Monthly Archives: February 2016

Cosmin Minea, PhD researcher in the Department, publishes “New Images for Modern Nations: Creating a ‘National’ Architecture for the Balkan Countries at Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889”

AHRC/M3C scholar and PhD researcher Cosmin Minea has published part of his past research as an article in the book Ephemeral Architecture in Central and Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Miklós Székely ed.) that has appeared with the French publisher l’Harmattan. In this work he describes the meanings of the pavilions and other constructions displayed by the three newly independent countries from the Balkan Peninsula, Greece, Serbia, and Romania, at the 1889 Parisian Universal Exhibition.

Cosmin lays the stake of the article at the very beginning that: “For the young Balkan countries, 19th century Universal Exhibitions were priceless opportunities to show off the unique characteristics that defined them as a nation, and architecture played a key role in a place of competing nationalisms, where visual displays where meant to be as attractive as possible.”

He then approaches the topic in three stages. First he describes how paradoxically French architects were those who designed “national” architecture to represent the Balkan countries. Then he takes a closer look at what exactly were the “national” architectural elements to discover yet another paradox: that some of the architecture taken to be national and thus specific for one country can actually be seen and have the same meaning as other countries. An example is the colourful glazed ceramic tiles that are taken to be “national” both by Serbia and Romania. Finally Cosmin analyses the importance of French views that played down the “national” specificities the Balkan countries wanted to promoted and rather associated them with the Oriental and exotic part of the Exhibition. In the end Cosmin concludes that the participation at the Paris 1889 Universal Exhibition proved to be an important step for newly independent countries form the Balkans to define artistic styles representative for the national state.

The article is part of a book that deals with a variety of constructions designed for national and international exhibitions in the 19th and 20th centuries and follows a conference held in Budapest in 2013. From very diverse geographical areas, these temporary buildings of the modern period stand for the latest trends in architecture and express contemporary ideas of nationalism, power, entertainment and art.

The book with the article (including lots of photos!) will be available soon by request. Meanwhile Cosmin’s former MA thesis that is the basis for the article and includes even more photos is free to download here.

Ephemeral - cover



The museum of the future! Technology advances research in the humanities (again)

Faith Trend

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 15.40.24

A viewer looking at a graphic of Venice and seeing the reconstructed map of the city for a given year and the document that served for the reconstruction, in this case an image the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo in the eighteenth century


Following on from Jamie’s fascinating blog post a little while back on the use of technology in the reconstruction of the church of S. Pier Maggiore in Florence, this week I’m highlighting a really fascinating project going on in Venice at the moment and it comes with a helpful 10 minute Ted talk.

Professor Federic Kaplan is part of a project run by EPFL and the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari to create a massive digital collection of Venice’s archives so that they can create a time machine using that data so that when you look at something like a Google map, as well as being able to move around the space, you can also move backwards and forwards through the space and see what it was like hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 15.39.56

A helpful chart that Kaplan uses to show how we can create digital information for past centuries – through the digitisation of thousands of printed books and materials and through extrapolation (or simulation) of that material.

Kaplan explains it far more succinctly and passionately than I do so I’m going to let him do all the talking here.

Kaplan highlights that to construct such a time machine, one needs large archives and excellent specialists for those archives. Venice has both of these in abundance which is one of the many reasons it was chosen for this project. As a researcher who has spent many hours in Venice’s Archivio di Stato (which is indeed a very large archive!), the idea that all of their hundreds of thousands of archival documents will one day be online, possibly even transcribed and translated, is a source of major excitement. Kaplan gives just a few examples of the sorts of questions that could be asked of this material from: ‘who lived in this palazzo in 1323?’ or ‘how much did sea bream cost at the Rialto market in 1434?’ to mapping out Mediterranean trade routes to ask questions like ‘if I am in Corfu in June 1323 and want to go to Constantinople, when can I take a boat?’

Even better, for an art historian, is the idea that this type of time machine could be very visual and very interactive. Obviously art historians will be far from the only ones who benefit from this project, research in all areas of the humanities will be significantly impacted. As Kaplan says, ‘research in the humanities is about to undergo an evolution which is maybe similar to what happened to life science thirty years ago.’

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 15.40.44

A fully 3D experience!

Imagine the huge impact that this sort of data collection, digitisation and manipulation (to make it interactive and accessible) will have on research in the humanities? The future of our field is going to be very exciting.

