18.10.2012: From Raphael to the end.

1. At the roots of Raphael’s art.

Raffael (Raffaello Santi, 1483–1520) Sketch for the lower left section of the “Disputa”, c. 1508/1509 Black chalk (charcoal?), pen and brown ink, over stylus, outlines pricked for transfer, on beige paper, 282 x 416 mm Department of Prints and Drawings, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

Raphael. Drawings.  The exhibition opening in the Städel Museum in Frankfurt on November 7th (up to February 3rd, 2013, admissions from €10.- to €14.-, catalogue for €34.90, press release here), promises far more than what you might suspect from its dry title. Completing Städel’s nine sheets with thirty-seven international loans (the Queen Elisabeth II, Louvre, Uffizi, et al.), it will present them grouped in four thematic areas that reflects Raphael’s use of drawings as the primary tools to develop his thinking as artist: “Madonna and the Child”, “Abstract Ideas”,  ”Historical Narratives”, and the different drawings for the decoration of Capella Chigi in Santa Maria della Pace in Rome. By doing so, curators Dr. Joachim Jacoby and Dr. Martin Sonnabend (from the museum itself) want to give the clues on how Raphael found the narrative solutions that will mark Western art forever. An international symposium will be held between  January 18-20, 2013.


2. Return to the adopted home.

This fine sketch by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (The Vision of Saint Anthony of Padua, oil on canvas, 61 x 39.7 cm), was looted to Paris, alongside the larger final work (165 x 200 cm) by Maréchal Soult, around 1810 – during the Napoleonic invasion of the Peninsula.  The larger final version ended up at the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin, but was destroyed by a bombardment in 1945. The smaller preparatory study however passed from private collection to private collection, even crossing the Channel (read the full story in artdaily ). It finally came to auction at Christie’s in December 2010 as “Studio of Bartolomé Murillo”, but the keen eye of the people from Caylus, the Madrid Old Masters gallery, spotted it, and bought it for a mere 10,000 pounds. They will include it in the forthcoming Paris Tableau  fair (Palais de la Bourse, November 7 – 12, admissions €15).


3. Met’s books are for free, forever.

Fancy browsing The Treasure of San Marco’s, Venice the 1984 exhibition catalogue of this hard-to-see trove of riches? This is what the Metropolitan Museum offers you for free, via MetMuseum , its new online service. In an unprecedented act of generosity, and public service, mighty Met is putting online,  and free to download, all of its out-of-print publications (including bulletins), plus previews and links for purchase for the in-print ones. Each of the current 645 records also provides access to the corresponding WorldCat ‘s record – another good reason to push Catalan and Spanish libraries into joining this international library catalogue.


4. One of us.

On October 17th, Dr. Bonaventura Bassegoda (Barcelona, 1954) was admitted as a new member of the venerable Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi, thanks to his achievements in art history research. His inaugural discourse clearly showed he was accepting the honour with a commitment to further work. He presented Josep Puiggarí i Llobet (1821-1903), still a poorly known collector, who can however be considered one of the first Catalan art historians. As proof of its potential value, Bassegoda revealed the existence of 5 albums of illustrations for a Puiggarí’s gigantic, never completed history of the Spanish dress. By copying the examples he found in Medieval sculpture and paintings, Puiggarí inadvertently left a record of works that are now scattered or presumed lost –information that can prove very useful to today’s researchers.


5. Albert works.

The new exhibition at Palau Antiguitats  (Pau Roig, gravats, i els mestres del paisatge del segle XVII al XIX, until January 18, 2013), is certainly the brainchild of owner and director Albert Martí Palau. Picking up an almost forgotten artist, Pau Roig i Cisa (1879-1955), he focuses on his less know facet as engraver, only to go further in the narrowing process by showing only Roig’s 1923-1931 series on landscapes.  He then complements the show with some examples of other European’s master engravers, starting with the Old Dutch from whom Roig found inspiration, and ending with nearly–contemporary, fellow countrymen Carlos de Haes and Enric Galwey. The result is a well framed exhibition, which, I hope, will help to rescue from obscurity this interesting, intelligent artist.


6. I am the excited owner of this one.

Ok, I do admit the first time I show a photo of this oil painting (Jules Garipuy, The ascent to the chapel of the Divino Amore, 74 x 112), the comment was “what a nice little cheap picture card”. But forget prejudices about popular religion as subject matter, look at the quality of it – and above all, consider its attractive combination of a rather unknown artist, Jules Garipuy (Touluse, 1817 – 1893), and a perfect match of style, place and date: “Rome, 1846″ says the signature. At that time, the international mix of artists living in the city were trying to move on from the previous, and still strong Nazarene idealistic influence, and turned to a kind of soft realism – which is precisely what this painting shows. And of course, this is only the first step of a long researchingthat looks quite promising.


7. Autumn’s spleen.

Blame it on the season, but this is the second project I have heard about this month relating to art and death. Through Apahau’s blog, I learn that the organizers of LUCAS Graduate Conference 2013, have launched an appeal for papers on Death: The Cultural Meaning of the End of Life. The very broad terms they use for establishing the key question of the meeting (“How have different cultures imagined the end of life?”), might betray their feeling that the field remains basically unexplored. The Conference will be held in the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, on January 24th-25th 2013, and the deadline for proposals is November 15th.

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