Monday, July 29, 2019


Alte Pinakothek
After four decades of unbroken use as a museum and exhibition space, the Neue Pinakothek (rebuilt in its current form in the 1970s) has had to shut its doors for extensive renovation and modernization work due to last several years. During this period, selected major works of 19th century painting and sculpture from its collection will be on display in the Alte Pinakothek and at the Sammlung Schack. Selected highlights range from key works of Neoclassicism and Romanticism to the dawn of Modernism.
Masterpieces from the Neue Pinakothek at the Alte Pinakothek

Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), Die Geburt (Te tamari no atua) | Nativity (Te tamari no atua) 1896 1912 als Schenkung von Eduard Arnhold und Robert von Mendelssohn im Rahmen der Tschudi-Spende erworben | Inv. Nr. 8652.

In the Alte Pinakothek’s Lower Gallery, a selection of around 90 paintings and sculptures from the Neue Pinakothek’s collection is on display in three main galleries and seven side rooms. The concentration of works has brought forth new constellations and unexpected encounters between the exhibits. The lower floor’s large central gallery brings together images of the human figure by Neoclassical artists to the early Modernists. The sharply observed portraits of the court painter to the Spanish crown, Francisco Goya, and Thomas Gainsborough’s stylized depictions of the English upper class posing in natural settings are juxtaposed with the cool detachment of Edouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner and Edgar Degas’ portrayal of the ordinary folk of the Paris of his day. The room leading off this gallery features the monumental Neoclassicism of Antonio Canova in dialogue with the dreamy Symbolism of George Minne, while the adjoining gallery shows the works of Van Gogh, Klimt, Segantini, and others, as they wrestle and break with long-held conventions of seeing. In the gallery dedicated to the German Romantics, the backward-looking painting of the Nazarenes, working from their artist colony in Rome, comes face-to-face with the introspection of Caspar David Friedrich of Dresden and Carl Blechen’s realism, captured with painterly bravura, in Berlin. The side gallery of French and English Romanticism and early Realism sees a confluence of Eugène Delacroix’s distinctly literary Romanticism and the empirical exploration of nature in the art of William Turner
and John Constable. The other rooms focus on developments in European art from 1850. Wilhelm Leibl and his circle follow in the footsteps of Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon School, while Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, and Max Slevogt represent the spirit of Modernism in Berlin around 1900.

Friedrich Overbeck,
Vittoria Caldoni, 1821
Öl auf Leinwand, 89,5 x 65,8 cm
© Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen,
Neue Pinakothek, München/
Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds (WAF)

Jan van Eyck "Als Ich Can"

Jan van Eyck

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
10 July 2019 to 20 October 2019

 The exhibition presents three of the circa twenty extant works by Jan van Eyck, offering a glimpse of the art produced during the reign of Duke Philipp the Good, when the Burgundian Low Countries witnessed a unique flowering of courtly and urban civilisation.

Jan van Eyck (c.1390-1441), the favourite court painter of Philipp the Good, duke of Burgundy (1396-1467), is celebrated for his virtuosity in the use of oil paint and his skill in combining naturalism and realism with brilliant colours. Already regarded as an epoch-making artist by his contemporaries, he was soon renowned throughout Europe as the founder of Early Netherlandish painting.

Jan van Eyck was one of the first artists north of the Alps to sign and date his works. His use of a motto is remarkable. In the early fifteenth century, it was highly unusual for a painter – then still regarded as a mere craftsman – to have his own device, something reserved for the dukes of Burgundy and the nobility. Jan van Eyck chose AΛΣ · IXH · XAN as his motto and generally inscribed it in pseudo-Greek letters; it is, however, in Dutch and means “as I can” or “as best I can” as in “as best I can, not as I would”, which is presumably meant to imply the artist’s modest appreciation of his own work.

Madonna at the Fountain 1439. Jan van Eyck (Flemish, c. 1390–1441). Oil on panel; 19 x 12.5 cm. Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium, inv. no. 411. © Lukas–Art in Flanders VZW / Photo: Hugo Maertens / Bridgeman Images

Jan van Eyck produced his Madonna at the Fountain in 1439, two years before his death. His virtuoso handling, the brilliance of his colours in the newly-perfected medium of oil painting, and his subtle brushstrokes turn this devotional picture into a perfect masterpiece.

This exceptional loan from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp engendered this exhibition, in which the two panels by Jan van Eyck are juxtaposed with the highlights of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna’s collection of Early Netherlandish painting.

Also on show is the Chasuble from the vestments of the Order of the Golden Fleece, the influential order of chivalry founded by Philipp the Good in 1430. Normally displayed in the Imperial Treasury, it represents the exquisite textile arts that played such a seminal role in the legendary splendour of the court of the dukes of Burgundy. This uniquely sumptuous liturgical vestment is couched and embroidery all over in gold and coloured silk threads, making it many times more expensive than paintings. 

