Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Woman at The Last Supper In 16th Century Art

The above is The Last Supper, ca. 1520, by Giampietrino (Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli), thought to be a student of Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, oil on canvas, 770 x 298 cm (26.26 x 9.78 ft), currently in the collection of The Royal Academy of Arts, London (purchased in 1821, usually on exhibit at Magdalen College, Oxford). This is acknowledged to be an accurate, full-scale copy, so much so that it was the main source for the twenty-year restoration of the original (1978-1998). It includes several lost details such as Christ's feet, the transparent glass decanters on the table, and the floral motifs of the tapestries that decorate the room's interior.

The person to Jesus' right (left in the painting) seems to me to be clearly a woman - look at her hair, features, tilt of her head, her bodice (different from all the others, hands and feet (also different.)

Also why are all the men on her side of the table looking at her? They don’t seem very happy, do they? She seems to be a picture of modesty. What announcement has upset them all? 
Another masterful Last Supper, Federico Barocci's, painted in 1580, seems to follow Da Vinci's and
has a woman seated in the same position:

Federico Barocci, The Last Supper, c. 1580. Oil on canvas, Urbino Cathedral.

Here's still another manifestation:

Hendrick Goltzius, The Last Supper, 1598. Engraving, state i/iii, plate and sheet 20.1 x 13.4 cm. University of San Diego

The second person to Christ's left is pretty clearly a young woman - notice her hair, youthful features, no beard. He also seem to have his arm around a child!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sylvette, Sylvette, Sylvette. Picasso and the Model

Kunsthalle Bremen
22 February to 22 June 2014

“Sylvette, Sylvette, Sylvette: Picasso and the Model” 

In the spring of 1954, Picasso met the young Sylvette David in Vallauris on the Côte d'Azur. She embodied the ideal of beauty typical of that era- tall in stature, with long, blond hair bound in a pony tail - and inspired the painter to create a series of portraits. For months, he experimented in front of the model with various styles and techniques. With seeming effortlessness, Picasso varied his approach from realistic depictions to cubist abstractions of the same pictorial subject. With brush and pencil, Picasso created close-to-nature likenesses and complex abstractions of Sylvette.

Read a fascinating account here.

In 1955, the Kunsthalle Bremen acquired a typical example from this unique series and now - sixty years later - is presenting the first exhibition devoted exclusively to these works, with important loans from throughout the world. The series comprises more than fifty works consisting of drawings, paintings, metal sculptures, and ceramics. Photography by David Douglas Duncan, Alexander Liberman, Arnold Newman, François Pages, Edward Quinn and André Villers document the sessions in Picasso's studio and the relationship between artist and model. The exhibited photographs and works of art offer insights into Picasso's creative process as well as the Zeitgeist, fashion and glamorous lifestyle on the Côte d'Azur during the 1950s.

The Sylvette series is contextualised through a number of works documenting Picasso’s work and style during this decade. Picasso met Sylvette at a critical moment of his artistic career and personal life. His relationship with Françoise Gilot ended in September 1953, causing a personal and creative crisis. In the summer of 1954 he met Jacqueline Roque who was to become the artist’s companion until the end of his life.

The exhibition presents a variety of related portraits of Françoise Gilot and Jacqueline Roque as well as works on the theme of painter and model, framing the Sylvette series within the wider exploration of creativity, desire and progress of time.

Pablo Picasso
Sylvette, 1954
Oil on canvas
Kunsthalle Bremen ― Der
Kunstverein in Bremen
© Succession Picasso / VG Bild-
Kunst, Bonn 2013

Pablo Picasso
Sylvette, 1954
© Succession Picasso / VG Bild-
Kunst, Bonn 2013

Pablo Picasso
Françoise als Sonne, 15. Juni 1946
© Succession Picasso / VG Bild-
Kunst, Bonn 2013

Pablo Picasso
Frau im Atelier, 6. Oktober 1956
© Succession Picasso / VG Bild-
Kunst, Bonn 2013


“Sylvette, Sylvette, Sylvette. Picasso and the Model” (German / English), edited by Christoph Grunenberg and Astrid Becker, Texts by Elizabeth Cowling, Markus Müller, Diana Widmaier Picasso et al., as well as an interview with Sylvette David, 300 pages, ca. 270 illustrations, Prestel Verlag,

Connecticut Art

West Rock, New Haven Frederic Edwin Church, Oil on canvas, 1849 New Britain Museum of American Art

James McDougal Hart
On the Farmington River, 1862
Oil on canvas
19 x 32 inches

Dedication of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on East Rock, New Haven, Connecticut.
Artist: Charles Graham
Category: 18-19th Century Prints > Town Views
Location: Connecticut
Publisher: Harper's Weekly, New York.
Medium Used: Wood engraving with modern handcoloring,
Year: 1887.
Size: Image size 13 1/2 x 9 1/8".

