351 The emotional turn

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”

Terms of reception: Europeans and Persians and each other’s art

From Mediating Netherlandish art and material culture in Asia, edited by Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann and Michael North, published by Amsterdam University Press, distributed in US by University of Chicago Press, 2014

From University of Chicago Press website (with more information on the book): “Scholars have extensively documented the historical and socioeconomic impact of the Dutch East India Company. They have paid much less attention to the company’s significant influence on Asian art and visual culture.

“Mediating Netherlandish Art and Material Culture in Asia addresses this imbalance with a wide range of contributions covering such topics as Dutch and Chinese art in colonial and indigenous households; the rise of Hollandmania in Japan; and the Dutch painters who worked at the court of the Persian shahs. Together, the contributors shed new light on seventeenth-century Dutch visual culture—and the company that spread it across Asia.”

Open (large) pdf (60Mb)

174 Shoot the piano player’s girlfriend

The source of François Truffaut’s movie Shoot the piano player has never been properly identified. In 2003 Schwartz revealed the film’s debt, via the novel by David Goodis that was Truffaut’s immediate inspiration, to Joseph Conrad’s immortal Victory. Ten years later, his discovery still ignored by the world, he sends it off once more. The P.S. predicted the onset of the debt crisis five years before the fall of Lehman Brothers. Continue reading “174 Shoot the piano player’s girlfriend”

326 Antwerp and Houghton Hall rehung

Three spectacular current exhibitions set out to restore the look and content of past displays of art. Antwerp Cathedral in the sixteenth century, an Antwerp merchant’s house in the seventeenth and the greatest English collection of the eighteenth have been endowed with their historical look and contents. Schwartz is deeply content. Continue reading “326 Antwerp and Houghton Hall rehung”

300 O Solomon, where art thou?

A painting by Jan Steen of a wedding night disturbed by a demon and saved by an archangel was cut in two in the distant past and put back together again in 1996. Ownership of the larger, more attractive part has now been awarded to the heirs of a Dutch Jewish art dealer to whom it belonged in 1940. What is going to happen now? Ending with an appeal to Marei von Saher.

Continue reading “300 O Solomon, where art thou?”

285 The Cotswolds Rembrandt

A country art auction in England made the front page all over when the world when 2.2 million pounds was paid for a painting that looks a lot like a Rembrandt self-portrait. Is it? Schwartz thinks it is, and supplies an analysis to explain why. At the same time, he shows how the published opinions of the Rembrandt Research Project could have led to the rejection of the painting by the experts consulted by the owner and the auction house. More like an article than a column. Continue reading “285 The Cotswolds Rembrandt”