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna’s exhibition was organised in collaboration with Flanders (, which will honour this great Early Netherlandish master in 2020 by organising a number of exhibitions and events in Ghent.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Baroque Pathways: The National Galleries Barberini Corsini in Rome

From July 13 to October 6, 2019, Germany's Museum Barberini is presenting its first old master exhibition: Baroque Pathways: The National Galleries Barberini Corsini in Rome showcases 54 masterpieces from the collections of the Palazzo Barberini and the Galleria Corsini in Rome, among them an early work by Caravaggio, his painting Narcissus of 1597–1599. Tracing the birth of Roman Baroque painting in the wake of Caravaggio, its spread through Europe and development north of the Alps and in Naples, the exhibition explores the role of the Barberini as patrons of the arts and the Prussian kings’ yearning for Italy.

The Barberini at the Barberini

A selection of 54 masterpieces from the collections of the Palazzo Barberini and the Galleria Corsini has traveled from Rome to Potsdam. The Palazzo Barberini, the architectural inspiration for the Barberini Palace in Potsdam, holds one of the world’s most important collections of baroque paintings. Together with the Galleria Corsini, it is home to the Italian national galleries. Ortrud Westheider, Director of the Museum Barberini: “It is a great honor and a mark of recognition for the still young Museum Barberini to cooperate with the illustrious national galleries. It has always been our dream to collaborate on an exhibition with our renowned namesake in Rome.” Flaminia Gennari Santori, Director of the Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica, Rome: “We are delighted to present our museum and a part of our collection in Potsdam, a city with so many points of contact with the art and architecture of Rome.”

Pietro da Cortona’s monumental ceiling fresco from the Gran Salone of the Palazzo Barberini welcomes visitors to the Potsdam exhibition in form of a ceiling projection. The famous painting celebrates the power of the Barberini, one of the most important families in seventeenth-century Rome.
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Virtues frame the Allegory of Divine Providence and present the papal tiara and the keys of Saint Peter’s. 

The fresco was commissioned by Maffeo Barberini, a patron of poets and men of letters who, as a young man, had his portrait painted by Caravaggio. Even before his election to the Holy See in 1623, he had surrounded himself with writers and scholars, and begun assembling an art collection. As Pope Urban VIII, he became one of the leading art patrons and transformed Rome into the capital of the Baroque. During his pontificate, the basilica of Saint Peter was completed and consecrated. New streets and squares were created that continue to shape the face of the city today. In the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1848), Urban VIII did not support any of the warring factions, preferring instead to remain neutral and to pursue his dream of initiating a Golden Age of painting, architecture, literature and music that would rival the Renaissance. Yet his pontificate was marked by the rise of violent assertion of religious dogma, which led to the Roman Inquisition. Galileo, a friend of Urban VIII, was investigated by the Inquisition and forced to recant his teachings.

Caravaggio’s Narcissus


Caravaggio, Narziss, 1598/99 © Photo: Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica di Roma – Bibliotheca Hertziana, Istituto Max Planck per la storia dell’arte / Mauro Coen

Caravaggio’s focus on the decisive moment of a narrative brought about a new kind of art. His chiaroscuro effects broke with all accepted norms and made him one of the pioneers of baroque painting. His work was controversial: while his supporters praised his daring stylistic innovations, his detractors disparaged him as disrespectful and as an anarchist out to destroy the time-honored values of painting. Among the many outstanding works coming to Potsdam is an early work by Caravaggio, his Narcissus (1597–1599). Ortrud Westheider: “Caravaggio shows a young man looking at his reflection—Narcissus, whose vain infatuation with himself was his undoing. The painting is famous for its focus on the dramatic turning point. Its modernity, the way in which the painted image reflects the power and potential of painting, has lost none of its fascination.”

Violence and Salvation: Caravaggio and his Circle

Coinciding with the Counter-Reformation and religious wars across Europe, Caravaggio’s realism hit a nerve. The crusade against Protestantism, condemned as heretical, encouraged a new form of fervent piety and religious mysticism that is evident in


Orazio Gentileschi’s emotionally charged painting Saint Francis Supported by an Angel (ca. 1612).

At the same time, paintings like Giovanni Baglione’s Sacred and Profane Love (before 1603) testify to the violence of the period and to a new self-confidence on the part of the artists who responded to the tension between the artistic sophistication and strict clericalism of early seventeenth-century Rome.

Like Caravaggio, the artists in his circle studied models who came from the poorest parts of Rome. This practice invested the monumental altarpieces and paintings of saints with an unprecedented poignancy. Devotional images came to life and were reinterpreted as scenes of everyday life. Thus Carlo Saraceni, another contemporary of Caravaggio, presents us with an unhappy Christ Child in his unglamorously domestic Madonna and Child with Saint Anne (ca. 1611).

