Archive for the 'pictorial arts' Category

Fra Angelico i Weekendavisen

Madonna og barnet med granatæble, ca. 1526, Madrid, Museo del Prado.


Ach, jeg glemte det i skyndingen, men i denne uges udgave af Weekendavisen, som kom i fredags, kan man læse min anmeldelse af den fremragende udstilling af den store florentinske fjortenhundredetalsmaler Fra Angelico på Prado-museet i Madrid. Hvis du skal til Madrid, må du endelig ikke gå glip af den, eller museet for dan sags skyld (men det siger sig selv!)

Læs her, hvis du har abonnement, eller køb avisen!

Titian Upgrade at Apsley House


Over at Apollo Magazine‘s website I provide my assessment of a picture of Orpheus, which has recently been restored in the process plausibly been associated with Titian. Go, read.

Dominique Goblet at The Comics Journal


My latest column at The Comics Journal is an extensive examination of Belgian artist and comics maker Dominique Goblet’s work over the last ten years and how she has made collaboration an essential part of her practice. Here’s an excerpt from the lead-in:

…Dominique Goblet is intensely concerned with life as lived by others, and life as a communal experience. She is among the most empathetic of artists working in the comics form, with each project pushing further the boundaries of interpersonal hermeneutics. Goblet is of the generation that emerged in the ’90s and helped consolidate ‘the graphic novel’ and ‘art comics’ in broader cultural terms—the first, arguably, to unabashedly self-identify as artists.

It is probably unsurprising, therefore, that she made autobiography—the genre that centered that movement—her proving ground. But she differs from most of her peers in that she has consistently looked beyond herself, in the process redefining for reality-based comics the way of working that has determined so much of the historical evolution of comics: collaboration.

Verrocchio (og Leonardo) i Weekendavisen

Andrea del Verrocchio, Bevinget dreng med delfin, ca. 1470–5, Firenze, Museo di Palazzo Vecchio


I dagens udgave af Weekendavisen kan man læse min anmeldelse af den fantastiske udstilling om Andrea del Verrocchio (ca. 1435–1488) som kunstner, værkstedsbestyrer og læremester for Leonardo i Palazzo Strozzi i Firenze. Udstillingen giver et fornemt indblik i det summende kreative florentiske kunstnermiljø i anden halvdel af fjortehundredetallet. Se udstillingen, hvis du kan, og læs anmeldelsen i avisen, eller her hvis du har abo.

Titian’s shitting dog


That got your attention, I hope? Yes, Titian drew a shitting dog, which he inserted into one of the most monumental compositions of his early years, the twelve-block woodcut of the Submersion of Pharaoh’s Army in the Red Sea (c. 1517), right next to the figure of Moses! (detail above) In the latest issue of Art in Print, I examine the meaning and sources of this coarse insertion into what on first sight seems a grad and heroic composition, but — while it is certainly that — upon further inspection is inflected with a realism that is almost unprecedented in Venetian Renaissance art, informed as it must be by Titian’s possibly traumatic experiences of war during the struggle of Venice against the powerful League of Cambrai. Read more at your local art library or, if you’re a subscriber or would like to become one, online right here.

Miniaturemaleri i Weekendavisen

Nicholas Hilliard, selvportræt, 1577, Victoria and Albert Museum


I dagens Weekendavis kan man læse min anmeldelse af den fornemme udstilling the National Portrait Gallery de seneste måneder har vist af miniatureportrætter af genrens to store britiske mestre Nicholas Hilliard og Isaac Oliver. En art kollektiv portræt af den britiske elite under Elizabeth I og Jakob I via udsøgte kunstværker. Den bedste udstilling i London lige nu, men desværre ikke ret meget længere. Se den hvis du er i byen før 19 maj og læs kataloget.

Lorenzo Lotto: Last Days


The Lorenzo Lotto Portraits exhibition at the National Gallery, which I co-organised with Miguel Falomir and Enrico Maria Dal Pozzolo, is now in the last days of its run. It’s been a great season for Lotto, what with us putting Lotto on at two of the major art museums of the world, the Museo del Prado in Madrid and The National Gallery, and with the concurrent Lotto initiative, inspired in part by our exhibition, in the region of the Marche, which has included an additional, more specialist-oriented exhibition in Macerata as well as the introduction of a joint ticket for visitors wanting to go on the Lotto trail through the region. Something which I’ve done and highly recommend — not only does it feature some of the artist’s greatest altarpieces and other paintings, the Marche is also a beautiful part of the world, mercifully free of tourists. Now, with tours, academic conferences, study days and other activities behind me, I can only say that I’ve become even more devoted learning about to this astonishing artist. I hope you have too.

