November 12, 2013 | by Carolin C. Young | King David and some Musicians, artist unknown, c. 1500–1510. One of three oil on wood panels. Musée National du Moyen Âge-Musée de Cluny, Paris. © Rmn-Grand Palais, photograph by Jean-Gilles Berizzi.
Those seeking a lyrical repose from the bustle of the Parisian art world should head to France’s National Museum of the Renaissance at the Château d’Écouen for an exhibition devoted to music of the sixteenth century. Featuring historic instruments, treatises, paintings, drawings, and objects, the show elucidates the crucial roles of both sacred and profane music in this period. It is the first to focus on this time period, but it is only the latest in a growing number of exhibitions to examine the links between music and art.
A Renaissance Air: Music in the Sixteenth Century • National Museum of the Renaissance, Château d’Écouen, France • to January 6, 2014 • musee-renaissance.fr…» More
November 6, 2013 | Are New Yorkers the most parochial people on the planet? I sometimes think so, especially when it comes to art, where we have an absolute genius for overlooking the important in busy pursuit of The Important. We are a city of zeitgeist sniffers, way too hungry for whatever fad diet the art market is currently dishing out. Luckily our plat du jour gets a lot tastier whenever the Met or the Frick or another city museum brings forth a sensational exhibition with global reach and historical depth, as they frequently do. The glorious Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800 currently at the Met comes to mind.
We have assembled an issue that has little or nothing to do with what is going on in New York...or even with the East Coast for that matter. This may not be a felony but it might qualify as some kind of journalistic misdemeanor in many eyes. You be the judge. I can say with confidence that here on our island we have somehow missed the passion for American art o…» More
November 5, 2013 | Watson and the Shark by John Singleton Copley (1738–1815), 1778. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ferdinand Lammot Belin Fund.
An adventurous exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston should alter our views on the influence of early American painting and painters. American Adversaries: West and Copley in a Transatlantic World explores the way in which two colonial painters in particular, John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West, put American art on a world stage. If this comes as a surprise to people who think American art languished in provincial isolation until the mid-twentieth century when abstract expressionism burst on the scene, the exhibition's curator Emily Ballew Neff and her catalogue (distributed by Yale University Press) will enlighten them. "There was always an interesting international aspect to early American art," Neff says, explaining that the two centerpieces of the exhibition, Copley'sWatson and the Shark, and West's The Death of…» More
November 5, 2013 | Censer, Russian, late seventeenth century. Silver and parcel gilt. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, Washington, D. C.
Crowned empress of Russia in 1762, Catherine II was determined to change the perception throughout Europe that Russia was a cultural backwater. Having lived at court since 1744, when she became engaged to the future Peter III, Catherine had immersed herself in Russian culture, language, and the Orthodox Church while still maintaining ties with Western Europe. Her correspondence with the French philosophes in particular eventually strengthened French taste in Russia and enabled Catherine to foster the arts, science, and education.
Though best known for collecting paintings, the empress commissioned splendid metalwork, porcelain, glasswork, and books-for her own use and as gifts for courtiers-that expressed her desire to blend the traditions of Byzantine art with the Western neoclassical style that was a hallmark of the Enlightenment. Thirty-eight example…» More
November 5, 2013 | Folding screen with the Siege of Belgrade (front), Mexican, c. 1697–1701. Oil on wood, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Brooklyn Museum, gift of Lilla Brown in memory of her husband, John W. Brown, by exchange.
Objects in gold and silver, inlaid and gilded furniture, sumptuous fabrics, Asian porcelains, dazzling portraits-the Spanish colonial elite had it all, and flaunted it proudly within the confines of their private houses. Though surviving in relatively large numbers, these riches have been largely understudied until recently but are now enjoying a renaissance in collecting and scholarship. Drawing on its own strong holdings (supplemented by loans from the Hispanic Society of America, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Roberta and Richard Huber, and other private collectors), the Brooklyn Museum has organized a traveling exhibition that celebrates the colonial home as a principal repository for these arts.
The show and its excelle…» More
Pickle Dish, American China Manufactory (Bonnin and Morris), Philadelphia, 1771-72. Soft-paste porcelain with lead glaze; height 4 3/16, width 4 1/2» View All