Dramas of the Demimonde: The Caravaggisti in Naples
His involvement in a fatal brawl drove Caravaggio to flee Rome for Naples, then under Spanish rule. His style inspired numerous local artists. Luca Giordano and Battistello Caracciolo adopted not only his close focus and the monumentalization of his figures but also experimented with his dramatic lighting. They updated the stories of ancient philosophers and Christian saints and followed Caravaggio’s lead in presenting the historical events as if they unfolded on a stage.!Large.jpg

In Venus and Adonis (1637), Jusepe de Ribera chose the dramatic moment in which Venus lays eyes on her mortally wounded lover. The Spanish-born painter, who had seen Caravaggio’s works in Rome in 1615, admired his sense of drama and his consummate handling of implicit and explicit violence.

Light and Shadow: The Caravaggisti in Northern Europe
Painters from Flanders and France brought their artistic conventions to Rome and drew on the classically inspired style shaped by Raphael and Michelangelo. Simon Vouet and Matthias Stom adopted the strikingly lit interiors and nocturnal scenes popularized by Caravaggio and his circle. Their own treatment of light and shade—often symbolizing good and bad—became a new, highly specialized form of art that met with great acclaim in their home countries. Michael Sweerts’s The Artist at Work (mid-seventeenth century) similarly follows the chiaroscuro trend, but also mirrors the controversy about the competing styles of Caravaggio and Guido Reni, who had died in 1610 and 1642 respectively. Was art to depict reality, as Caravaggio contended, or was it, as Reni held, to emulate classical models and ideals? Playing with these opposing points of view, Sweerts defied the dogmas of the generations of artists before him.

Allegories of the Arts: German Collector Preferences
The Grand Tour, an educational journey which included an extensive sojourn in Italy and focused on antiquity, art and architecture, was an obligatory rite of passage for young European aristocrats. By the eighteenth century, private collections, like that of the Barberini, began to form an increasingly important part of the itinerary. For German princes, they became a model of their own collecting ambitions. They looked for classical subjects and had a penchant for allegories of the arts, epitomized in Rome by the work of Simon Vouet, Salvator Rosa, and Prospero Muti. The female figure holding a palette and paintbrush in Simon Vouet’s Allegory of Painting (Self-portrait) of the early 1620s is probably a portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi, the most famous female painter of the period. The exhibition presents two works by her from the collection of the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg (Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin Brandenburg).

Gallery of Foolishness: Italian Baroque Paintings in the New Palace in Potsdam
On loan from the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, the two paintings, Lucretia and Sextus Tarquinius (ca. 1630) and David and Bathsheba (ca. 1635), leave the New Palace in Potsdam for the first time in 250 years to exemplify the influence of Roman baroque painting on German collections. When Frederick II (Frederick the Great), King of Prussia, acquired the paintings for the New Palace, he did not know that they had been painted by a woman. In 1769 he set up an Italian gallery with works by Giordano Bruni and Guido Reni as well as the two paintings now attributed to Artemisia Gentileschi. With its emphasis on biblical and mythological subjects, the gallery explored the disastrous consequences of male desire. The Prussian king, whose Sanssouci Palace, Ruinenberg and Barberini Palace drew on imperial as well as bucolic models, confronted his successor, Frederick William II, with this “Gallery of Foolishness.”

Palazzo Barberini: The Architectural Model for the Museum Barberini in Potsdam
The Museum Barberini was named after the Barberini Palace, built by Frederick the Great in central Potsdam. Destroyed in the Second World War, it was reconstructed as a modern museum on the original site by the Hasso Plattner Foundation between 2013 and 2016. The Prussian king, Frederick the Great, wanted an Italian piazza in Potsdam and found inspiration in an engraving of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome by Giambattista Piranesi. With this reference to Pope Urban VIII, a great patron of the arts, Frederick II laid claim to being an equally astute collector and connoisseur of art. Frederick and his successor, Frederick William II, commissioned numerous Italianate buildings in Potsdam.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series

High Museum of Art
Sept. 14, 2019 through Feb. 2, 2020

Cincinnati Art Museum 
Feb. 28–May 24, 2020

In fall 2019, the High Museum of Art will premiere “Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series,” the first exhibition to bring dozens of works from the eminent series together since its debut nearly 40 years ago. Following its presentation at the High, in Atlanta, from Sept. 14, 2019 through Feb. 2, 2020, the exhibition will travel to the Cincinnati Art Museum (Feb. 28–May 24, 2020).

In November 1977, The New Yorker magazine published a feature-length biography of Bearden (American, 1911–1988) by Calvin Tomkins as part of its “Profiles” series. The article brought national focus to the artist, whose rise had been virtually meteoric since the late 1960s. The experience of the interview prompted Bearden to launch an autobiographical collection he called “Profile.” He sequenced the project in two parts: “Part I, The Twenties,” featuring memories from his youth in Charlotte, N.C., and in Pittsburgh, and “Part II, The Thirties,” about his early adult life in New York. For the series’ exhibitions in New York in 1978 and 1981, Bearden collaborated with friend and writer Albert Murray on short statements for the pieces, which were scripted onto the walls to lead visitors on a visual and poetic journey through the works.

