) above the high altar. The cult’s continuing significance to the diocese of Prato was immediately evident as a television cameraman ducked in and out of the tightly packed crowd to capture a perfect shot of the bishop who proudly wore a vestment bearing a screen-printed copy of the Marian image.

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