Category: art

Art News Roundup: Chicken and Egg Edition

Much as I don’t care for the work of Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), even I was fascinated by the latest scientific discovery to be made concerning one of his completed masterpieces, because it raises significant questions about the chronology of his surviving work. Ahead of an immersive exhibition on the painting that will open this November, the National Gallery in London has released amazing … Read More Art News Roundup: Chicken and Egg Edition

The Witching Hour

Whether you’re talking about late-17th century Salem, or mid-20th century DC, people love a good witch hunt. In the Massachusetts colony, the fear of witchcraft was just as real to the people of that time, as the fear of insidious Communism was to people in the age of the Red Scare. Like worshiping the Devil, a practice of which Communism is merely a modern … Read More The Witching Hour

Art News Roundup: No Swimming Edition

If you’ve a fellow American who has traveled abroad in recent years, and visited artistic or historic sites, you’ll probably agree that there’s been an overwhelming increase in two factors at these locations which, at least at first glance, appear to be unrelated. There’s been a proliferation of international retail establishments in these areas, where chain stores and food outlets that you can find … Read More Art News Roundup: No Swimming Edition

Unpredictable: Human Nature Through Art

Over the weekend, I watched a documentary on the life of Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales (1594-1612), the eldest son of James VI of Scotland and I of England; Henry would have succeeded to the British throne had he not predeceased his father. Although presented by a scholar, it wasn’t a formal history lecture, but rather an accessible presentation designed for a general … Read More Unpredictable: Human Nature Through Art

Art News Roundup: Lead Balloon Edition

Amidst the furor over the causes of the fire that ravaged the Cathedral Basilica of Notre Dame de Paris back in April, and lingering questions about how the church should be rebuilt, one very important, but until now relatively under-reported, aspect of the conflagration got lost in the shuffle: burning lead. Lead, as you probably know if you’ve ever had to do repair work … Read More Art News Roundup: Lead Balloon Edition

Aesthetics and the Gospel of Ugliness

There’s a frequent refrain in more traditional schools of thought when it comes to the arts that goes something like this: if people were only exposed to beauty, they would prefer it to the ugliness which has characterized much of painting and sculpture, architecture, film, and music for the past century or so. I don’t deny that there’s some truth to that notion, particularly … Read More Aesthetics and the Gospel of Ugliness

Art News Roundup: Taking Stock Edition

My American readers are probably familiar with the White House Historical Association, founded by former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, which helps coordinate the efforts of the National Park Service and several other government agencies to catalogue, conserve, and study the hundreds of artistic treasures in the permanent collection of the Executive Mansion. Over the past two centuries, the home has acquired everything from bronzes … Read More Art News Roundup: Taking Stock Edition

Le Chevalier noir à Marseille: Batman in the South of France

Should you happen to find yourself in the south of France this summer, gentle reader, you may want to look up into the night skies for a different sort of light than that generated by celestial bodies: Contemporary artist Alex Israel (1982- ) is perhaps best known in the art world for making use of his connections to the film industry in Hollywood, and … Read More Le Chevalier noir à Marseille: Batman in the South of France

Art News Roundup: Sacking and Packing Edition

Before taking a look at some of the more interesting art stories of the past week, gentle reader, I wanted to direct your attention to an excellent lecture series on the recently-closed National Gallery of Art exhibition “Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice”, which you may recall that I reviewed for The Federalist back in April. Presented by Eric Denker, Senior Lecturer and Head of … Read More Art News Roundup: Sacking and Packing Edition

Lessons Learned: The Masterpiece That Wasn’t

Sometimes, even those of us who know a fair bit about art can get it wrong. I recently acquired a work at a Connecticut auction [N.B. not the picture shown below this piece] that I was convinced was by an important French artist, someone whose work I didn’t know well – or indeed particularly like – but whom I had been reading about a … Read More Lessons Learned: The Masterpiece That Wasn’t

Art News Roundup: Turning Up The Heat

Now that the heat of summer is fully upon us, I’ve been trying to catch up on my podcast listening, something that had fallen by the wayside over the past several weeks between vacation and other goings-on. For many years now, Catholic In A Small Town by Mac and Katherine Barron – which just recently celebrated its 500th episode – has been one of … Read More Art News Roundup: Turning Up The Heat

Take A Chance On Me: Buying A Botticelli (?)

Back on June 28th, a painting in the style of Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445-1510) – he of the iconic “Birth of Venus” (c. 1485), or as I like to call it, “Venus on a Half-Shell” – came up for sale at auction in Zurich, with a pre-sale estimate of $5,000. A bidding war ensued, and the final hammer price was $6.4 million. Clearly, some … Read More Take A Chance On Me: Buying A Botticelli (?)