Inspired by the High’s recent acquisition of a key work from the series, “Something Over Something Else” will be the first exhibition to reassemble more than 30 collages from the series. The exhibition design will reference the experience of the series’ original gallery presentations by incorporating their handwritten captions into the accompanying wall texts. The project is co-curated by Stephanie Heydt, the High’s Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art, and Bearden scholar Robert G. O’Meally, Zora Neale Hurston professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University.
“We are privileged to organize ‘Something Over Something Else,’ which honors Bearden’s legacy as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists and brings important recognition to this beautiful and powerful series,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High.
“We are very excited to reassemble Bearden’s original ‘Profile’ project—and to experience these works along with their captions, presented in the original sequence,” said Heydt. “Bearden was a wonderful storyteller, and ‘Profile’ shows Bearden at his best, using words and images to evoke deeply personal memories. But Bearden also invites us all to find something to relate to along the way. There is a poetry in the arrangement of the exhibition that feels unique for Bearden’s work and this show, which assembles nearly two-thirds of the original group and may be the only opportunity to see those works together again.”

Bearden presented the “Profile” series as a shared history—his reflection on a life path that follows the journey of migration and transition in black communities across the mid-20th century. The series is an origin story that tracks Bearden’s transition from rural South to urban North, weaving his personal history into a communal one. Beyond providing the opportunity to explore an understudied body of work, the exhibition will investigate the roles of narrative and self-presentation for an artist who made a career of creating works based on memory and experience. It will also reveal some of Bearden’s broader inspirations, which lend insight into American life in the first decades of the 20th century.
Heydt was inspired to develop the exhibition in 2014 when the High acquired 

“Profile/Part II, The Thirties: Artist with Painting & Model” (1981), the culminating work in the series and one of Bearden’s only known self-portraits. The collage, which will feature prominently in the exhibition, is a retrospective work in which Bearden brings together important memories and spiritual influences from his youth in the South with broader art-historical themes that guided his career for more than four decades.

The exhibition will be arranged roughly chronologically according to the original presentations, moving from collages featuring Bearden’s early memories to works exploring his development as an artist in New York. Thematically, the subjects range from neighbors, friends, music and church to work, play, love and loss. The works also vary greatly in size. Though some are large, many are diminutive, a deliberate choice by Bearden to convey his experience of revisiting childhood memories. In addition to the wall texts by Bearden and Murray, the galleries will feature an original copy of The New Yorker article and the catalogues from the 1978 and 1981 gallery exhibitions. The High will also show clips from the 1980 documentary “Bearden Plays Bearden,” directed by Nelson E. Breen.

Featured works will include:

Part I, The Twenties:

  • “School Bell Time” (1978): this collage is the first work in the exhibition and recalls one of Bearden’s earliest memories.

  • "Pittsburgh Memories, Mill Hand’s Lunch Bucket” (1978): Based on Bearden’s memories of the interior of his grandmother’s boardinghouse in Pittsburgh, this work inspired playwright August Wilson to write the play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.” Wilson’s stage set description reflects the composition of the collage, and the two main characters in the play were inspired by another painting in the series, 

Romare Bearden (American, 1911–1988), Profile/Part I, The Twenties, Mecklenberg County, Miss Bertha & Mr. Seth, 1978, collage on board. Collection of Susan Merker. © 2019 Romare Bearden Foundation/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
“Mecklenberg County, Miss Bertha & Mr. Seth” (1978).

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  • “Pittsburgh Memories, Farewell Eugene” (1978): this work features a scene from the funeral of childhood friend who had introduced Bearden to drawing.
Part II, The Thirties:

Romare Bearden, Pepper Jelly Lady, 1980, color lithograph on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Democratic National Committee, 1981.174.2, © 1980, Estate of Romare Bearden
  • “Pepper Jelly Lady” (1981): in this work, Bearden returns to his memories of the South and Mecklenburg County.

  • “Artist with Painting & Model” (1981): from the High’s collection, this collage is one of Bearden’s only known self-portraits and a reminiscence on his studio above the Apollo Theater in Harlem in the 1940s.
 Romare Bearden, Johnny Hudgins Comes On, From Profile/Part II:The Thirties Series
1981, Collage & Mixed Media
  • “Johnny Hudgins Comes On” (1981): This work features the famous vaudeville performer. According to Bearden, Hudgins’ act inspired Bearden’s own approach to “making worlds” with his art.
“Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series” will be presented in the special exhibition gallery on the second level of the High’s Stent Family Wing.