Day's End, 1937 Martin Lewis drypoint on paper (The smokestack closest to the foreground of the image, which is blank in the charcoal drawing, reads “Danbury & Bethel Fur Co Inc” )

9:45 A.M. Accommodation, Stratford, Connecticut, April 1864
Oil on wood panel
Edward Lamson Henry, American, 1841–1919
Signed, lower right: E. L. Henry. 64
Signed, reverse: Edw. L. Henry, April 1864
W. 20" x H. 12.5"

Connecticut.-Scene on Charles Island-Capture of a Large Party of Roughs from New York City, who had Assembled to Witness a Prize-Fight - The Military Preparing to Surround the Island.
Category: 18-19th Century Prints > Town Views
Location: Connecticut
Publisher: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. April 30, 1870,
Medium Used: Wood engraving with modern hand coloring,
Year: 1870.
Size: Image size 9 1/4 x 14 1/4" (260 x 361 mm).

Millstone Cottage, Greenfield Hill, Fairfield, Conn., Christmas Card, 1921; also called "Millestones".
John Taylor Arms

Bridgeport Conn. and Environs, From Old Mill Hill.
Category: 18-19th Century Prints > Town Views
Location: Connecticut
Publisher: Published by John Cornwall, 1 Sterlingblock, Bridgeport Conn.
Medium Used: Two-color handcolored lithograph,
Year: 1857.
Size: Image size 18 3/16 x 27 13/16" (461 x 707 mm

Chicken Yard Back of the Holley House, Childe Hassam, (1902) (Cos Cob)

Schooner in the Ice, View from the Bush-Holley House, Cos Cob, Connecticut
Elmer MacRae

Ralph Boyer, Westport WPA Art Committee

Compo Beach - Westport.
Artist: George Wright Drypoint,
Year: c. 1942.
Size: Image size 7 5/8 x 11 5/8" (194 x 295mm).

George Earle, Bridgeport Parking Lot, courtesy of Southbury Training School

Eastern View of Bridgeport, Con.
Artist: John Barber
Category: 18-19th Century Prints > Town Views
Location: Connecticut
Medium Used: Engraving,
Year: 1837-49.
Size: Image size 3 1/4 x 6" (82 x 151 mm).
Condition: Good condition with modern handcoloring.

Beatrice Cuming, Saturday Night, New London, 1938, Collection of the Lyman Allyn Museum

Trumbull St. Hartford, Conn.
Artist: Martin Lewis, American, born Australia, 1883-1962
Medium: Etching on paper
Dates: 1935

Ruin Lust at Tate Britain

Ruin Lust will offer a guide to the mournful, thrilling, comic and perverse uses of ruins in art from the seventeenth century to the present day, at Tate Britain from 4 March 2014. The exhibition is the widest ranging on the subject of ruins in art to date and includes over 100 works by artists such as J.M.W. Turner, John Constable, John Martin, Eduardo Paolozzi, Rachel Whiteread and Tacita Dean.

The exhibition begins with the eighteenth century craze for ruins that overtook artists, writers and architects. J.M.W. Turner and John Constable were among those who toured Britain in search of ruins and picturesque landscapes, producing works such as

 Turner’s Tintern Abbey: The Crossing and Chancel, Looking towards the East Window, 1794

and Constable’s Sketch for ‘Hadleigh Castle’ c.1828–9.

Britain’s ruinous heritage has been revisited and sometimes mocked by later artists. Keith Arnatt photographed the juxtaposition of historic and modern elements at picturesque sites for his deadpan series A.O.N.B.(Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) 1982–4. John Latham’s sculpture Five Sisters Bing 1976 was part of a project to turn post-industrial shale heaps in Scotland into monuments. Classical ruins have a continued presence in the work of Eduardo Paolozzi, Ian Hamilton Finlay and John Stezaker. In Rachel Whiteread’s Demolished – B: Clapton Park Estate 1996, which shows the demolition of Hackney tower blocks, we see Modernist architectural dreams destroyed.

The exhibition explores ruination through both slow picturesque decay and abrupt apocalypse.

 John Martin’s The Destruction of Pompei and Herculaneum 1822 

recreates historical disaster 


while Gustave Doré’s engraving The New Zealander 1872 

shows a ruined London. 

The cracked dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance of this nineteenth century work was a scene partly realised during the Blitz.

