. . . that art thieves substitute a copy for the original! The FBI has just recovered a Matisse that was stolen that way.
Finally! I’ve gotten the pictures uploaded and mainly sorted! Danyal and I went to several museums – the best art museum was certainly the Folkwang. They have a splendid collection of 19th and 20th Century German and French painting and some good sculpture. The building is brand new (built since I was in in Essen in 2009, which was one of my main reasons for going back!). It’s by David Chipperfield – here’s the story of the competition. It’s a very serene building – the colors are very subdued, and the galleries are strung around a series of courtyards. Every courtyard is different — some are partially paved, some have trees, some have sculptures. Here are my photos (or photos of me there). Here are everyone’s. We weren’t supposed to take interior photos, but I really don’t see why we can’t photograph for architecture.
The exterior surface is made of what I think is a cast glass – irregularly smooth, but very satisfying to touch and look at.
If you want classical beauty, you won’t do much better than this bronze Dionysus in the Museo Palazzo Massimo. Click to go to my Flickr stream and you can see him full length.
I love these figures with the inlaid eyes — in his case, limestone. What we would give to see them the way the Romans saw them, polished, colored, and in a better setting than a cold museum! While I was on the road I re-read Steven Saylor’s Catilina’s Riddle (on Kindle). At the end of that book, Gordianus the Finder trades a farm he inherited from a rich friend for the friend’s house on the Palatine; in the peristyle of the house is a statue of Minerva which must have been along the same lines as this, which seeing this Dionysus brought home.
This particular Dionysus was discovered along the Tiber during the construction of the Ponte Garibaldi in the mid-1880s, just upstream from Tiber Island. He’s of the Hadrianic era (c. 125).
I’m not sure if this is an iPad + WordPress thing, or a Flickr thing, or what – but I’m having troubles. Go to my Flickr account and look at the Isola Bella pictures. I promise I’ve tried all sorts of ways to post them here!
I had 2 very pleasant days in Padua — the Arena/Scrovegni Chapel the first evening (they weren’t overbooked – I went in with a party of 15, when 25 is the usual size). I museumed and duomoed and visited the Shrine of St. Anthony. My. That’s really something. I didn’t bother with Venice. My foot was hurting too much (damned gout – I have ibuprofened it into submission).
Today is Monday, and all the other museums would have been closed anyway, so I turned this into a travel day and ended up in Arezzo — hometown of Piero della Francesca, Aretino, and Vasari (at least). I was lucky, because it also rained all day (at least after I got to the Padua train station). Trenitalia did one of those very annoying track changes TWICE – both in Padua and in Bologna I had to change platforms at the last minute. I brought too much luggage. I bought some souvenirs in Padua, but they’re quite light (Father Baker, I bought you THE tackiest St Anthony object ever, but it was not part of the problem). Then I watched it pour from inside a nice train seat.
In Arezzo, the hotel loaned me an umbrella and I had my windbreaker. Lucky for me! As I started up the hill to San Francesco (and the Invention of the True Coss) the heavens opened. POURing rain. Hail! Really! I huddled in a church porch for about 20 minutes.
Eventually I continued up the hill and saw the frescoes. YOW. Giotto on Satuday and Piero on Monday. Visual living doesn’t get a lot better!
Sorry for the slowblogging, but I’vehave very limited wifi and am having trouble getting pictures off my camera And onto the iPad. But take it from me, the Folkwang Museum in Essen is a great collection — worth a detour, though not a trip on its own. Maybe a Rhineland Art Swing?
19th-21st C, very strong on expressionists and graphic arts (drawings and a major collection of German poster art). And the new building is splendid. More later — off to look at an Alvar Aalto symphony hall on the other side of the train station!
The Walters Art Museum uploads 20,000 (that’s right, twenty thousand) images to the Wikimedia Commons – with a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license. Yow. That’s sharing.
I got an announcement in a listserve yesterday of a new online database – the Last Statues of Antiquity: Here you will find a searchable database of the published evidence for statuary and inscribed statue bases set up after AD 284, that were new, newly dedicated, or newly re-worked.
