Previous Posts: September 2021

Did Rubens Paint This? 'AI' Says No

September 27 2021

Image of Did Rubens Paint This? 'AI' Says No

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian published a rather bizarre story yesterday regarding claims made by a Swiss company called AI Recognition that AI software has decided that Rubens did not paint The National Gallery's Samson and Delilah (pictured). The claims were brought forward by the 'scientist co-founder' Dr Carina Popovici who says that their complex algorithm has decided with a 91.78% accuracy that Rubens did not paint the picture.

The article has quoted the art historian Dr Katarzyna Krzyżagórska-Pisarek who has also expressed doubts about the work: 

The significance of this new AI method of authentication is potentially groundbreaking. Devoid of human subjectivity, emotion and commercial interests, the software is coldly objective and scientifically accurate. Many questionable works were attributed to Rubens at the beginning of the 20th century… There is today a distinct need for more reliable methods of connoisseurship.

As Bendor has pointed out on Twitter, this story shows that "computers still don't understand how artists worked. And probably never will".

If readers would like to read a serious text explaining the authorship to Rubens, then here's the National Gallery's 1983 Technical Bulletin which provides all the details you'll need. 

CLASS SOCIETY: Everyday Life as Seen by Dutch Masters

September 27 2021

Image of CLASS SOCIETY: Everyday Life as Seen by Dutch Masters

Picture: Hamburger Kunsthalle

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Hamburger Kunsthalle will be opening their latest exhibition on Dutch seventeenth century paintings in November. CLASS SOCIETY Everyday Life as Seen by Dutch Masters will include works by the likes of Johannes Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch and Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, David Teniers and include a modern response from artists Stefan Marx and Lars Eidinger.

According to the gallery's website:

With Class Society. Everyday Life as Seen by Dutch Masters, scheduled from 26 November 2021 to 27 March 2022, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is devoting a comprehensive show comprising some 150 works – paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and videos – to a chapter of an extremely multifaceted epoch of European art history. The exhibition is primarily based on the Hamburger Kunsthalle’s superb holdings of Dutch 17-th century paintings, which at the same time are the main emphasis of the museum’s Old Masters Collection and are meant to be acknowledged accordingly with this show. Another essential part of the presentation is dedicated to overarching aspects and, based on socio-cultural developments and political factors, it draws up a characteristic image of Dutch society in the 17th century that the selected artists seem to have portrayed in their paintings. 

Beyond this, the exhibition evaluates the representations on display according to socio-critical issues of the 21st century and thus links them to our own everyday reality. The art of the Old Masters, as well as the context it was created in, often appear far removed from current debate, as their original intention seemingly has nothing in common with the complex contexts and topics concerning our society today. The exhibition wants to break with these prejudices by discussing controversial theses. 

The show will run from 26th November 2021 - 27th March 2022.

NGV Acquire Lavinia Fontana

September 27 2021

Image of NGV Acquire Lavinia Fontana

Picture: NGV

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Australia have acquired Lavinia Fontana's The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine. This painting, dating to c.1575, is the earliest painting by a woman in the gallery's collection. It is one of three paintings that Fontana made of this scene before her marriage in 1577, a period when she seemed to have favoured subjects of strong women from history and biblical tales. The work was previously with the dealers Callisto Fine Arts and was presented to the NGV by the Felton bequest.

Sleeper Alert!

September 24 2021

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: Weschler's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News on Twitter (via. @auctionradar) that the following 'Manner of Rembrandt' realised $225,000 (hammer price) over its $1k estimate at Weschler's in Maryland. One imagines the new owner is hoping that their new purchase is this very picture that appeared in a Rembrandt catalogue raisonné during the early twentieth-century.

Constable's 'Nip and Tuck' Revealed

September 24 2021

Image of Constable's 'Nip and Tuck' Revealed

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian published an interesting story last weekend regarding the recent conservation and research of a reidentified portrait by John Constable. Scholars Anne Lyles and Sarah Cove have unravelled the interesting changes the artist made on the portrait of his neighbour Emily Treslove. This included changing the sitter's facial features after it was considered there was 'scarcely any resemblance'.

Conservator Sarah Cove is quoted:

“The face is very well painted. I discovered during the technical examination that it has actually been partially repainted. Her cheeks and nose have been made slimmer and it looks as if he’s slightly painted out a double chin. Also, the hairstyle has been changed. Perhaps she thought that she looked a bit porky when it was done first time round. I just think that’s hilarious.”

8 Years in Prison for Stealing Van Gogh and Hals

September 24 2021

Image of 8 Years in Prison for Stealing Van Gogh and Hals


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the Netherlands that the convicted art thief Nils M. has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for the theft of two works of art by Van Gogh and Frans Hals. The two paintings stolen in March and August 2020 have never been recovered and are still missing. Nils M has remained silent regarding their whereabouts.

The Museum and Gallery Today: Paul Mellon Lectures

September 24 2021

Image of The Museum and Gallery Today: Paul Mellon Lectures

Picture: PMC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art have published details of their upcoming annual lectures in honour of its founder Paul Mellon. This year's topic is The Museum and Gallery Today.