Ruin Lust also investigates work provoked by the wars of the twentieth century. Graham Sutherland’s Devastation series 1940–1, depicts the aftermath of the Blitz while Jane and Louise Wilson’s 2006 photographs show the Nazis’ defensive Atlantic Wall along the north coast of France. Paul Nash’s photographs of surreal architectural fragments in the 1930s and 40s, or Jon Savage’s images of a desolate London in the late 1970s show how artists also view ruins as zones of pure potential, where the world must be rebuilt or reimagined.

The exhibition includes rooms devoted to Tacita Dean and Gerard Byrne. Dean’s film installation Kodak 2006 explores the ruin of the image, as the technology of 16mm film faces obsolescence. In 1984 and Beyond 2005–7, Byrne reimagines a future that might have been. The installation presents a re-enactment of a discussion, published in Playboy in 1963, in which science fiction writers – including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke – speculate about what the world might be like in 1984.

This transhistorical exhibition is curated by writer and critic Brian Dillon; Emma Chambers, Curator of Modern British Art; and Amy Concannon, Assistant Curator of British Art, 1790–1850.


 It is accompanied by a bookand a program of talks and events in the gallery.

Nice review

Passion and Virtuosity: Hendrick Goltzius and the Art of Engraving

University of San Diego
Feb. 21 through May 25, 2014

Passion and Virtuosity: Hendrick Goltzius and the Art of Engraving brings together nearly 60 works by this master engraver and his contemporaries. The exhibition is a collaborative effort by USD and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. In addition to works from USD’s and the Crocker’s permanent collections, Passion and Virtuosity includes outstanding examples of prints and drawings from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hammer Museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and private collectors throughout the country.

At the core of this collaborative exhibition are Goltzius’ prints dedicated to The Life of the Virgin and The Passion series, both of which demonstrate his chameleon-like virtuosity and distinctive style of engraving, such as the use of a swelling and tapering line to emphasize the illusion of volume that was adopted by a workshop of his students and followers. Divided thematically, the exhibition focuses as much on technique as it does on the various subjects of Goltzius’ series. Passion and Virtuosity explores the influence and interpretation of earlier printmakers in Goltzius’ work as well. Demonstrating the visual dialogue between Goltzius and some important precursors such as Albrecht Dürer, Passion and Virtuosity provides a deeper understanding of the history of engraving and visual culture in the late sixteenth century.

The exhibit was curated by Victoria Sancho Lobis, former curator of USD’s print collection and now the Prince Trust Associate Curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago, and William Breazeale, Curator at the Crocker Art Museum.

Hendrick Goltzius, The Annunciation (Birth and Early Life of Christ), 1594, Engraving. University of San Diego, Print Collection. Acquired in Honor of Robert Hoehn.

The Adoration of the Shepherds
Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558-1617), 1594
Engraving from the Life of the Virgin

Goltzius, Hendrick Adoration of the Magi, from the series "The Life of the Virgin"

Hendrick Goltzius, The Circumcision, 1594. Engraving, state ii/ii, plate and sheet 47 x 35.6 cm. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Hendrick Goltzius, The Last Supper, 1598. Engraving, state i/iii, plate and sheet 20.1 x 13.4 cm. University of San Diego, Purchased with funds from Robert and Karen Hoehn.

Hendrick Goltzius, "Christ Crowned With Thorns," from "The Passion of Christ," 1597, 7 1/8 x 5 1/8 in. Art Institute of Chicago, Joseph Brooks Fair Collection.


Hendrick Goltzius, Christ Carrying the Cross, 1596–1598. Engraving, state i/ii, plate 20.3 x 13.7 cm, sheet 20.9 x 14.3 cm. University of San Diego, purchased with funds from Robert and Karen Hoehn.


From 12 February to 11 May 2014, FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE'S exhibition halls (Paseo de Recoletos 23, 28004 Madrid) will host an exhibition dedicated to the drawings of Jacopo Carrucci (1494-1557), better known as PONTORMO and considered one of the greatest exponents of “Mannerism”.

The show will feature a carefully chosen array of 69 drawings—the majority loaned by the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, though other prestigious European museums such as the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich and the Vienna Albertina have also contributed to this selection—which document every stage in Pontormo's career and all the different drawing media he used.

The exhibition consists of 60 drawings by Pontormo as well as nine drawings by other great artists such as Dürer, Lorenzo di Credi, Poussin and Tiepolo, which have been included so that visitors can compare and contrast their different approaches to draughtsmanship and appreciate the originality of the Florentine artist's style.

