Archive for the 'pictorial arts' Category

Raphael Portraits at the National

Baldassare Castiglione, 1519


I gave a Facebook Live tour of the last room of the Raphael exhibition at the National Gallery the other night, devoted to the artist’s late portraits. You can see it here. You’re welcome!

Aretino in Print Quarterly


In the latest issue of Print Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 1, I review three publications — an exhibition catalogue from the Uffizi and two scholarly anthologies — around the Venetian writer, polemicist and literary activist Pietro Aretino (1492-1556), with a specific view to their treatment of Aretino’s relationship with prints and printmaking.

Aretino was involved in printmaking throughout his career, employing it as a way of self-promotion but also encouraging creative engagement in the medium on the part of his friends, not least Titian. In the review, I reattribute the design of an engraved portrait of Aretino of around 1534 by Jacopo Caraglio, and a woodcut frontispiece based on the same model, to Titian. Consult the issue at your local art library!

Publications reviewed: Anne Bisceglia, Matteo Ceriana and Paolo Procaccioli, eds., Pietro Aretino a l’arte nel Rinascimento, exh. cat. Florence, Uffizi, Florence 2019; Anne Bisceglia, Matteo Ceriana and Paolo Procaccioli, eds., “Pietro Pictore Aretino”: Una parola complice per l’arte del Rinascimento, Venice 2019; and Anne Bisceglia, Matteo Ceriana and Paolo Procaccioli, eds., Inchiostro per colore: arte e artisti in Pietro Aretino, Rome 2019.

Raphael at the National Gallery


It is here! After six years of planning: the great Raphael exhibition that I’ve co-curated with Tom Henry and David Ekserdjian has opened at the National Gallery in London. It presents a comprehensive overview of Raphael’s entire career and charts his creativity across media and art forms, beyond drawing and painting to architecture and to design for tapestry, print, sculpture and the applied arts, as well as his activities as an archaeologist and art theorist. Even his essays in poetry are included. Need I say that the loans we have received from across Europe and the United States are incredible?

Originally planned for 2020, to mark the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death on 6 April, Good Friday 1520, it was postponed due to the pandemic. I’m relieved that it is finally happening. Raphael feels so urgent today, not least after two years of pandemic and the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and with the sometimes crushing awareness of the challenges posed by climate change and environmental destruction. Raphael’s art and whole ethos is the opposite of that — a passionate assertion of human dignity, community and civilisation. Art doesn’t change the world, of course, but it still reflects it.

Do go, often and repeatedly, if you can. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Book here.

The Sistine Chapel In Our Time


I participated in the venerable In Our Time with Melwyn Bragg in an episode on the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo, alongside Catherine Fletcher from Manchester Metropolitan University and Sarah Vowles of the British Museum. It was a lot of fun and, I hope, an informative discussion. The brodcast was yesterday, but you can download the extended podcast version via BBC Sounds and, eventually, on other podcast platforms.

New Book out!


I have a new book out! Several years in the making, The Compass and the Mirror — Sebastiano del Piombo and Michelangelo is an anthology of scholary articles on the two great artists and their collaboration and relationship between 1511 and 1547. Inspired by the exhibition Michelangelo & Sebastiano that I curated at the National Gallery in 2017, it gathers a to my mind stellar group of scholars, conservators and scientists in what I hope will be a standard reference volume for anyone researching the field in the years to come. Published by Brepols, you can find more information, including how to order, on their website. Here is the table of contents: Continue reading ‘New Book out!’

Radio Rackham: Frækhedens evangelium


I denne episode af Radio Rackham snakker Frederik, Thomas og jeg med Dennis Meyhoff Brink om religionssatirens europæiske historie. Dennis forsvarede sin PhD om emnet ved IKK på Københavns Universitet i efteråret men har længe markeret sig som uhyre velartikuleret specialist på området. Som det naturligt følger med seriøst historisk arbejde, beriger hans indsigter forståelsen af vor tids debatter om religionskritik, ytringsfrihed, Muhammedtegninger, cancel culture og meget andet. Lyt og læs mere på Nummer9.

Kurt Westergaard at The Comics Journal


Back in July when Kurt Westergaard — the Danish cartoonist behind the most infamous and consequential satirical cartoon in history, the so-called Bomb in the Turban — died, I wrote an obituary and submitted it to The Comics Journal, the great magazine on comics and cartoon art to which I’ve contributed on/off over the years. For various reasons, it appears there only now, but I’m very happy to see it in publication and encourage you to read it! Oh, and if you understand Danish, to listen to the episode of Radio Rackham that we recorded on Westergaard and the Muhammad cartoons back then. It’s good!

Cartoon by Thomas Thorhauge, originally published in Weekendavisen 22 July 2021.

Radio Rackham: Piranesi


Vi afslutter året på Radio Rackham med et afsnit om Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) i anledning af den store udstilling, der pt. kan ses på Statens Museum for Kunst (når der ikke, som lige nu, er corona-lukket). Det er en fornøjelse på den måde at udvide feltet i podcastet til at omfatte anden kunst og andre kulturfænomener end dem, der stringent kan kaldes tegneserier. Det har altid været vores ambition på Rackham at se kunstformen i en større sammenhæng.

Lyt her og læs mere på Nummer9.

On Vasari’s Allegory of Patience

In The National Gallery’s ongoing offering of online ten-minute talks, I’m chipping in with 6 and half minutes on Giorgio Vasari’s great Allegory of Patience, which we have on loan from The Kletsch Collection. Enjoy!

See more ten-minute talks and other video content from the Gallery here.