Departmental Research Seminar: Wednesday 24 February

‘”Love is simply the name for the desire and the pursuit of the whole” Love and money in Abraham Ortelius’s Album Amicorum

Professor Joanna Woodall
(Courtauld Institute of Art)

Wednesday 24 February
4:10 pm
Barber Institute Lecture Theatre


‘Abraham Ortelius’s Album Amicorum, fol.53r’

‘Abraham Ortelius was a renowned Antwerp humanist, merchant, businessman, collector and, from 1573, official geographer to King Philip II of Spain. He is accredited with the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World), published in 1570, which became a best seller for over forty years. His beautiful Album Amicorum (Book of Friends) is a collaborative work of art, made up of a huge variety of texts and images written, designed and contributed by the individuals counted amongst his wide network – all but one of them men. This paper explores the relationship between love and money in the Album Amicorum, in particular the links between the virtuous, ‘heavenly’ form of love and desire for physical and material fulfilment. It associates the Album with the Symposium, Plato’s famous dialogue on love, in which a group of elite men at a feast decide to forego complete surrender to drink in favour of speeches from each of them, offered in praise of Eros, one of the oldest and most revered of all the Gods.’

All welcome; refreshments served

Enquiries to Sara Tarter:

Waldemar Januszczak “unchains” the Renaissance


Renaissance Unchained.png

image: BBC iPlayer

Just managed to sit down to watch the first instalment of Waldemar Januszczak’s newest series for the BBC, which you can watch on the iPlayer (until it goes out of date, and unless you’re abroad) here. Called The Renaissance Unchained, it’s a four-parter, in which Januszczak is promising to deconstruct some of the great myths and misunderstandings that dominate, he says, in our collective understanding of the “Renaissance”.

Show one set out to destabilise the view that the Renaissance is a strictly Italian phenomenon, that the Italians, beginning about the turn of the 1400s, were solely responsible for art’s “rebirth” following the grim Dark Ages. This rebirth, so the familar story goes, culminated in Michelangelo, the Divine. He took pointed aim at Vasari, whose Lives (1550; rev. ed. 1568), established the very idea of the Renaissance–Vasari after all was the very first, as Januszczak points out, to use the term Rinascimento to describe the phenomenon in art that he charted right back to the time of Cimabue. The problem, as Januszczak made very clear, is that Vasari’s Rinascimento is unapologetically Italian: art was reborn only in Italy, it grew only in Italy and it was definitely perfected only in Italy. Nowhere in Vasari’s great teleological scheme of art’s progress do non-Italians get a look in (except in the ’68 edition which features a brief and rather patronising appendix on “Diverse Flemings”).

Anyway, all this, as the show argued, is a problem. A big problem.

Januszczak intends to fix this problem in his series by showing that the Renaissance didn’t happen only in Italy (even if it was only in Italy that the period was actually termed the Renaissance), and he started in the first show by telling us all about the important advances made in art in Germany and the Netherlands, mainly in the early 15th Century. Januszczak points out quite rightly that when Giotto et al. were making their art in Italy, in the Netherlands the van Eyck brothers were doing seriously revolutionary stuff, ditto Rogier van der Weyden etc. etc. He mentioned their mastery of oils as being a major contributing factor here (doing well to avoid repeating the erroneous view that the van Eycks’ invented the technique), likewise their interest in mirrors, optics, their use of lenses and so on (I couldn’t resist the screen grab above showing Januszczak sporting 15th-Century- style spectacles in front of Jan van Eyck’s Canon van der Paele Madonna!).

This was all good and quite right. And just before I say anything else, I’ll confess that I happen to be a fan (generally speaking) of Januszczak’s absorbing style, which is not too serious yet not at all patronising, and I am grateful for the fact that he is highlighting a serious bias in popular understanding of the Renaissance period (obviously, as a “Northern Renaissance” person, I see this as being a noble endeavour).

Eyck, Canon van der Paele

Jan van Eyck, Madonna and Child with Canon van der Paele, 1434-6, oil on panel; Groeningemuseum, Bruges

That all said, I have, perhaps predictably, some gripes.

First is the implication that Januszczak is the very first person to notice this bias, stemming directly from Vasari, in our understanding of the Renaissance period–“I’m arguing…”, “I want to show… “, “I am suggesting…”, that sort of thing. This, however, is quite unfair and misleading. A great deal of work has been done in recent times which has highlighted the many problems inherent in Vasari’s account of the Renaissance, which includes the many omissions. And this work  hasn’t limited itself to highlighting just the author’s Italocenticism (which, in any case, should more properly be his Tusco-centicism, since for Vasari the Florentine the Renaissance happened on the banks of the Arno). Many have asked, to give just a particularly pertinent and important example:”where are all the women?!”. This is to say, really, that it might have been nice to have acknowledged, somewhere, that there is a great deal of scholarship out there that already problematises Vasari’s account on a number of serious levels. (Indeed any one of our undergrads could have told you this, such is the emphasis placed on understanding and debunking Vasari’s account of The Renaissance in modern art history!)