The selected drawings will also be accompanied by a rare gem: Pontormo's Diary, held at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence, which has never been shown outside Italy until now. This journal contains writings and small sketches by the artist, created during the last years of his life, about his obsessions, his routines and his desire to draw in seclusion, and as such it is a unique testament to the legend of Pontormo as an artiste maudit.

This will be the first show of Pontormo's work ever held in Spain, organised to coincide with the 520º anniversary of the artist's birth. Meanwhile, in March the Palazzo Strozzi plans to inaugurate an exhibition about Pontormo and his friend Rosso Fiorentino that will focus on his paintings. Thus, Florence and Madrid have joined forces to celebrate this singular commemorative year. ,

This exhibition is further proof of the particular importance that FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE attaches to drawing, as the only Spanish institution whose art collection is dedicated exclusively to works on paper and which regularly organises shows featuring this genre.


Pontormo ranks among the most extravagant and extraordinary artists in the history of art. His obsessive, neurotic personality and wild mood swings, documented by Vasari, soon earned him a reputation as an artiste maudit. ,

Pontormo's astoundingly prolific corpus of drawings, primarily held in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, has contributed to the aura of legend surrounding this artist, as many consider his works on paper to be the expression of the painter's prima idea, concentrating the essence of his tortured soul. It seems undeniable that Pontormo used the paper format to explore ideas and work out his goals for more ambitious undertakings; however, he also turned to drawing as a pleasurable outlet for pent-up emotions, a kind of relaxing treat for the spirit.

Jacopo Pontormo, Estudio para El Entierro de Cristo.Sanguina sobre papel blanco. 167 x 333 mm. Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florencia.

Jacopo Pontormo. Muchacho sentado, preparatorio para Poggio a Caiano. Lápiz negro, trazas de albayalde, cuadrícula en sanguina sobre papel blanco. Inscripción a tinta: «Jacobi de Pont». 275 x 182 mm. Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florencia.

With regard to technique, Pontormo primarily used black and red pencil, almost always with white chalk, but he also experimented with ink, bistre and washes, and for more detailed drawings he preferred to use sanguine crayon.

The fact that Pontormo trained alongside great Italian Renaissance masters allowed him to experiment with different ways of drawing. His early apprenticeship to Leonardo da Vinci taught him to appreciate drawing as an exercise in private creativity, where an artist could express himself more freely. Pontormo's contact and later empathy with Piero di Cosimo encouraged the artist to develop his powers of imagination and fantasy. During his time at the Certosa di Galluzzo, while still absorbing the drawing techniques of his masters, Pontormo came across the prints of Albrecht Dürer, which his friend Rosso Fiorentino had already discovered, and the influence of this German master would become apparent in his preparatory studies for The Crucifixion. Andrea del Sarto, with whom Pontormo completed his first major public commissions, later became the greatest influence on his work. During his final years, while working on the project for the Church of San Lorenzo, Pontormo's drawings acquired a grandiose spirituality reminiscent of the style of Michelangelo. ,

The drawings in this exhibition cover every stage in the artist's career, from his work as an apprentice at Poggio a Caiano (1519-1521) to his final creations for the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence (1545-1556). Exemplary illustrations of Pontormo's early and late styles are present in his preparatory drawings for the works at the Certosa di Galluzzo (1522-1525), and his designs for the Capponi Chapel in the church of Santa Felicita (1526-1530).

Jacopo Pontormo ,Dos estudios de figura inclinada, preparatorios para San Juan Bautista en el desierto Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florencia ,

The most important drawings in the show are those related to the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence. Pontormo worked almost exclusively on the project for this religious building from 1545 until his death in 1556. Cosimo I de' Medici commissioned him to devise eight scenes, seven from the Old Testament and one from the New, to decorate the architecture designed by Brunelleschi. Throughout this project, Pontormo eschewed a temporal presentation of the scenes, striving instead to create symbolic contrasts that reinforced his ideas about faith.

His drawings from this period portray different versions of the same story and were treated as isolated compositions. Thanks to this approach, we can see how the scenes developed and matured in the artist's mind, and how drawing gradually became the channel through which Pontormo expressed different views of these intensely spiritual subjects. ,

In terms of their plastic quality, the San Lorenzo drawings illustrate the extreme Mannerism that characterised Pontormo’s final years. Nowhere is his use of the S-curve and mind-boggling distortions more striking or glorious than in his studies for the Flood and the Resurrection. These works are the silent screams of a deeply spiritual, painter who strove to express his anguish, dissatisfaction and constant quest for God. ,

While preparing this final commission, between 1554 and 1556 Pontormo kept a detailed diary in which he jotted down his daily routines, meals, aches and pains and other mundane information. However, the Diary also records his fear of death, his deep-seated spiritual convictions and the desire to find release for his soul through pencil and paper. The critical fortune of this Diary has always been linked to the perception of Pontormo as an artiste maudit. Now, for the first time, it is leaving Florence to appear in an exhibition.