On the Road


I recently had the pleasure of sitting down (online) with Howard Burton of Ideas Roadshow podcast to discuss my life and work, particularly at The National Gallery in London. The resulting podcast is now online! Clocking it at over two hours, it’s rather wide-ranging covering in particularly how my life in comics intersects with that in art and how hip hop changed my life. Check it out here:

Titian in Boston


The exhibition of Titian’s six great so-called poesie for King Philip II (c. 1551-1562) that I helped organise at the National Gallery in London, and which showed in modified form at the Prado earlier this year, has now opened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston under the title Titian: Women, Myth & Power.

From what I’ve seen in the press and online, I’m greatly impressed with their installation and didactic material they’ve put together, and it pleases me greatly to see these great Titians united in my American home away from home in Boston. I can’t wait hopefully to see it later in the autumn.

If you’re anyway near it, do go see it. It is truely and without hyperbole a once-in-a-lifetime chance. These are some of the great paintings of the Western tradition and they haven’t been seen together since the 1570s.

Radio Rackham: Kurt Westergaard


I sidste uge måtte vi sige farvel til Kurt Westergaard, manden der tegnede Profeten Muhammed med en bombe i turbanen og dermed var med til på godt og ondt at ændre verdens gang. Thomas, Frederik og jeg diskuterer tegningen, manden og krisen i den seneste episode fra Radio Rackham og jeg synes vi kommer både godt og vidt omkring.

Karikaturkrisen har påvirket os Rackhamitter meget, så det var en episode vi længe har haft i os. Og ligesom de fleste andre danskere, er det stensikkert ikke gjort med det: de tegninger er på sin vis mareridtet, der aldrig går væk. En torn i siden, der aftvinger stillingtagen og sjælekvaler. Læs mere på Nummer9 og lyt her!

Radio Rackham: Tegneseriemuseum?


Den her episode er tæt på. Frederiksbergmuseerne har besluttet sig for at udskille den unikke tegneseriesamling, de i form at Storm P.-museet i 2012 have overtaget fra Anders Hjorth-Jørgensen og hans Tegneseriemuseet i Danmark. Jeg var, samme med Louise C. Larsen og Søren Vinterberg med til at forhandle aftalen på plads dengang og vi troede den hellige grav var velforvaret — at samlingen var sikret for eftertiden og at Storm P.-museet nu havde grundlaget for skabelsen af et egentlig tegneseriemuseum i Danmark.

Det viste sig ikke at være tilfældet. Storm P.-museet fusionerede under Frederiksbergmuseerne i 2013 og det blev efterhånden tydeligt, at midlerne og viljen manglede. i 2018 besluttede bestyrelsen sig så for at udskille Anders Hjorth Jørgensens samling, som de til både vores og Anders Hjorth Jørgensens store overraskelse alligevel ikke havde forpligtet sig til at beholde og udvikle. Der er tale om to fundamentalt forskellige læsninger af overdragelsesdokumentet, som vi oplevede som forpligtende på museumsloven, mens de ser det som en hensigtserklæring. Det eneste bindende i den aftale, er åbenbart at Frederiksbergmuseerne har den fulde råderet og derfor nu arbejder på at afhænde samlingen på bedste vis.

Det er hele dette problemfelt vores episode analyserer nærmere, med venlig deltagelse af inspektør ved Storm P.-museet Nikolaj Brandt, forlægger Carsten Søndergaard og John Kenn Mortensen fra Dansk Tegneserieråds desværre snarligt afgående bestyrelse. Vi stiller os selv spørgsmålet om hvad et dansk tegneseriemuseum kunne være og hvilke konkrete muligheder, der er for fremtiden. Det er grove løjer, men hvis episoden kan inspirere folk til at engagere sig — helst som ny kandidat til bestyrelsen i Dansk tegneserieråd, som jeg stadig opfatter som den bedste mulighed for at formidle en redningsplan — vil noget da være nået.

Lyt med her og læs mere på Nummer9.

The Shape of Time in Milan


Postponed by Covid, the exhibition La forma del tempo (‘The Shape of Time’) at the Poldi Pezzoli in Milan finally opened last month and runs till 27 September. Centred around the museum’s extraodinary collection of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century clocks, it examines conceptions of time in the renaissance as expressed in the visual arts. The National Gallery has lent Titian’s Allegory of Prudence, a picture that grapples with issues of family, succession, memory and time through a creative interpretation of a traditional iconography that represents time in the form of three heads, either human or animal. Anyway, I wrote the entry for the painting and would encourage readers who are in MIlan or find themselves there to go see the show. It looks fascinating. Check our Works section for info on the catalogue.

Lorenzo Lotto’s Monte San Giusto Crucifixion


One of Lorenzo Lotto’s greatest altarpieces can be found in the small church of Santa Maria della Pietà in the town of Monte San Giusto in the Marche. Painted in 1528-29, it is a stunningly ambitious representation of the Crucifixion, conceived by a master at the height of his powers, but also an artist who was increasingly struggling to find work in his native Venice leading him to seek employment elsewehere, especially in the Marche where many of the greatest of his later works can still be seen today.

In preparation for the twin Lotto exhibitions of 2018-19, Lorenzo Lotto Portraits at the Museo del Prado and the National Gallery and Lorenzo Lotto: Il richiamo delle Marche, Prof. Enrico Maria Dal Pozzolo and I visited Monte San Giusto to see the altarpiece in July 2018. It was a great experience and we susequently agreed to help produce videos on the work for the Commune. These have now been released to the public and will hopefully help attract people to the altarpiece, the town and the region. I cannot recommend it highly enough. For help, check this guide to seeing Lotto in the region.
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