Exhibition Catalogue

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The High, in collaboration with University of Washington Press, will publish a full-color, illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition. Texts will include an introduction by former National Gallery of Art curator Ruth Fine and essays by Heydt, O’Meally, Rachael DeLue (Christopher Binyon Sarofim ’86 professor in American art at Princeton University) and Paul Devlin (assistant professor of English at the United States Merchant Marine Academy).

Bartolomé Bermejo

National Gallery, London 
12 June – 29 September 2019

This summer, the National Gallery, as part of its Spanish season, will show a select number of works by Bartolomé Bermejo (about 1440–about 1501), one of Spain’s most innovative and accomplished painters active in the second half of the 15th century.

Bartolomé de Cárdenas was more commonly known as ‘Bermejo’ – meaning ‘reddish’ in Spanish – probably referring to a distinctive physical feature such as red hair or a ruddy complexion. He was born in Cordoba but was principally active in the Crown of Aragon, working in Tous, Valencia, Daroca, Zaragoza, and Barcelona. He led an itinerant life, partnering with local artists to access painters’ guilds and obtain religious commissions in the cities he visited. Bermejo’s personal circumstances remain enigmatic, and very little is known about his life and early training but it seems likely that he was a converso (a Jew converted to Christianity) and that his nomadic career might be partially explained by the establishment of the Inquisition and persecution of Jews by the religious authorities.

The exhibition will include six loans that have never been seen outside of Spain, including two of Bermejo’s masterpieces:


'Triptych of the Virgin of Montserrat' (probably 1470–75), painted for the Italian cloth merchant Francesco della Chiesa, from the Cattedrale Nostra Signora Assunta in Acqui Terme, Alessandria (Italy),

and the recently restored ‘Desplà Pietà’ (1490), named after the man who commissioned the work - Lluís Desplà, archdeacon of Barcelona Cathedral, where the painting has been since the 15th century.

In addition, four panels depicting scenes from Christ the Redeemer

Descent of Christ in Limbo (c. 1470–80), Bartolomé Bermejo.
Descent of Christ in Limbo (c. 1470–80), Bartolomé Bermejo. Photo: © Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (2019)
Descent of Christ into Limbo' and

Bartolomé Bermejo- Resurrection- MNAC.jpg

'Resurrection' from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), Barcelona;

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 'Christ entering Paradise'

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and 'Ascension' from the Fundació Institut Amatller d’Art Hispànic, Barcelona, all about 1470–5) will be displayed.

At the centre of the exhibition will be the National Gallery’s own painting by Bermejo,

 Bartolomé Bermejo, 'Saint Michael Triumphs over the Devil' 1468

 Saint Michael Triumphant over the Devil with the Donor Antoni Joan (1468). Widely considered the most important early Spanish painting in Britain, it is displayed here for the first time following its recent conservation. The year-long treatment has considerably improved the legibility of the painting, revealing a strong sense of three-dimensionality in the figures and an astonishingly convincing representation of different textures such as the sheen of the fire-gilded armour the archangel wears, with its reflection of the city of Jerusalem on its breastplate, or the minutely described monster at his feet and carefully observed plants dotted around the landscape. The recent scientific examination of the painting has brought to light new information regarding Bermejo’s painting technique.

Painted in 1468, the 'Saint Michael Triumphant' is thought to have once formed part of an altarpiece dedicated to Saint Michael in the church of the same name in Tous, near Valencia. It is the first of some twenty known works by Bermejo, produced over a career spanning just over thirty years. The first surviving document relating to the artist, in the form of a receipt for partial payment for the 'Saint Michael Triumphant', will be brought alongside the painting for the very first time in this exhibition.
The painting shows an elegant and elongated archangel Michael enveloped in a sumptuous embroidered, jewel-encrusted cape defeating the devil, depicted in the form of a grotesque hybrid monster. Antoni Joan, lord of Tous and the donor who commissioned the work, kneels at the archangel’s feet and looks up from his prayer book to witness Saint Michael’s victory over the devil.

The works on display demonstrate Bermejo’s technical virtuosity and mastery of the oil painting technique; unparalleled among his Spanish contemporaries. Previously thought to have trained in the Netherlands, though no such journey is documented, Bermejo is more likely to have learnt how to paint in oil through close observation of Netherlandish paintings circulating in Spain. It is this technical skill, combined with his inventiveness that sets Bermejo apart as one of the great masters of the Spanish Renaissance.

The catalogue accompanying this exhibition will focus on 'Saint Michael Triumphant', discussing the painting in the broader context of Bermejo’s life and career, and it will also include a detailed description of the painting’s recent conservation treatment and scientific examination, publishing technical images for the very first time.

