Category Archives: Exhibits

This is brilliant!

Read anything you can by Philip Kennicott, art critic for The Washington Post. Here he writes about how one might visit an art museum…and really get something out of it!

Philip Kennicott, “The ‘learn one thing’ rule.” Washington Post, 2/4/18, E13.

The series of short articles is about “getting the most” out of your visits to a museum, theatre, dance performance, even a movie. They are all worth reading. If you just want to read Kennicott, scroll down to the Mondrian glasses.

We do this here! Students curate exhibits!

From the New York Times, March 15, 2017.

On College Campuses, a New Role for Students: Museum Curator, b

Students from ARTH 317: Laboratory in Museum Studies, are curating an exhibition on the work of Margaret Sutton (1905-90), New York artist and 1926 graduate of Mary Washington. Opening is April 19, 2017.

https://nyti.ms/2mL3QxY

Conservators in the spotlight

A new trend in art conservation has conservators working in public places…not in the conservation lab, but in galleries where the public may watch. Is this good for the art? “The public” aren’t wearing lab coats, nor are they always in small groups (more people = more humidity = more damage to works of art). One could also ask, Is it good for the public? Chemicals are (sometimes) involved in conservation. Here is an article from The New York Times that provides interesting background.

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Showtime at the Musée d’Orsay: Watching Varnish Dry

Hellenistic bronzes at the National Gallery of Art, through 3/20/16

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is hosting an exhibition of extraordinary survivors…bronze sculptures from antiquity. Seeing any bronzes from antiquity is rare — bronze pieces were stolen, confiscated, taken as plunder and converted into “useful” objects such as coins, cookware, arms for battle. Seeing this many exquisite works in one place is NOT TO BE MISSED!

 4 of 16 Full Screen Identified simply as “Portrait of a Man,” this bronze head is displayed in a room devoted to Alexander the Great, and his peers and successors. The hat, known as a kausia, was often found in images used on coins as an identifying mark of Macedonian general or king. Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education, and Religious Affairs/Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos

Identified simply as “Portrait of a Man,” this bronze head is displayed in a room devoted to Alexander the Great, and his peers and successors. The hat, known as a kausia, was often found in images used on coins as an identifying mark of Macedonian general or king. Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education, and Religious Affairs/Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos.

Here is a link to Philip Kennicott’s discussion of the exhibit in the Washington Post, December 17, 2015.

Included in the exhibit is this head of a horse once owned by Lorenzo de’ Medici. Donatello, Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo…and so many others once stood and admired this.

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This horse’s head was once part of a monumentally scaled statue of a horse and rider. Centuries after it was made, probably around 350 B.C., it belonged to Lorenzo the Magnificent, the Medici potentate, and was admired by Renaissance artists and sculptors. National Archaeological Museum of Florence.

Here is a link to the National Gallery’s web site for further information, including the audio tour and lots of images.

Dutch museum in search of owners of art

The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, a museum of modern and contemporary art, is hosting an extraordinary exhibit of works from its own collection. However, the question is, does the museum really own the works? During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands (from May 1940), the director of the Stedelijk accepted works of art for safe-keeping from Jewish owners. This exhibit, “The Stedelijk Museum on the Second World War,”

Matisse, "Odalisque," ca. 1920, currently at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Matisse, “Odalisque,” ca. 1920, currently at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

includes facsimiles of provenance records from that period with the hope that original owners may be identified. This article by Mary M. Lane from the online Wall Street Journal (2/27/15) includes photographs of the bunker in the dunes of Castricum, a Dutch seaside town, where many artworks were stored during WWII.

The normally camouflaged door that accessed the bunker that Stedelijk Museum curator Willem Sandberg commissioned for Holland after he visited Spain in 1938 and saw the cultural destruction evident during the Spanish Civil War. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

The normally camouflaged door that accessed the bunker that Stedelijk Museum curator Willem Sandberg commissioned for Holland after he visited Spain in 1938 and saw the cultural destruction evident during the Spanish Civil War. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

This link to the museum’s site has several short videos.

 

 

What inspired Bernini?

For one thing…Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 11.57.56 AMthis amazing work from the 1st or 2nd c. CE, a copy after a Greek original. Called The Dying Gaul, the sculpture was discovered in Rome in the early 17th c. It was first mentioned in writing in 1623…around the time Bernini was working for Cardinal Scipio Borghese.

This is the kind of work that also inspired Donatello and Michelangelo, although they never saw this particular sculpture. But Rodin knew it, as well as every other great sculptor in the Western tradition.

It’s on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. until March 16, 2014.

Here’s the press release from the NGA, and an article about the work from today’s Washington Post with additional views.

Van Gogh in the digital age

Van GoghDigital Van Gogh

At the top is Van Gogh’s painting, The Bedroom, from 1888 as we know it today and as it exists today.  But the blue of the walls has faded over the years, and the red he mixed with blue has gone.  The image below (with the lavender walls) shows Van Gogh’s painting digitally enhanced according to what conservators and art historians have learned about his painting techniques.  Read more about this project here.