I was especially taken with the realization than in the midst of these abstract shapes of mudejar quadrilobes were lions and castles – and that shield. Leon, Castile – and what? But still, Peter the Cruel (r 1334-1369) wanted ALL his subjects to understand his palace facade.
The Alcazar Palace is really something – I think it would be very comfortable in the summer time, for Seville!
I remember the tilework from an old PBS show, “Connections.” I can’t think of the presenter’s name, but it was a history of science across time kind of thing – made an impression on me!
Well, the reconstructed Barcelona Pavilion. The original was a temporary construction to serve as the German Pavilion for an International Exhibition and was taken down in 1930. Barcelona recreated it in the 1980s. It’s a beautiful building – Modernism before Less became a Bore.
Iron column carrying a statue of Christopher Columbus, erected for an 1888 World’s Fair. Columbus visited the Catholic Monarchs here in Barcelona.
Monday was intermittently showery, so I took a bus tour. The roof only closed on us for a little bit.
When someone who knows art through pictures (digital images, nowadays) encounters the real thing he sometimes suffers scale shock – finding out that something is much bigger or much smaller than he always thought.
That’s certainly me and this fresco from the Coptic Monastery of St Apollo – Christ in Majest with the Four Beasts of the Apocalypse from the 6th Century.
I always thought it was an apse fresco over an altar, not the conch of a NICHE I can stand inside!
A British effort to put pictures of all the oil paintings in the UK online pays off – an art historian spotted a previously unknown Van Dyck portrait.
The painting, which was not thought to be important and in a bad condition, was covered in layers of dirt and varnish and was not on display at the Bowes Museum.
But it was photographed as part of the Public Catalogue Foundation’s mission to document every oil painting in public ownership and added to the BBC’s Your Paintings website, where it was spotted by art historian and dealer Dr Bendor Grosvenor.
“Although as part of our national heritage values are irrelevant, for insurance purposes it should now be valued at anything up to £1m,” Dr Grosvenor said.
“Had it appeared at auction as a copy, and in its dirty state, it would probably only have been estimated at about £3,000-5,000.”
Grosvenor runs Art History News – here’s an example of what he’s doing with this picture.
The general initiative is called Your Paintings.
The Met owns Jacques Louis David’s Death of Socrates. One of their curators managed to buy a David preparatory drawing for $700 at auction because it was misattributed!
Catalogued and illustrated . . . as “French school, early 19th century”, the 24.5cm by 38.2cm sheet (est $500-$700) depicting The Death of Socrates in brush, black ink and grey wash was described as “lightly squared for transfer in pencil. After the painting by Jacques-Louis David in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.” [my emphasis]
Instead of “after the painting” it was “for the painting.” Good call!
Good question! That’s the title of a story in a new online magazine from the Getty. Go read it and see — great photos, as you might expect!
The intro reminds me of my sister’s reaction to the Grand Canyon. Our mother woke us up very early and drove to get there as soon after dawn as she could (my mother’s not a natural early riser herself). My sister took one look into the Canyon and said something like “OK, it’s a big hole in the ground.” In her defense, she was 12.
Professor Cowen was asking about the deadweight loss of stuff in storage in museums. Look at one way the Met tries to get around that. Suboptimal viewing experience – but they’re still up. This is the The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art, which they claim is everything that’s not up in the main galleries.
I have been very out of the medieval blog loop – the end of last semester was pretty busy – but how did I miss THIS announcement in late November?
The catalogue is designed to increase public access to the British Library’s rich collections, and we want to encourage even greater use and enjoyment of these collections. Technically these works are still in copyright in the UK until 2040, but given that they are anonymous and many centuries old, the Library has decided to provide the images on the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts under a Public Domain Mark and treat them as public domain works, as would be the case in many other countries. For more information, please see the library’s use and reuse policy for CIM. We ask that you maintain the library’s Public Domain tag, and provide a link or other credit back to the image’s source on the British Library’s site – help us share these riches even more widely with the world. (my emphasis)
Wow – is that ever sensible!
A Matisse stolen from a Swedish museum was recently recovered in the UK. I can’t decide if the standard line is meaningless optimism or just a negotiating tactic:
At the time of the theft, a spokesman for the museum said the painting was too “well-known” to “sell on the open market”.
Mr Marinello agreed with the sentiment, adding: “I commend the museum for not giving in to ransom demands a quarter century ago.
“Stolen artwork has no real value in the legitimate marketplace and will eventually resurface… it’s just a matter of waiting it out.”
Well, they had to wait 25 years. Is that optimism?
First book of the year – well, first book started and finished this year. I’ve got a novel going, too, but it’ll be a few more days at the rate I’m reading in bed.
I picked this up at big discount at McKay’s Books, which reminds me a little bit of Oxford Books of old in Atlanta where I was shopping for my nephew’s Christmas presents. In the Land of Temple Caves was filed in aesthetics or some such – and it is indeed in part a meditation on art.
Turner was hit hard by the evil destructiveness of 9/11. One thing and another made him think of the Paleolithic cave paintings, and this book is a memoir of exploring some of the great caves of France. The book ends with a weird episode in Paris. The whole is a mediation on the Vital Spirit and its endless opposition to the Destructive Impulse. It’s been too long since I’ve read Bergson to remember is this is just straight Elan vitalism, but it certainly seems so.
All in all the Paris part is too indulgent (why on earth did his publisher waste a page on a useless map of the neighborhood around St. Sulpice — and THAT map — instead of getting a decent map of SW France?), but his cave-talk is pretty good, whether he’s scrambling around bluff faces looking for flint cores or riding a little railroad into the heart of a hillside to see the paintings at Rouffignac. He reports a lot of the recent theorizing well and remains admirably unpersuaded by them.
I’m unpersuaded by his theorizing about art, but I agree that art does matter. It’s not an antidote to barbarism or something that makes us proof against evil, but art is a good. Getting from there to “what is good art?” is another problem entirely.