Published November 27, 2013
Art news , Pedagogy
In a recent paper published in Creativity Research Journal, economist P. H. Franses (Erasmus School of Economics, The Netherlands) studied “189 highest-priced works by as many modern art painters, comparing the moment of creation with their life span of these artists.” He concluded that this comparison shows each artist’s “optimal point in their lives” is about 2/3 into their life span, an estimated fraction of 0.6198 (and only 0.0018 from divine).
The Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome have been closed for a five-year restoration, but it was worth the wait. Most articles announcing the unveiling include a photo gallery/slide show showing details of the restoration. Better still: visit Catacombe di Priscilla in Google Maps, where you experience the site courtesy of Street View.
The most discussed topic from the restoration concerns the restored frescoes in a room known as the Cubiculum of the Veiled Woman, which depict “the earliest known image of the Madonna with Child — and frescoes said by some to show women priests in the early Christian church.” Another interesting observation: “She wears what the catacombs’ Italian website calls ‘a rich liturgical garment’. The word ‘liturgical’ does not appear in the English version.”
via ABC News and Yahoo; h/t Heather Seneff
Published November 4, 2013
In a story over 70 years in the making, over 1,500 works of art — some known to have been confiscated by the Nazis and in total now worth about $1.3 billion — have been found in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the 80-year-old son of a well-known Nazi-era art dealer. What has compounded the problem for families of the former owners of these works is that it has taken almost three years to acknowledge the discovery and officials still haven’t made public a comprehensive list of the works they found. Apparently, Gurlitt sold some pieces when he was in need of money, including a pastel drawing by Max Beckmann, “Lion Tamer, Circus” (above) that went to auction after his “collection” was discovered.
via LA Times (updated here) and the original German-language story in Focus here
Published August 16, 2013
One year ago this month we reported about an enthusiastic parishioner from the Sanctuary of Mercy Church, in Borja, Spain, who “helped” restore a deteriorating church fresco depicting Christ as Ecce Homo. As it turned out, the restoration was so popular it became a tourist attraction, raising over $66,000 for the church and inspiring a line of merchandise featuring the image. The most recent news: the parishioner, an 81-year old retiree, will lose her amateur status next week when she signs deal giving her 49 percent of the merchandise profits.
via Yahoo! News
Published May 29, 2013
Tags: museums, painting
No, not a new young adult book, but real life tales from the world of conservation! Conservators at the Museum of Modern Art in NY have been conducting a 10-month examination and restoration of Jackson Pollock’s One: Number 31, 1950 and have made some interesting discoveries. It appears that not all of the paint was applied to a canvas on the floor from a standing position (Pollock’s famous method, seen in photo at left). There is evidence of dripping paint, indicating that it was applied to a vertical canvas. In addition there are odd bits of pink paint in one corner that seem to have been afterthoughts, or possibly spray from another work.
But the most interesting discovery is what appears to be paint additions by someone other than Pollock – they don’t match in paint or application type. And at some point along the way, a fly found its way into the wet paint and is now immortalized at the MOMA.
Read the full article in the New York Times.
For those of you who use web searches extensively for your lectures or presentations, check out the post “The Art Of Reproduction” on the blog Visual Hint — the color of data:
“Type “Danae Klimt” into your favorite search engine, and you conjure up a high-resolution image of Gustav Klimt’s Danaë: tan limbs, a shower of gold, red hair.”
“Or did you find pink limbs? Or were they gray or even green? There’s the rub: the seemingly perfect museum holds dozens of Danaës—with dozens of different palettes. Even the shape changes as reproductions are subtly cropped.”
“Curious just how far reproductions stray from each other, we began an investigation. (Go directly to the results if you like.) For a set of famous artworks, we downloaded all the plausible copies we could find. Then we wrote software to reconstruct each artwork as a mosaic, a patchwork quilt where each patch comes from an individual copy.”
hat tip: Nancy Alexander
Published February 8, 2013
Tags: museums, painting
Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People (1830) has been defaced by a 28-year-old woman who wrote “AE911″ across a roughly foot-long section along the bottom. The painting has been in the Louvre-Lens since the satellite museum opened December. The tag refers to the 9/11 conspiracy website Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
The Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence announced the reopening of its main chapel with the completion of its extensive restoration. If you find yourself in Florence within the next year, the scaffolding used for the restoration remains and visitors can have a rare opportunity to see upper registers up close. However, even those of us who won’t be traveling to Italy soon can still view the before/during/after process of the restoration on the basilica’s website, along with previous projects. The software used to digitally document the work, Modus Operandi, allows users to zoom in on details of Angolo Gaddi’s brushwork from the 1380s as well as the restoration.
Eighteen months ago we announced the launch of Your Paintings, a BBC-hosted site “which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real.” The site, co-funded by The Public Catalogue Foundation, announced it has completed its task. This translates into 3,217 participating venues and 211,861 paintings that are available online.
Now, the BBC and PCF are asking the public to help them tag the paintings.
The Rembrandt Database is dedicated to gathering and presenting past and current scholarship (with their sources) about the 17th-century Netherlandish artist. Still in beta, the goal of the site is to foster “a platform for the presentation of new interpretations” through a collaborative effort between numerous museums, research institutions and individual scholars worldwide. Currently there are twelve paintings available, but the accompanying documentation for them exceeds over 1,000 records with a strong emphasis in technical analysis and conservation history. Visit often, as the site plans to expand both the number of paintings and participating institutions.