Letizia Treves, the James and Sarah Sassoon Curator of Later Italian, Spanish, and French 17th-century Paintings, said:
“Given that so few pictures by Bermejo are known, we are very fortunate to have one of his great masterpieces in the National Gallery. In displaying our painting for the first time alongside Bermejo’s 'Triptych of the Virgin of Montserrat' and the Desplà Pietà’ – neither of which have ever travelled to Britain before – I hope visitors to the exhibition will be dazzled by the sheer beauty and uniqueness of Bermejo’s paintings.”
National Gallery Director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, said:
“The National Gallery’s 'Saint Michael Triumphant' is a supreme work of European 15th-century painting. The exhibition introduces the public to Bermejo, a great Spanish Renaissance master with exceptional loans never seen before in Britain.
Related article

Turner. The Sea and the Alps

Kunstmuseum Luzern 
06.07. 13.10.2019

J.M.W. Turner, the world famous English painter, travelled around Switzerland several times in search of spectacular motifs. While doing so, he visited Lucerne repeatedly to study the unique interplay of light and weather, lake and mountains there. He captured his impressions in sketches and vibrant watercolours. These observations and depictions both of the sea, during the crossing to the continent, and of the Alps were of major importance for Turner: in them the beauty and dangers of nature combine directly with the theme of the sublime, which was of fundamental significance for Romanticism. Turner’s enthusiasm for Switzerland was so great that he visited the country a total of six times between 1802 and 1844.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Little Devil’s Bridge, ca. 1806/07 Bleistift und Aquarell auf Papier, 18.4 x 26 cm, © Tate, London, 2019.

The almost one hundred works on loan from Great Britain and Switzerland include works-on-paper of motifs in Central Switzerland, among them the famous  

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Blue Rigi, Sunrise (1844), the Lucerne Sketchbook, the first oil painting by Turner ever exhibited, and his fascinating later oeuvre.

With the 2019 exhibition Turner. The Sea and the Alps the Kunstmuseum Luzern is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Kunstgesellschaft Luzern, the supporting association of the Kunstmuseum Luzern.

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180 pages | 100 color plates | 8 x 10 | © 2019
The extensive travels of J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) through Britain and continental Europe provided an inexhaustible source of inspiration for his visionary color compositions, imaginative landscapes, and turbulent, often violent marine paintings. In Switzerland, he experienced both the beauty and the menace of the Alps, while by the sea, he observed the colorful harmonies of diffuse light. These experiences laid the groundwork for Turner to elevate landscape painting to an eminence that rivaled history painting. But how did he get there?

Presenting this incomparably original artist on his route to autonomy in art, Turner traces the London artist’s travels as he extended his search for motifs to Central Europe during the continent’s temporary peace in 1802. He spent much time journeying through the mountains of Switzerland, constantly sketching his impressions of the scenes around him. Upon his return to London, he developed the unique imagery of his sublime landscape paintings. Through one hundred color illustrations that tell a story about the forces of nature of the sea and the Swiss mountain landscapes, the authors here examine the change Turner brought to the portrayal of the sublime and the subject of weather phenomena. Other essays explore Turner’s role as the forerunner of modernism and reflect on the relationship between the artist and travel.

Bringing together the symphony of colors that composed Turner’s view of Switzerland’s awe-inspiring landscapes, this book sheds new light on the artist’s vision of the Alps and the sea.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Velázquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer. Parallel visions

Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid 
6/25/2019 - 9/29/2019
Within the context of the Prado’s celebration of its Bicentenary, the Museum is presenting Velázquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer: Parallel visions, an ambitious exhibition devoted to Dutch and Spanish painting of the late 16th and early 17th centuries which benefits from the sponsorship of Fundación AXA and the special collaboration of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Comprising 72 works from the Prado, the Rijksmuseum and a further 15 lenders (including the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the National Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York), the exhibition offers a reflection on the traditions of painting in Spain and the Low Countries. While the art-historical literature has considered these traditions to be essentially different, the exhibition juxtaposes the historical myths and artistic realities of these two artistic centres in order to reflect on their numerous shared traits.

Velázquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer: Parallel visions is an exhibition that encourages visitors to not only appreciate the quality and importance of the 72 works on display, some by the most admired painters of 17th-century Europe, but also to establish points of comparison between them.

The traditional and long-standing idea of the art produced in different parts of Europe is that it is notably different: that Velázquez, for example, is “very Spanish” and Rembrandt “very Dutch”. This viewpoint is based on the excessive influence that 19th- and 20th-century nationalist mindsets and ideologies have had on our way of understanding art. Studies from that period placed enormous importance on the idea that every nation had a different national character, as a result of which the notion that these differences were manifested in the art of each country became widespread. This perspective functioned to minimise the traits shared by European artists.

The case of 17th-century Spanish and Dutch painting is symptomatic of this. Separated by a war, the art of these countries has traditionally been interpreted as opposing. Nonetheless, the legacy of Flemish and Italian painting, the influence of which defined all of European art, was interpreted in a similar way in the two places. In the 17th century both countries saw the emergence of an aesthetic that departed from idealism and which focused on the real appearance of things and the manner of representing it. In their works the artists represented in this exhibition did not express the “essence” of their nations but rather gave form to the ideas and approaches that they shared with an international community of creators.

“The unity of Western painting is one of the great realities that reveals the unity of European culture.”
José Ortega y Gasset
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Alejandro Vergara, Museo del Prado Senior Curator Flemish Painting and Northern Schools (to 1700)

The Exhibition
The Geographer
Johannes Vermeer
Oil on canvas, 51,6 x 45,4 cm
Frankfurt, Städel Museum
“Neither Velázquez nor Vermeer nor other painters of the period expressed the essence of their nations in their art, as has often been said, but rather aesthetic ideas which they shared with an international community of artists.”

Alejandro Vergara, the exhibition’s curator

The painters represented in this exhibition worked in a historical and political context largely unknown to most Spaniards today but a legendary one in Holland. In 1568 a series of revolts against the Spanish monarch, Philip II, broke out in the old Low Countries. Led by the local nobility and headed by William of Orange, these revolts gave rise to the Eighty Years War (1568-1648). The result was the creation of two territories that were the forerunners of modern-day Belgium and the Low Countries. The latter, now generally referred to as Holland, is the one that is the focus of this exhibition.

Some paintings produced there and in Spain in the 17th century depicted the war, generally with a propagandistic intention. They include

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The Surrender of Breda by Velázquez (ca. 1634, Museo del Prado) and Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (1642, Rijksmuseum). The works on display here are of that type.

The birth of the new nation led many art historians to emphasise its uniqueness and to consider that this was expressed in its painting. Without denying its particular nature, Dutch painting shares many key traits with the art produced in the territories of the Spanish monarchy from which it broke away.
*In the exhibition the modern-day terms “Low Countries” and “Holland” are used interchangeably. The former is the correct usage and the latter the most common, although in reality it is the name of one of the provinces of the Low Countries which is used to refer to the whole.


The Little Street

Johannes Vermeer 1657-58
Oil on canvas, 54,3 x 44 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Humble and Human: Impressionist Era Treasures from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts
June 26-October 13, 2019
  • The exhibition, featuring 44 works by Berthe Morisot, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and others, is comprised of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works from the collections of the DIA and the Albright-Knox
  • Wilson, a Detroit native and founder and owner of the Buffalo Bills, endowed the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation at his death in 2014. Some of the paintings in the exhibition have never been shown in Detroit before. 


Study for “Le Chahut,” 1889, Georges Seurat, French; oil on canvas. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, General Purchase Funds, 1943:10.
"The Yellow Christ," 1889, Paul Gauguin, French; oil on canvas. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, General Purchase Funds, 1946:4
Study for “Le Pont de l’Europe,” 1876, Gustave Caillebotte, French; oil on canvas. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear, by exchange, 1974:25.

"Portrait of Postman Roulin," 1888, Vincent van Gogh, Dutch; oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.

Towpath at Argenteuil, Winter, 1875–76, Claude Monet, French; oil on canvas. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Gift of Charles Clifton, 1919:8.

 "Woman Sewing", about 1879, Berthe Morisot, French; oil on canvas. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Fellows for Life Fund, 1926:1.

"Dancers in the Green Room," 1879, Edgar Degas, French; oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.

"Woman in an Armchair," 1874, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French; oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.

 "Rounded Flower Bed (Corbeille de fleurs)", 1876, Claude Monet, French; oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.

"View of Le Crotoy from Upstream", 1889, Georges Pierre Seurat, French; oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.

"The Kitchen at Piette’s", Montfoucault, 1874, Camille Pissarro, French; oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts. 
"Morning in Provence," about 1900-1906, Paul Cézanne, French; oil on canvas. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Ribbel through the Frank E. Ribbel Bequest, 1936:6. 

Goya — Visions & Inventions

The Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

June 15-September 15
Los Caprichos

September 16-20, the exhibit is on hiatus.

September 21-December 1
La Tauromaquia

Goya — Visions & Inventions showcases the work of Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), one of Spain’s greatest artists and an integral influence on Salvador Dalí. His paintings and etchings from the late-18th and early-19th centuries are celebrated for their revolutionary qualities. Many scholars regard Goya’s life and works as the basis for modern art, bridging Classicism and Romanticism and introducing democratic themes into a previously elite art form. The exhibit’s works are on loan from the Meadows Museum in Dallas, which houses one of the most substantial collections of Goya.

Goya – Visions & Inventions features two suites of first-edition prints, printed during Goya’s lifetime, alongside three significant paintings representing unique themes of Goya’s art. The first suite of prints, Los Caprichos (1799), on view June 15-September 15, is among Goya’s most famous works, a series of satirical prints exploring the superstitions and societal ills of his time.