Second–and this leads on from the first–I didn’t really appreciate the implication that all art historians fall for Vasari’s claims, and toe the Vasarian line, hook, line, and sinker. Especially annoying, perhaps, was Januszczak’s repeated observation that, because of Vasari, art historians refer to Jan, Rogier and company as the “Flemish Primitives”. He used this observation to draw attention to the lingering influence of Vasari: Giotto is a Renaissance Genius; Robert Campin a “Primitive”. Two points/problems. 1) Not many art historians (that I am familiar with anyway) make much (serious) use these days of the term “Primitives” to describe the age of Campin and the van Eycks. Netherlandish Primitives as a term enjoyed its heyday in much earlier times, about the turn of the 1900s. 2) That said, I’m not really convinced that the term “Netherlandish Primitives” was ever meant disparagingly anyway. The scholars that used the term “Primitives” were often not those that sought to show that Vasari was right, after all, and that northern European art is implicitly inferior to Italian. Obviously some might have done. But conversely, many others that used the term Primitives were precisely those that were instrumental in the excavation, study and critical re-appraisal of “Early Netherlandish Painting” (a term that came to replace Netherlandish Primitives, with its altogether more positive overtones–it is no coincidence that Erwin Panofsky’s 1953 magnum opus is thus titled Early Netherlandish Painting, Its Origin and Character).

In other words, I thought it was a bit unfair to say that all art historians are bewitched by Vasari, believe him, extend uncritical credence to his account, and that all us art historians (including us scholars of northern European in particular) consequently still go around talking about the Netherlandish Primitives!

With a bit more reflection, I also didn’t much appreciate the suggestion that van Eyck etc. produced art that was better than what was going on in Italy. I don’t think this the place for making value judgements. They’re different, that’s true, but that’s not the same (or shouldn’t be) as saying that one is better than the other.

I don’t mean for these words to sound unfair. I’m pleased, as I said, that Januszczak has chosen to use his tele platform to highlight the great art that was produced in the Netherlands from 1400 to 1600 (and before and beyond). But what I am saying is that, perhaps inadvertently, Januszczak did a whole bunch of scholars a disservice by presenting some of his main ideas in the way in which he did.

In the next episode Januszczak is threatening to delve into the world of Bosch… I wait, with interest and trepidation in equal measure, for that one.


Bosch controversy.


Bosch (?), St Anthony (detail); Prado Museum

Bosch (?), St Anthony (detail); Prado Museum

Martin Bailey reports in The Art Newspaper that tensions have erupted between the Noordbrabants Museum in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and The Prado in Madrid, over its current major show on Hieronymus Bosch and the associated research conducted by the Bosch Research and Conservation Project (BRCP).

Regular readers will know that we’ve been awaiting the results of the BRCP for some time now, and over the last few months snippets of the findings have gradually been coming to light (see here, and here). With the opening of the show, however, and the publication of its associated catalogue, feathers have been ruffled all over the place, with the result that two works from The Prado, which had been promised to the show, were withdrawn at the last minute, leaving, I suppose, two conspicuous gaps on the exhibition’s walls (not to mention a strange incongruity between the show and the catalogue, since the two works in question are still, obviously, to be found in the latter but are now absent from the former).

To cut a long story short, The Prado is dissatisfied with the findings of the BRCP in relation to 2 pictures which they believe to be by Bosch–and had promised to loan to the Noordbrabants Museum–but which have since been “downgraded”.

The first is the Cure of Folly, which The Prado is convinced was painted by Bosch at around the turn of the 1500s but which the BRCP believes to have been produced in Bosch’s orbit, at some time between 1510 and ’20 (and Bosch died in ’16).

Bosch (?), Cure of Folly; Prado Museum

Bosch (?), Cure of Folly; Prado Museum

The other is the  S Anthony, again believed to be genuine by The Prado, who date it to about 1490, whereas the BCRP gives it to a follower of Bosch’s and dates it to the 1530s, if not the ’40s!