Jacopo Pontormo. Cuatro estudios para la Pala Pucci. Lápiz negro y sanguina sobre papel blanco. 328 x 220 mm. Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florencia (Inv. 92201 r).


Jacopo Pontormo. Joven con turbante. Sanguina sobre papel blanco ligeramente oscurecido. 247 x 149 mm. Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florencia (Inv. 449 Fr).  

Jacopo Pontormo. Busto de hombre con barba, posible autorretrato de juventud del artista. Sanguina sobre papel blanco. 118 x 71 mm. Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florencia (Inv. 6719 Fr).


A scientific catalogue has been published to accompany this exhibition which contains reproductions of every work on display, with complete catalogue details for each, and essays by the show's curator, Kosme de Barañano, Pablo Jiménez Burillo and Benito Navarrete. The catalogue also includes a Spanish translation of Pontormo's Diary by Isabel Prieto and a biography and bibliography of the artist.,


Mauritshuis Presents The Young Vermeer

The three earliest paintings by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) were on display at the Mauritshuis in The Hague from 12 May until 22 August 2010. It was the first time these works by the well-loved painter from the Dutch Golden Age had been shown together in the Netherlands. These early painting are atypical for Vermeer. They do not represent richly decorated interiors filled with alluring women; instead he painted three remarkably large works depicting a mythological scene, a story from the Bible and a rather daring scene from everyday life. Nonetheless, every one of them reveals Vermeer’s hand and his interest in capturing stillness and the fall of light.

The display was organized in close collaboration with The National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden,

Seeking His Own Style

Vermeer started his career making history paintings, representing stories from the Bible and classical mythology. According to academic theory at the time, this was the highest form of painting. As a history painter Vermeer could hope to achieve the greatest respect, but for him this did not prove to be the most productive course. It was only after a period of two to three years, during which he sought his own style, that he started to concentrate on painting the atmospheric and lavish interior scenes for which he became so famous. The display The Young Vermeer brings this period of experimentation to life.

The Mythological Story

Diana and her Nymphs from the Mauritshuis’s own collection is probably the first painting Vermeer ever made. He would have been around 21 years old at the time. The picture exudes a sense of calm and shows the goddess and her nymphs at rest, a popular subject in seventeenth-century Dutch painting.

The Bible Scene

Vermeer’s second known work is Christ in the House of Martha and Mary from the collection of The National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh. Measuring 158.5 cm x 141.4 cm, this Bible scene is his largest painting and was likely painted in 1654-55. The colours used in this work are very similar to those in Diana and her Nymphs, particularly the striking shades of dark blue, ochre yellow, violet and red.

The Genre Piece

The third early Vermeer is called The Procuress and comes from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden. Vermeer painted this work in 1656 at the age of 24. Few paintings by Vermeer are as daring as this depiction of love for sale. The man who looks out from the left of the painting is likely a self-portrait, the only known example.

Vermeer and the Mauritshuis

The Mauritshuis has a strong connection with Vermeer, with three of the artist’s paintings in its permanent collection. View of Delft was acquired in 1822, shortly after the museum opened its doors, while Diana and her Nymphs followed in 1876 (having originally been purchased as a work by Nicolaes Maes). In 1903 the Mauritshuis received

Girl with a Pearl Earring,

which had been on loan to the museum since 1881, as a bequest from the collector A.A. des Tombe. Every year this collection of Vermeers, which is exceptional both in terms of number and subject matter, draws thousands of visitors from around the world.

In 1996, the Mauritshuis organised the first large-scale survey of Vermeer’s work. No fewer than 23 of the artist’s paintings, two-thirds of his entire output, were shown together in The Hague. The Procuress from Dresden was not included in that exhibition. In 2005, the museum was able to display another work not in that exhibition to the public:

The Art of Painting

 from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Now in 2010 the Mauritshuis is bringing the young Vermeer into the limelight for the first time by showing his three earliest works.


A book (of around 100 pages) written by Edwin Buijsen, Head of Collection at the Mauritshuis and curator of The Young Vermeer, accompanied the display. It considers Vermeer’s three early works in detail and includes extensive illustrations. It also looks at the rediscovery of Vermeer’s early work at the beginning of the twentieth century. This attractive publication is available in Dutch and English