Tag Archives: exhibitions

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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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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William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain (under Italian influence)

Sally Grant   New York

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Chiswick House with statue of Palladio © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth

Anyone heading to London in the next couple of months or so may want to check out the current exhibition being held at the V&A, William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain. While the title itself doesn’t convey any obvious Italian links, like so many others who made the Grand Tour during the eighteenth century, Kent was very much influenced by the art and culture of Italy. This is especially thought-provoking here as the organisers present Kent, who was a painter, designer, and architect, as integral to the development of a style of art that reflected the ideals of a new, Georgian, British nation. (The exhibition is one of a number of events this year that celebrate the 300th year anniversary of the Hanoverian accession to the throne in 1714.)

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Eighteenth-Century Venetian Drawings in New York

Sally Grant   New York

tiepolo_1997_27_2The recent post on Angelo Cattaneo’s upcoming paper got me thinking about Venice. Having recently completed my PhD at the University of Sydney on eighteenth-century Venetian gardens and villa culture, the city and its territory are never far from my thoughts. Recently, however, I was lucky enough to see a wonderful exhibition, ‘Tiepolo, Guardi, and Their World: Eighteenth-Century Venetian Drawings’, at the Pierpont Morgan Library in NYC, where I now live.

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Los Angeles: Gardens at the Getty

Pippa Salonius   CMRS  UCLA

The incredible thing about the Getty is its ability to consistently produce new and exciting temporary shows of outstanding quality every two or three months. I just got back from an excellent exhibition at the Getty Museum on ‘Gardens in the Renaissance‘, May 28 – August 11, 2013.

Jean Bourdichon, 'Bathsheba Bathing', Leaf from the Hours of Louis XII, Tours. 1498-1499. Los Angeles, Getty Institute, Ms. 79r.

Jean Bourdichon, ‘Bathsheba Bathing’, Leaf from the Hours of Louis XII, Tours. 1498-1499. Los Angeles, Getty Institute, Ms. 79r.

Predominantly a display of Renaissance gardens in illuminated manuscripts, I really appreciated the variety of media curator Bryan Keene introduced his audience to. The map of the garden belonging to a private Nuremburg residence, oil paintings, prints of Florentine pageantry and the use of digital media all brought the show to life in a thoroughly enjoyable polished interactive performance. What fun! Plants are briefly described for their medical properties, their religious symbolism, and historical context, and the show ends with Hoefnagel’s exquisite botanical drawings in a very fine manuscript of calligraphy made for the Holy Roman emperors Ferdinand I and Rudolph II. Although this introduction to Renaissance gardens examines the European context in general, fabulous illustrations from Giovanni Boccaccio’s Concerning the Fates of Illustrious Men and Women and Francesco Colonna’s early printed book on Poliphilo among other specific Italian examples should certainly satiate any ACIS readers.

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