Bosch (?), Temptation of S Anthony; Prado Museum

Bosch (?), S Anthony; Prado Museum

The Prado has said that it is a shame the works have not, after all, gone on show in the new exhibition, citing what they call the “extremely subjective” stylistic evidence that they say underscore the BCRP’s revised attributions. It goes without saying that the Spanish Museum does not agree with the BRCP in these cases (bolstered in their conviction, I am sure, by the fact that both pictures are done on panels that date to Bosch’s lifetime: the Anthony panel could, according to the dendrochronology, have been painted in the 1460s; the Folly in the early ’90s–so the issue here concerns style, hence the Prado’s accusation of connoisseurial subjectivity!). Still, it’s not as though such doubts are entirely brand new. In 1987 Roger Marijnissen, for example, put a big question mark over the status of the Anthony

Anyway, it will be interesting to read more about this when I get my hands on the catalogue etc. etc.

*Update 1. Bosch scholar Bernard Vermet writes to say that

We had the same problem in 2001. The Prado threatened to withdarw the Anthony if it wasn’t presented as an original Bosch. So the caption in the exhibition and in the book, p. 96, said ‘Bosch or follower, c. 1500-1525’, but in the article(s) it was only discussed as by a follower (which they did not notice before it was already on view for a month or so). Jos Koldeweij was there too, so he could have known this was going to happen. We had less problems in presenting the Cure of Folly as an original, even though it is mainly a workshop job.

So The Prado has previous (which Koldeweij already knew…)

**Update 2. Vermet adds

B.t.w.: there is a very simple characteristic of Bosch paintings that fails in the Anthony (but is present in Kansas): the waterlevel does not follow the contour of objects in the water, but is always drawn as a straight line by Bosch.

***More updates. (You can view these in the comments tab, but since that’s difficult to spot on some devices, I’m adding them here.)


  1. Maaike Dirkx says:

    There is still the question of the very last minute withdrawal. Loans must have been requested a long time ago, but the two panels were withdrawn at the very last minute – two weeks before opening and with the catalogue already in print. Someone who saw the exhibition noted a number tag where the Saint Anthony was supposed to hang is still on the wall.

    • jamieedwards756 says:

      Yep. That’s it–they pulled them at the last moment. There is a gap on the wall where the Anthony was supposed to be, ditto the Cure of Folly (so Vermet tells me!).
      Very silly if you ask me, but there you go… Thing is, the BRCP presumably don’t have definitive evidence (say of a scientific kind) that they’re not Bosch, more connoisseurial opinion. So to deny other art historians, not involved with the Project, the chance to study the Anthony and Folly alongside the other Boschs seems counterintuitive to me (plenty of people might, after all and on balance, disagree with the Project’s findings). Alas, it’s happened now.

      • Bernard Vermet says:

        Don’t worry, you can still see them in the Madrid exhibition in june, with all works now in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, plus the Anthony tritych from Lisbon and the Garden, the Seven Deadly sins and all or most other (former) Bosch paintings of the Prado and Escorial. (And the weather will be nicer too).

  2. Maaike Dirkx says:

    Ilsink (see NY Times) said in response that “he and another researcher informed curators at the Prado about the findings in person several months ago, and also showed them a sample of the catalog for the exhibition in which the new attributions were described and explained.”
    It would have been understandable if the Prado would have declined to lend at that time, but at the very last minute? On the whole I was surprised that the BRCP throughout announced their more sensational findings in the media without the backing of their scientific publication.

    • Bernard Vermet says:

      The Prado acts in mysterious ways, way above the comprehension of ordinary earthlings. But in this case it is probably the result of an accumulation of what they feel as insults. Still, the BRCP hasn’t annaounced any sensational finding so far. The November “news” about the Seven deadly Sins and the Carrying of the Cross was a) not an announcement, because it was only an aside remark by Jos Koldeweij in a documentary that was picked out by the press (and only then, afterwards, quite stupidly reproduced by the museum in a press release) and b) not a finding but a fairly common opinion beween most, or at least half of the Bosch experts. And I don’t think there is any expert outside the Prado who has written that the Anthony is by Bosch for the last thirty years. The catalogue raisonné and the technical report will appear at the end of this month and then you will hear about some really interesting findings.

      • Maaike Dirkxsays:

        I know that the demoted works, including also the Ghent Carrying of the Cross, were already debated by scholars. I was referring, for instance, to the re-attributed drawing. In any case that led to interesting discussions here and which one hopes will continue among scholars when the catalogue raisonné and technical report are published. The Prado’s side in the present controversy was published in El Pais yesterday. Very much looking forward to learning more from the publications, not so much about attributions but about the paintings and drawings as works of art.

