What do rocks have to do with Renaissance art?

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!

What Do Rocks Have to Do With Renaissance Art?

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.

What do you do if you own a million things?

The Met owns so much it has no where to hang it all!

The Met owns so much it has no where to hang it all! Sorry this is rotated. WordPress isn’t playing fair.

What do you do if you own a miilion things? by Michael Tinkler
What do you do if you own a miilion things?, a photo by Michael Tinkler on Flickr.

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.

A Patient Optimist

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?

The Dallas Museum contacts Turkey – not the other way around

This is encouraging. The Dallas Museum of Art is returning looted art to Turkey even before the Turkish government asked for it (click and see – there’s an ok photograph of the mosaic in question). Compare that to the Met, which is still stonewalling. In exchange, Dallas hopes to get some good loan materials. I hadn’t noticed that Max Anderson is now the director at Dallas – his first director position was at Emory’s Carlos Museum.

Hard times in Bosnia

The National Museum of Bosnia in Sarajevo, home to the Sarajevo Haggadah, is set to close.

The Sarajevo Haggadah is an important 14th Century manuscript of the Seder service produced in Spain (testimony to the Sefardic tradition), brought to Italy sometime in the Renaissance. It was sold to the National Museum in the 1890s – so though it is an important object documenting Jewish history, it doesn’t have much to do with Bosnia. I hadn’t read the provenance until just now – I, silly early medievalist, had always imagined it got to Bosnia (an example of the Spain-to-Islamic-Ottoman-Empire) in the wake of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain rather than an example of the Spain-to-just-as-Christian-Italy population movement. I’ve never read enough to know what the relative sizes of emigration to the Ottoman Empire versus other Christian territories.

Zollverein Essen – the herbarium

I’m still posting pictures from Germany! This was taken inside a display at the Zollverein XII museum in Essen. Sandwiched between glass plates were examples of all the flora found on the grounds as they were transforming the old factories into a culture-space.

This is about my favorite picture of me (me me!) this year.

My Zollverein XII photos on Flickr.