Searchable all KINDS of ways! I just pulled up female statues (any material) from Gaul and Germany – 10 hits! Then changed to female members of the imperial family, whole empire – 4 hits. I think this may be very instructive!
Here’s a link that describes the real work and the team that did it. Thank you!
It proposed a museum be built on a city-owned site in Helsinki’s south harbor, and recommended the city move forward with an architectural competition.
The museum could have opened in 2018 after around three years of development, it said, adding that its 140 million euro estimate included the construction and design of the building. The museum would also have needed public, private and corporate funding to cover operating costs.
Finnish culture minister Paavo Arhinmaki took a skeptical view towards the project’s funding. He assumed Finnish taxpayers would end up paying close to 100 million euros of the construction costs.
“It is also worth considering whether Finnish taxpayers should finance a rich, multinational foundation in the first place,” he wrote on his blog after the initial proposal.
So the Guggenheim is out searching the world for major cities without a big enough contemporary art museum to compete with a Guggenheim franchise? Currently, the list of cities etched on the glass doors (I suppose they have those, just like a couture handbag shop), includes New York, Bilbao, Venice, Berlin and Abu Dhabi.
The Getty is cutting staff – especially in education. What’s going to hurt scholars is they are re-envisioning imaging. That’s to say, rather than concentrating on high quality images available over the web (for folks like me to look at), they are going to aim at images for visitors to access on cell phones. Not the same kind of photo-documentation at all. Oh, well, when you lose a billion dollars in the market, you make adjustments.
The director intends to spend money saved on acquisitions.
The most interesting line is the last, a bit of news I’d missed: “Earlier this month, the Getty announced the hiring of the first fund-raising executive in its 30-year history, in a bid to move beyond near-total reliance on how its investments perform.” With their endowment down that much, you think they would have reacted sooner.
In a rare move, Sotheby’s sent the work to private homes in Asia, North America and Europe so key clients could test whether the haunting image clashed with the rest of their art collections. The piece has been removed from its frame for certain serious contenders who wanted to stare at the icon nose-to-nose. The picture recently flew to Hong Kong for 48 hours so a top collector could inspect it in person in a private room at Sotheby’s offices.
Potential buyers include European executives, Asian big-spenders and Middle Eastern sheiks. Among the names most often mentioned: the royal family in Qatar, which is building a museum empire and reportedly purchased Paul Cézanne’s “The Card Players” for at least $250 million not long ago. Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art department in New York, noted fascination with the work in Japan, where “The Scream” is a particularly resonant image, possibly because Munch was influenced by Japanese prints.
Sotheby’s expert Philip Hook estimates a pool of about 10 collectors. His personal theory: Collectors don’t tend to spend more than 1% of their net worth on an individual artwork. That leaves “Scream” bidders at people worth $8 billion and up.
Through an extraordinary effort by Kathryn Vaughn and her student assistants, we not only have the usual student show at Houghton House (and go to flickr to see some photos of the installation), but we also have 4 storefront galleries downtown with works by the Honors students. This allows their work to stay up longer – through graduation, I believe – rather than being flung up and then taken down right after their honors orals.
What’s even more amazing – they are sales galleries! Kathryn encouraged the students to price their work directly. All of them were staffed Saturday and will be staffed again today.
The second theft is certainly suggestive!
First, thieves tunnel into the Durham University Oriental Museum and seem to know what they’re taking. The authorities think they have the criminals.
But now someone hits the Fitzwilliam at Cambridge and again target Asian works.
Sounds like a criminal mastermind to me!
The Prado has made an amazing discovery underneath the upper layers on their copy of the Mona Lisa. Even the UNDERpainting and pentimenti (the revisions) match the original. They don’t think the hand is Leonardo’s, but they’re not sure WHAT they think.
Here’s the story, but in case you are close to using up your 10 page views/month at the New York Times, go directly here – the neatest interactive feature of all time.
Somehow I didn’t realize the Jesuits still owned the St Cuthbert Gospels! I knew it had been at Stonyhurst in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, but I thought they had sold the book a long time ago. Turns out it had been on loan for a long time to the British Library.