        1. jamieedwards756 says:

          Good points, Bernard, about Madrid (especially re: the weather!). Also interesting to read that the Prado were well informed about all this in plenty of time. But for me, that makes their behaviour seem all the more silly–it’s one thing to decline to loan a work, because there are big questions marks hanging over the attribution etc., but it’s another to say and then take it back at the eleventh hour! Indeed, the Prado acts in very mysterious ways…
          Anyway good points–look forward to the forthcoming publications and all the light they will shed (or not) on recent events. Also:

          “Very much looking forward to learning more from the publications, not so much about attributions but about the paintings and drawings as works of art.”


        2. Bernard Vermet says:

          Today in the Dutch Volkskrant: There was a press release by the Prado yesterday, stating that the loan was cancelled already on November 25, because the paintings were asked for “an exhibition entirely devoted to original works by Bosch”. De Mooij has confirmed and said they kept hoping they would change their minds until two weeks ago. Apparently their hope was very strong since otherwise it is quite silly to present so prominently the Golden Fleece coat of arms paintings without the Cure of Folly next to them.

          Maaike Dirkx says: February 18, 2016 at 10:54 am  (Edit)

          If what the Prado says (as reported in the Volkskrant) is true and the de-attributions came out prematurely when the documentary on the Bosch team premiered at the documentary festival in October, with the Prado not being the first to be informed, it is understandable that the Prado is not amused. An unfortunate faux pa

        3. Bernard Vermet says:

          PS: and the Haywain was not withdrawn because it was presented as an original, so no legal conditions were violated there. (Hope for them the forthcoming catalogue will not express doubts about the wings, in- and outside 🙂 ).

On film: Monet, Renoir, Rodin and Degas (with beard game ratings)


Some videos here shared by Huffpost Arts & Culture, showing (separately) Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Auguste Rodin and Edgar Degas at work in the studio, on the street etc. As a bit of fun, Priscilla Frank gives each artist a score for their beard game (in light of the exemplary examples of turn-of-the-century proto-hipster facial hair that each artist is sporting–in case you’re bothered, Monet wins, with a score of 8.9 for his stonking beard).






Spare $8m? Buy Michelangelo’s Tuscan villa.


La Torre de Michelangiolo

Wealthier readers take note! Stuck for something to do with $8.4m (approx. £5.9m)? Why not grab a piece of art historical real estate: a luxury villa near to Florence that was once owned by Michelangelo.

Purchased in 1549 by a 74-year-old Michelangelo–by this time overseeing the redesign of St Peter’s–the four storey villa, which boasts original Renaissance fixtures, wood-burning fireplaces, an olive grove, and sits next to a vineyard(!!), originally cost Michelangelo 2,281 florins, which in today’s money is roughly $320k. Its current asking price is exactly $8, 369, 602, which I think, all told, is a bit of bargain, really… I mean, come on, Michelangelo (sort of) lived there!

If I had the cash, I know I’d be tempted. I mean, just LOOK:

La Torre de Michelangiolo 2

Michelangelo villa 3


Perhaps everyone in the Department could chip and we’ll all share it? More here.

Hands Up! trip to Wolverhampton Art Gallery by Rebecca Savage (2nd year)


Late last year, the History of Art buddy scheme was awarded £1600 from the Birmingham Alumni Hands Up! fund, who provide funding to student-led projects and activities. This money is intended to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to organise funded events and projects that enhance the student experience (all current students with an idea can apply for up to £2,000!!). We hit upon the idea of using the money to fund group visits to galleries across the UK, for all undergraduates, with a view to building relationships that cross all year groups and allowing more of us to view more works of art “in the flesh”. The first of these trips took place at the end of last term when a group of First and Second years visited Wolverhampton Art Gallery to view their exhibition ‘A Big Bang’ The Origins of the Pop Art Collection.

(c) Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

We arrived at the gallery in the early afternoon and were met by Tess Radcliffe (Cultural Learning and Participation Manager, and who used to work at The Barber!) who was going to take us on a tour of the gallery. Given that a brief discussion on the coach had revealed that very few of us even knew that there was an art gallery in Wolverhampton, Tess started with a brief history of the gallery itself, and filled us in on some interesting facts. Established in 1884, the gallery contains works including Johann Zoffany’s The Provoked Wife, as well as contemporary works by the likes of Gillian Wearing and the gallery also mounts regular exhibitions  of contemporary, local artists’ works. The gallery also houses one of the largest collections of Pop Art in the country, thanks to the curator David Rodgers, who worked at the gallery during the 1970s. At the time Rodgers’s acquisition policy–which leaned towards Pop–created anger amongst the locals, who accused Rodgers in the media of frivolous and un-edifying spending, these works rapidly increased footfall in the Gallery, and go some way to maintaining its significance in the present day.

