I don’t think Mr. Penny’s advice in this interview is the basis for his opinions; but, he has been trained by a hundred years of art historical practice to talk to the public about art in an imprecise and unhelpful way. This work has been through a host serious scientific tests, including carbon dating and comparative chemical testing of pigments used in undisputed da Vinci paintings. These are not the kind of tools available to average museum-goers who Mr. Penny invites to “judge for themselves.” If he were a lawyer, we would expect him to say “Here is the compelling evidence for and against . . . therefore I am pretty sure it is attributable to da Vinci.” not: “I’m pretty sure . . . It’s weird . . . ask someone else.” It is a sign of our times that a trained scholar and Director of one of the world’s great museums would tell people to look at and interpret a Renaissance painting as though it were a 1960s drip painting.
With art historians earnestly looking for prominent female artists, it is surprising that so little is written about Fanny Fleury (French, 1848-1920). With the exception of Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822-1899), Fleury was perhaps the most successful female exhibitor in the history of the Paris Salon, having works accepted consistently from 1869 to 1882, and in many [...]
As those of you who follow my tweets (apologies for the shameless Twitter plug) know, I have been traveling for the past three weeks. I was in Spain for eleven days, France for one, and another five in California. To some it might sound like glamorous, Indiana-Jonesing; but, in reality, I spent most days underground [...]
(Dear Readers, I am currently on vacation and will be back and posting regularly at the end of September. Have a great summer!)
(Note: The following was written for the private collector who owns these two bronzes. I enjoyed my research so much, that I thought I would share it here, with his permission.)
At a time [...]
While not forgotten in Spain, Carlos de Haes’ work has been little recognized elsewhere. As a teacher and award-winning artists, Haes is perhaps Spain’s greatest landscape painter.
Carlos de Haes (Brussels, 1826-Madrid, 1898) was born in Belguim to Spanish parents. Due to financial troubles, the family was forced to return to Spain in 1835. There, Haes [...]
Occasionally, I come across a book that was made with me in mind. Figures du Corps: Une Leçon d’Anatomie à l’École des Beaux-Arts is the catalogue of the exhibition by the same name held from October 21, 2008 to January 4, 2009 at the l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. (Painfully, I first learned about [...]
Lately, I have been looking at my collection of images by theme, grouping Biblical and mythological subjects in categories. (It becomes helpful to have these groupings, which would normally not be seen in museums, when giving lectures or teaching children.) It was while piecing together my images of Eve that I found several photos I [...]
(All of the drawings in this post are by eighteenth and nineteenth-century students of the Academia de San Fernando. I am extemely grateful for the help of the brilliant Angeles Vian Herrero, Director of the Library of the Facultad de Bellas Artes of the Universidad Cumplutense in Madrid. These and many more drawings are available [...]
Donato Barcaglia (Italian, 1849-1930) La Giovanezza che Tenta di Arrestare il Tempo, or Beauty Holding Back Time. White marble. 89 BY 59IN.
Yesterday, I visited Sotheby’s in London to preview its nineteenth-century painting auction. Before I could get to the paintings, I was stopped and dumbstruck by La Giovanezza che Tenta di Arrestare il Tempo, or [...]
Ilya Repin (Russian, 1844-1930) Portrait of Vasily Polenov, Detail (c. 1880) Oil on canvas. 80 BY 65CM. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Vasily Polenov (Russian, 1844-1927) was 17 years old when Alexander II freed the serfs of Russia. The Tsar’s Emancipation Manifesto of 1861 was an acknowledgement of democratic changes in Western governments. The decree changed [...]