Encouragingly in that regard, the London iteration of the exhibition, smaller but arguably more focused than the magnificent Madrid one, has a success. It is heartening to see so many people show an interest in a great artist who is virtually unknown outside Italy. I attribute it to Lotto’s very direct, intimate and relatable approach to his subject matter — he is an artist of great empathy who cannot but invest a lot of himself in his work, and it shows. If you haven’t seen the show yet and are in London, I hope you might be able to find the time. It’s open till Sunday. Check my introduction to the show above.

Flashback: In Conversation about Sebastiano & Michelangelo

Michelangelo & Sebastiano, with Dr Matthias Wivel and Dr Piers Baker-Bates from Colnaghi Foundation on Vimeo.

It’s Christmas time, so here’s a treat for the two and half people who might care. I was searching for something else and happened upon this video through the Colnaghi Foundation website. It records a conversation I had at their premises in London in the spring of 2017 with my colleague Piers Baker-Bates on Sebastiano del Piombo, his relationship to Michelangelo and his fortuna critica in Spain (a particular specialty of Piers’). Of course the impetus was the exhibition I had organised at the National Gallery, to which Piers had provided invaluable assistance.

I was aware at the time that it was being filmed but forgot all about it, so it’s nice to see it’s been online for a while. It’s very nerdy, but that was also kind of the brief, and frankly a relief at a time when I was doing many more general — and also enjoyable! — introductions to the subject. Plus, it’s always nice to chat with Piers. Enjoy!

Walther Isaacsons Leonardo


I dagens bogtillæg til Information anmelder jeg den danske udgave af Walther Isaacsons glimrende populærbiografi over Leonardo da Vinci. Hvorfor er himlen blå? Læs her (men gryn).

Venetian Drawings in Copenhagen


Years in the making, Chris Fischer’s latest catalogue of the collection of old master drawings at SMK, formerly in the Royal Print Collection, in Copenhagen, is now available. It covers the Venetian drawings, which is one of the collection’s strengths, even if it only contains a handful of real masterpieces.

I had the fortune of collaborating with Chris on this catalogue during my short stint as a research fellow at SMK, 2012-14. My contributions were minimal, but I am still proud to see my entries on Domenico Campagnola and his Paduan colleague Stefano dall’Arzere in there along with Chris’ exemplary entries on everything from Carpaccio and Veronese to Aliense and the Tiepolos. Also, Chris’ general introduction to the Venetian school of drawing is as good a short primer on this complex and still somewhat neglected field as you will find anywhere.

Bizarrely, the museum does not seem to sell this new publication, nor the former entries in what is a gold standard series for the cataloguing of drawings, anywhere online. I’m sure the catalogue will soon be available through international booksellers, but so far the only place I’ve found it is the Danish store Saxo.com.

Chris Fisher, with contributions by Matthias Wivel, Venetian Drawings (Italian Drawings in the Royal Collection of Graphic Art), Copenhagen: Statens Museum for Kunst, 2018

Grotesker Redux

Antonio Tempesta, loftsudsmykning fra Uffizi-galleriet i Firenze, 1579-81. Foto af Pernille Klemp.


Endnu engang er jeg blevet udsat for lemfældig redaktion. Efter en længere redigeringsproces, initeret af avisen selv, lykkedes det alligevel Information at trykke en tidlig kladde i stedet for den færdige version af min anmeldelse af Maria Fabricius Hansens The Art of Transformation. Den officielle udgave, som kan læses i ugens bogtillæg og på Informations hjemmeside, er præget af fejl og bommerter, samt vendinger der måske ikke er helt ligetil og forståelige. Som en særlig service bringer jeg derfor hermed den færdige, rigtige tekst.

Renæssancens underverden
Af Matthias Wivel

I løbet af det femtende århundredes sidste årtier begyndte humanister, kunstnere og arkæologer i Rom for alvor at udforske det begravede Domus Aurea—Kejser Neros ’gyldne hus’: et enormt forlystelseskompleks, han havde bygget på byens ruiner i tiden efter den kataklysmiske brand i år 64. Efter despotens død blev store dele af det revet ned mens andre blev begravet, og med tiden svandt det fra folkeerindringen og blev legende, som så meget andet i den tidligere kejserstad.

Det underjordiske palads’ ruiner, med dets tilsandede haller, kollapsede korridorer og afsondrede kamre, nærede forestillinger om antikkens underside blandt renæssancens lærde—det hedonistiske, det uhyggelige, det uhåndgribelige, i al dets skønhed og gru. På væggene fandt de farverige dekorationer, der i disciplinerede mønstre sammensatte stiliserede planteranker og hybride fantasivæsner i imaginære arkitektoniske rammer.