The exhibition we visited–‘A Big Bang’–focused on this Pop art collection, showcasing works collected towards the end of this period, and it considered the controversy that surrounded them. Tess talked to us about a number of key works including one of Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Cans and Peter Blake’s Cigarette Pack, accompanied in this exhibition by copies of newspapers which criticised its purchase in the 1970s . Tess also showed us David Hockney’s work Cleanliness is Next to Godliness, a screen print which places the male pin-up model in a God-like position, and challenges our ideas surrounding public and private life. Tess told us about other areas of the gallery including the museums decorative art collection, a vast but un-researched area of the its collection, and the galleries satirical exhibition This is Not a Joke, which raised questions about our behaviour and fundamental ideas about art itself.

We ended our trip with our own exploration of the gallery, taking in the Victorian and Georgian sections and obviously making the most of their dressing up opportunities! I think I speak for all of us when I say that the trip was highly enjoyable, giving a real insight into an often under-valued gallery just around the corner from us in Brum. A good time was had by all so thank you to Wolverhampton Art Gallery (especially Tess) for making us feel so welcome. Thank you also to the Hands up Fund who made this trip possible, giving us not only the opportunity to bond between year groups but also providing the chance to apply the knowledge we had learned during term one to paintings in situ.

Another Hands up funded trip will take place this term–so stay tuned to see what we get up to!




Mary Beard on Blogging: why etc.?


Little podcast here of Prof. Mary Beard (Cambridge classicist) discussing her enormously popular Blog A Don’s Life, which, it must be said, us Golovine’ers (this one in particular) are big fans of (I happen to be a major fan of its author as well). Beard takes us through the genesis of her blog–which started a decade ago now!–and considers why blogging matters in the 21st century. Why exactly do we blog? What do we talk about? And what’s the point of it all?

Her thoughts in response are pretty interesting, and gives much food for thought for me, who happens to blog as often as I can and who also happens to believe that blogging is very important indeed (not least because it provides a platform for free thought on a whole host of interesting subjects without having to worry, for instance, about the kind of decorum or conventions that are involved in academic writing proper).

Anyway, give it a listen here.





New Bosch found in storage.


Bosch (?), Temptation of S. Anthony, c.1500-10, oil on panel, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri (credit: Rik Klein Gotink/Image processing by Robert G. Erdmann for the Bosch Research and Conservation Project)

Bosch (?), Temptation of S. Anthony, c.1500-10, oil on panel, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri (credit: Rik Klein Gotink/Image processing by Robert G. Erdmann for the Bosch Research and Conservation Project)

The Bosch Research and Conservation Project (BRCP) strikes again. Regular readers might remember my previous post in which I set out some of the initial findings of the BRCP, which has seen a number of works removed, once and for all, from Bosch’s œuvre, along with the addition of a new drawing. Now more information about the BRCP’s findings have come to light and it’s good news for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, since the Project have concluded that its Temptation of St Anthony, which has been attributed to a “follower of Bosch” and is usually kept in storage, is in fact a bona fide Bosch.

Using powerful and sophisticated infrared photography and infrared reflectography, which reveal, amongst other things, images of the painting’s underdrawing, the BCRP have determined that they can assuredly identify Bosch’s “handwriting” in the St Anthony picture. This is to say that the underdrawing, its appearance and technique, along with the way in which the paint has been applied subsequently, compares favourably with other pictures by Bosch that the Project have examined. They’ve also removed a number of overpaints and more modern retouching, which, we read, obscured many of its details. This has all gone towards their revised attribution of the picture, and they have also concluded that the panel, which has been trimmed on all sides, was originally part of a triptych that has at some point been dismantled (a fate that befell many of Bosch’s works…).

Credit Rik Klein Gotink/Image processing by Robert G. Erdmann for the Bosch Research and Conservation Project)

Credit Rik Klein Gotink/Image processing by Robert G. Erdmann for the Bosch Research and Conservation Project

Anyway, there’s more here. You can see the picture for yourself in less than 2 weeks’ time when the major Bosch retrospective Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of a Genius opens at Noordbrabants Museum, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (13 Feb. to 8 May).

%d bloggers like this: