August 4, 2016 | Vitreous, white, and often delicately translucent, porcelain was invented in China as early as the seventh century, but Western attempts to reproduce the Chinese miracle failed until the dawn of the eighteenth century, when the Saxon ruler Augustus the Strong pressed into his service the young Berlin alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger and commanded him to enrich the Saxon coffers by producing gold from base metals. When Böttger failed at this, Augustus pressed him into porcelain experimentation, as assistant to the eminent philosopher-scientist Ehernfried Walter von Tschirnhaus, who had been conducting research in the field of glass and porcelain since the 1680s.
In 1708 Böttger fused a blend of fire-resistant white kaolin (discovered near Meissen) and a ground feldspathic stone (since called petuntse from the Chinese bi-dun-dzu or China stone) and thereby stumbled on the recipe for hard-paste porcelain like the Chinese.
Determined to monopolize Europe…
July 26, 2016 | There’s trouble on Monument Avenue. This grand boulevard in Richmond, Virginia, is the symbolic heart of the city. It is leafy and quiet, and lined with grand architecture dating largely from the early twentieth century. As its name suggests, it also features a series of monuments. One is dedicated to the tennis player Arthur Ashe. All the others pay tribute to the leaders of the Confederacy—and that, of course, is where the problem comes in.
Confederate symbols, particularly the “Stars and Bars” battle flag, have become extremely controversial. The flash point was the tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine African Americans were killed by a white supremacist. Across the South, activists demanded that Confederate imagery be removed from government flagpoles and from license plates. Many governors (including Terry McAuliffe of Virginia) concurred. For most Americans this seemed the right decision, and a long overdue one. Given that the Confederacy fought…» More
July 21, 2016 | As we say farewell to Betsy Pochoda, who moves on to her next adventures after eight years at the helm of ANTIQUES, we welcome Gregory Cerio as the new editor. A man of wide-ranging interests and well-chosen words, Greg is no stranger to our office, as he was the founding editor of our sister magazine MODERN and has written for both publications over the years. His answers to our questions below should give readers a fine idea of who he is and why we are delighted to be in his hands moving forward.
Tell us a bit about your background and the influences that shaped your interests in art and architecture.
My interest in architecture and the decorative arts came partly by osmosis. My hometown, Annapolis, Maryland, is fortunate to have a powerful and long-established historical preservation society. As a result, I grew up among the finest concentration of eight eenth- and early nineteenthcentury houses and public buildings in the country—as well as the Beaux-Arts piles …» More
July 11, 2016 |
It has been something of a long goodbye, my planned departure from these pages, and yet it has taken all of five months to arrive at the right successor. Now we have—Gregory Cerio, an old friend as it happens, whom you will meet on the last page of this issue. We are all pleased. We know Greg as someone with an unyielding faith in the arts of the past and a keen sense of how to give them a lively presence today.
And so to this, my last outing as editor of ANTIQUES and our annual (mostly) folk art issue, always a favorite of mine. When I started here in February of 2008 I was looking for ways to inject some joy into that sour era of financial collapse and cultural dismay. Folk and outsider art certainly showed me one inviting avenue. I have come to value the way they have liberated art history, opening it to everyday life, relaxing our approach to the sublime in museums, private collections, and especially in this magazine. Pop art did something of the same thing, but folk a…» More
June 1, 2016 | By Joan DeJean
Neptune and Triton by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, c. 1622– 1623, as installed in the newly reopened Europe 1600–1815 galleries at the V&A. Except as noted, all images © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
In December 2015 the Victoria and Albert Museum’s European galleries were opened to the public for the first time in nearly a decade. The prime space just off the museum’s grand entrance has been completely redesigned to uncover the original 1909 architecture of Aston Webb, and more than eleven hundred objects from the museum’s remarkable collections of art and design are now on display. Visitors descend stairs and immediately experience the power of the Italian baroque: Bernini’s monumental sculpture Neptune and Triton of about 1622–1623 dominates the first gallery.
The central rooms of the galleries known as Europe 1600–1815 introduce periods and styles in chronological order: the baroque with rich purple walls, pistachio green for the rococo, and …» More
[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi» View All