Denne opdagelse accelererede udviklingen af et nyt ornamentalt vokabularium hos tidens kunstnere—et vildtvoksende dekorationssystem, der snart skulle udsmykke bygninger overalt i Italien og efterhånden også hinsides. Det dannede rammer omkring og indtog randområderne mellem de mere naturalistiske, ofte fortællende billeder og billedserier, der prydede alt fra kapeller til kunstkamre, ja, det koloniserede sågar den tredje dimension i form af arkitektonisk ornamentik og interiørdesign. Continue reading ‘Grotesker Redux’

Grotesker i Information


Luca Signorelli, fra San Brizio-kapellet i Orvietos katedral.

I ugens bogtillæg anmelder jeg Maria Fabricius Hansens store mongrafi om 1500-tallets såkaldte grotesker — et særligt ornamentsystem inspireret af antikkens dekorationsmønstre, en vildtvoksende, ofte irrationelt funderet billedverden, der ofte ses mellem og omkring de mere rationelt formulerede narrative billeder, der ofte udsmykkede bygningsværker. Bogen, som er baseret på mange års forskning, forskyder sig i mange retninger og bliver en art kortlægning af det ubevidste, det uhøjtidelige og det uhyggelige i renæssancens billedverden. Stærkt anbefalelsesværdig. Læs anmeldelsen her (men penge).

Lazarus explained


At the National Gallery we’re currently running a series of half-hour lunchtime lectures on the history of the Gallery told through six key paintings. I kicked off the series a couple of weeks ago with a talk on a painting that has become near and dear to me for perhaps obvious reasons, The Raising of Lazarus by Sebastiano del Piombo, from partial designs by Michelangelo. It was an ideal place to start since it was the first painting inventorised at the founding of the National Gallery in 1824, with the number NG1. See it above. The talks are all available at the National Gallery’s YouTube page.

Lorenzo Lotto Portraits


For the past couple of years I’ve been working with Miguel Falomír, director of the Museo del Prado in Madrid, and Professor Enrico Maria dal Pozzolo of the University of Verona, to bring you this exquisite exhibition of one of the greatest portraitists of the Western tradition, Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1557). It gives me great pleasure finally to see it open in Madrid tomorrow, where it will remain till 30 September before travelling to London for a more concise showing between 5 November and 10 February. It includes a large, varied selection of his portraits as well as a number of objects of the kind he depicted with such care in them — jewellery, books, sculptures, clothing, carpets… — for what I hope will function as an extension of portraiture and our understanding of it into so-called material culture.

Lotto is one of the great idiosyncratic artists of the Renaissance, painting like nobody else. His religious paintings are full of energy, humour, and a striking down-to-earth pathos, as are his portraits which are amongst the most varied and empathetic of the period. Itinerant for most of his life, he found the greatest success in his early career in Treviso in the first decade and especially Bergamo in the second, though he continued to produce fascinating, personal work through his late, depressed years.

Rarely able to attract the kind of elite clientele that was available to his great contemporary Titian, he distinguished himself for posterity by painting mostly the emerging bourgeoisie, the demographic that would increasingly dominate European politics, economy and culture down to the present day. His portraits seem remarkably frank, warts-and-all without being ostentatious about it, and as mentioned deeply empathetic. His sitters always invariably appear interesting to us, as if the artist is bringing forward their unique qualities for us to contemplate, not just on their behalf but on the behalf of humanity.

Conceived by Miguel and consolidated by Enrico, who is one of the premier Lotto specialists working today, the exhibition is one to which I’ve contributed mostly as a junior partner, but I am proud of the results, also of my own labour on it. The Prado has produced the catalogue, which we hope will stand as a significant contribution to Lotto scholarship, as well as an easy to access introduction to his activities as a portraitist and the historical and social context within which he worked. I’ve contributed the entries on the portrait drawings and the National Gallery’s three Lotto portraits, among other things. Do seek it out if you’re interested, and most importantly go see the exhibition. Please note that the exhibition is significantly larger at the Prado, which is definitely the place to see it for completists and specialists, while it will be more select, but hopefully no less beautiful and poignant at the National Gallery.

Enjoy!

Leonardo i Information


I den forgangne weekends bogtillæg til Information har jeg skrevet en anmeldelse af Taschens nyudgivelse af kunsthistoriker Frank Zöllners monografi og oeuvrekatalog over Leonardo da Vincis malerier fra 2003. Den nye udgave udmærker sig ved et nyt forord, der giver en overflyvning af den bemærkelsesværdige udvikling, der er sket i Leonardo-forskningen siden da, først og fremmest med en grundig gennemgang af Verdens Dyreste Kunstværk (TM), Salvator Mundi (ovenfor), der som bekendt blev solgt på auktion sidste år for $450 millioner og efter sigende snart vil blive udstillet på det nyåbnede Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Grundlæggende er bogudgivelsen en opportunistisk, om end en som altid smukt illustreret, lappeløsning fra Taschens side, men den giver anledning til nogle overvejelser netop over hvor vi er i Leonardo-forskningen, samt nogle tanker om hvorfor Leonardo er verdens mest berømte kunstner. Læs bag paywallen her.