The second print suite, on view September 21 through the end of the exhibit, is La Tauromaquia (1816), a depiction of the history and evolution of bullfighting on the Iberian Peninsula. Both suites highlight Goya’s mastery of inventive printmaking techniques, revolutionary in his day and still relevant today.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The conservation of the Botticelli and Ghirlandaio ‘Coronation of the Virgin’ altarpiece

The Bass Museum of Art 
through October 24, 2019
The Bass, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, is the recipient of a Bank of America 2018 Art Conservation Project grant in the amount of $100,000. The grant funding will allow the museum to conserve a treasured work in the museum’s founding collection, the Coronation of the Virgin (c. 1492) altarpiece by Renaissance painters Sandro Botticelli (b. 1445, d. 1510) and Domenico Ghirlandaio (b.1449, d. 1494) . The work is one of over 500 artworks and artifacts gifted to the City of Miami Beach in 1964 by collectors John and Johanna Bass, founding The Bass Museum of Art.
The altarpiece painting Coronation of the Virgin is a significant collaboration between two of Italy’s most important Renaissance painters, Botticelli and Ghirlandaio. The Coronation represents the artists’ only known collaborative effort and the sole surviving example of their shared participation in the design and execution of a single composition. The painting’s three angels and the rest of its heavenly scene above are attributed to Botticelli, whereas the saints, monk and landscape below are attributed to Ghirlandaio. This work is one of two altarpieces originally placed in the monastery Camaldolese Badia of San Giusto and San Clemente in Volterra, Italy.
The painting suffered losses during the transfer process from the altarpiece’s wooden surface to canvas. Conservation will begin with technical, elemental and scientific analyses, as well as research, technical photography and cross-section sampling. Analysis and research will determine the means by which to reline and retack the canvas. Aesthetic treatment will include surface cleaning, varnish removal or reform, refining the most discolored areas of overpaint, and retouching and glazing to improve the design layer. A final varnish layer will be applied to protect the painting and even out its surface.
After conservation treatment, Coronation of the Virgin will be presented at the museum within a permanent collection exhibition, combining a selection of masterworks from the collection alongside contemporary art. In 2020, the painting will travel to Paris, on loan to the Institut de France, Musée Jacquemart-André.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Dallas Museum of Art - Caravaggio.

This summer, visitors to the Dallas Museum of Art have the rare opportunity to see an extraordinary work by the Old Master painter Caravaggio. One of the most influential figures in the history of European art, he is renowned as one of the greatest Baroque painters of the 17th century along with Rubens, Velázquez, Rembrandt, and Poussin. Fewer than 10 paintings by Caravaggio are housed in the US, on view in the collections of only six museums.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravggio, Martha and Mary Magdalene, c. 1598, oil and tempera on canvas, Detroit Institute of Arts, Gift of the Kresge Foundation and Mrs. Edsel B. Ford, 73.268.

Martha and Mary Magdalene (c. 1598), on loan to the DMA from the Detroit Institute of Arts, is a masterpiece from Caravaggio’s early career in Rome. The painting depicts Mary Magdalene, considered by the Catholic Church at the time to be a prostitute, experiencing a spiritual awakening as her sister Martha counts on her fingers the reasons she should convert. Caravaggio conveys the moment of Mary’s conversion—a challenging subject—through his treatment of light, which casts a divine glow on the reformed sinner.

Winslow Homer: Eyewitness

Discover how celebrated American artist Winslow Homer’s work for the illustrated periodical Harper’s Weekly helped shape his later career as a painter and watercolorist. Winslow Homer: Eyewitness is on view at Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass., August 31, 2019–January 5, 2020.

During the Civil War (1861–1865), American artist Winslow Homer (1836–1910) served as a correspondent for Harper’s. His sketches of soldiers, both in battle on the front lines and in quieter moments back at camp, were reproduced to accompany the journal’s accounts of the conflict. Homer worked for Harper’s just as new technologies were making it possible to rapidly reproduce newsworthy images on a large scale. Working together with Harper’s editors and engravers, he employed a range of pictorial strategies to reassure skeptical readers that his illustrations were not fabrications, but eyewitness observations “drawn on the spot.”

Winslow Homer, Prisoners from the Front, 1866. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Frank B. Porter, 1922 (22.207), Hom1. Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Image source: Art Resource, NY.
Winter-Quarters in Camp - Inside of a Hut (Harper's Weekly)
© President and Fellows of Harvard College

While in the field as an artist-correspondent, Homer developed habits of seeing and pictorial strategies that informed his work in other media. In addition to tracing these connections, this show explores broader questions that Homer’s art raises about the responsibility of artists who work in periods riven by war and conflict.

Co-curated by Ethan W. Lasser, Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. Curator of American Art and Head of the Division of European and American Art; and Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums.
Related Exhibition
Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880 is on view at the Cape Ann Museum August 3–December 1, 2019.