A guest column by Loekie Schwartz. The calm central figure in the Primavera is framed by a bower with the shape of the cupola of Florence Cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. The visual rhyme is intended to convey that she partakes both in the floral association of the name and its Marian essence. A further link between painting and cathedral is to be found in a writing by Alberti, where the Duomo is called a springtime refuge from the vicissitudes of the world outside. Please copy to students of Italian art and literature. Continue reading “389 Botticelli’s Primavera as an image of Santa Maria del Fiore”
The full version of an essay published in the catalogue to the exhibition Rembandt’s Orient: West Meets East in Dutch Art of the Seventeenth Century, Basel (Kunstmuseum Basel) and Potsdam (Museum Barberini) 2020-21.
The Francesco Datini Institute in Prato holds a highly distinguished yearly conference (Settimana di studi) on economics and its history. The range of subjects is impressive and inspiring, from “Wool as a raw material” in 1969 to “Water management in Europe, twelfth to eighteenth centuries” in 2017. In 2001 the theme was “Economics and art,” with more than fifty European and American participants. My contribution was a comparison of the patronage networks in three major seventeenth-century art centers. I suggested that certain structural similarities reveal themselves that may point to deep-lying social forces.
The proceedings were published in 2002 in a form that is not easy to scan well. Now that I have tried, fifteen years later, I see that the results are legible enough. An invaluable feature of Datini proceedings is that they include the discussions following each block of papers. Click here for a column on the congress.
“The structure of patronage networks in Rome, The Hague and Amsterdam in the 17th century,” in: Simonetta Cavaciocchi, ed., Economia e arte secc. XIII-XVIII: Atti della “Trentatreesima Settimana di Studi” 30 april-4 maggio 2001, Le Monnier for Istituto Internazionale di Storia Economica “F. Datini,” Prato 2002, pp. 567-74
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That strong emotions have irresistible power over us is undeniable. What can be denied, or ignored, is the all-pervasive influence of even low-grade emotion on society and its members. The Australian Research Council (ARC) is funding a project to investigate the effects of emotion on European life in the second millennium. Schwartz brings back a progress report on emotion in art. Continue reading “351 The emotional turn”
A magnificent new catalogue has been published on the Bernard and Mary Berenson collection at I Tatti. Schwartz uses it to test the sustainability of the Berensons’ attributions of paintings for which they put down cash on the barrelhead. The results are disenchanting. Only one of eighty-seven relevant entries is an original Berenson attribution that is still accepted. Continue reading “345 The transparent connoisseur 4: A Berenson scorecard”
In 1300 the first Holy Year was proclaimed, offering pilgrims to Rome attractive indulgence packets. This took place shortly after access to pilgrimage sites in the Holy Land was curtailed by the loss of Acre. Schwartz relates these events to each other and to the commissioning of Giotto’s depiction in St. Peter’s of the Ship of the Church, the famous Navicella. Continue reading “328 Sailing to salvation”
Impressions of museums and monuments in Hangzhou and Wūzhèn, China, in November 2011. Continue reading “324 Some new museums in the east, part 1”
Diego Velázquez was a better artist than his master, Francisco Pacheco. This is reason enough for some art historians to deny that Pacheco, the leading Seville artist of his day, was a formative influence on his pupil. Schwartz sees this as an affront to the historical study of art, and he rallies to set matters straight. Below the line his welcome greeting to the new Dutch government. Continue reading “308 Francisco Pacheco’s son-in-law makes good”
400 years ago last January a precious gift from Bishop Bernard Maciejowski of Kraków reached Shah Abbas I of Persia. It was a magnificent picture Bible, apparently intended to warm Abbas’ heart for the Christian faith.The manuscript, now in the Morgan LIbrary, unites contributions from Jewish, Christian and Muslim civilization. As a talisman, it has not yet done its work.
The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague is showing a first-rate selection of modern French and Serbian art from the National Museum in Belgrade. Schwartz notes that more two-thirds of the displays come from the collection of the Jewish art dealer Erich Chlomovitch, who was killed by the Nazis. His heirs have never been recompensed for the 429 valuable items that have been in the museum for over 50 years. Schwartz is reminded of the case of the Dutch Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker. Continue reading “215 A Yugoslav Goudstikker in The Hague”