The free online lectures, in webinar format, are as follows:

20 October 2021           Gabriele Finaldi (Director of the National Gallery) 

03 November 2021        Kaywin Feldman (Director of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC) 

10 November 2021        Thelma Golden (Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem) 

11 November 2021        Iwona Blazwick (Director of the Whitechapel Gallery) 

24 November 2021        Maria Balshaw (Director of Tate) 

11 February 2022          Eve Tam (Former Director of the Hong Kong Museum of Art)

The lectures are free to attend although registration is required.

Charleston: The Bloomsbury Muse at Philip Mould & Co

September 23 2021

Video: Philip Mould & Co

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The London dealers Philip Mould & Co have opened their latest free exhibition Charleston: The Bloomsbury Muse.

The exhibition will run until 10th November 2021.

Here are reviews from The Telegraph and The Evening Standard.

Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans Renovate XIXe Galleries

September 23 2021

Image of Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans Renovate XIXe Galleries

Picture: @MbaOrleans

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans have recently reopened their newly refurbished nineteenth-century galleries. The newly revamped rooms contain 350 works of art spanning from 1815 - 1870 covering themes from the Italian countryside to the Paris Salon in the age of Romanticism during the Second Empire. The displays also draw heavily from the workshop collection of the painter Léon Cogniet.

Murillo Exhibition at the Prado

September 23 2021

Video: Museo del Prado

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Museo del Prado in Madrid opened their latest exhibition this week entitled Murillo’s The Prodigal Son and the art of narrative in Andalusian Baroque painting. Notably, the exhibition includes recently conserved works on loan from the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

According to their website:

During the central decades of the 17th century a type of painting was produced in Andalusia that was notably representative of both the high levels achieved by the principal painters of the region and the expectations and tastes of one of the most active sectors of their clientele. These are works structured as series, most of medium size and commissioned by private individuals for domestic interiors or private oratories. They depict a “story” taken from the Bible or the hagiographies, either in the form of an individual’s life story recounted in greater or lesser detail, or the different stages within one biographical episode. The format allowed artists to display not only their use of compositional devices but also their skills as narrators of sequential episodes. 

The content of the series and the way the artists chose to depict the subjects often reflect the contemporary world of the individuals who commissioned them, their codes and aspirations, while also providing us with an insight into part of their material culture. 

With the aim of learning more about these works and structured around the series of six, recently restored canvases of Murillo’s “Prodigal Son” series, generously loaned by the National Gallery of Dublin, the exhibition includes the four paintings in the collection of the Prado associated with that series by Murillo; the “Story of Joseph” series by Antonio del Castillo, which has survived complete; and most of the paintings from the series on “The Life of Saint Ambrose” by Juan de Valdés Leal. A comparison between these works by three of the leading names in Andalusian Baroque painting reveals both affinities and differences with regard to technique, style and approach to narrative.

The show will run until 23rd January 2022.


It is a little obvious that the poor marketing department of the museum didn't have much money to spend on this video Still, it does the job I suppose!

2020 Release: Stuart Style

September 23 2021

Image of 2020 Release: Stuart Style

Picture: Yale Books

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I hope you can forgive me, here is a rather fascinating release from last year that I missed. Stuart Style Monarchy, Dress and the Scottish Male Elite by Maria Hayward was published last year by Yale Books.

According to the blurb:

This is the first detailed analysis of elite men’s clothing in 17th-century Scotland and its influence on English male fashion. Focusing on the years 1566 through 1701, it centers on the clothing choices of five Stuart royals: James VI and I, Prince Henry, Charles I, Charles II, and James VII and II.   

The engaging text brims with details about the wardrobes and habits of Scottish royalty, such as how the men selected fabric and kept clothes clean. The book is organized along three themes: the significance of the Stuarts’ Scottish heritage in the style they developed; the role of Scots in exporting their style to London and beyond; and the reception of Stuart style among the male elite in Scotland. Maria Hayward explores how Stuart style was displayed in sport, at political and social events, and at church. The book also reveals the importance of vital supporting players—namely, the courtiers who helped kings and princes develop their style, as well as the tailors who disseminated it to men beyond the royal court.

Lucy and Catherine Madox Brown at the Watts Gallery

September 23 2021

Image of Lucy and Catherine Madox Brown at the Watts Gallery

Picture: @WattsGallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, will be opening their latest exhibition Lucy and Catherine Madox Brown next week.

According to their press release:

‘Uncommon Power’: Lucy and Catherine Madox Brown is the first exhibition dedicated to the life, art and feminist legacies of sisters Lucy Rossetti (1843-1894) and Catherine Hueffer (1850-1927).   

Commonly referred to as the daughters of Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893), these two creative women grew up at the heart of the Pre-Raphaelite world and, as this exhibition demonstrates, became talented, professional artists in their own right.

Bringing together Rossetti and Hueffer’s rarely exhibited works - notably Ferdinand and Miranda Playing Chess (1871, Private Collection), A Deep Problem: 9 and 6 make – (1875, Birmingham Museums Trust) and the recently conserved The Fair Geraldine (or The Magic Mirror, 1871, Private Collection) - with archival material, including a family photograph album, personal correspondence and painting palettes, the exhibition explores themes of their Pre-Raphaelite upbringing, artistic training, kinship, female friendship and creative motherhood.

The show will run from 28 September 2021 - 20 Februrary 2022.

Armenian Portraits Rehung at Windsor Castle

September 23 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Royal Collection Trust have shared news that two recently conserved portraits by 17th-century Armenian artist Marcos have been rehung in the King's Dining Room at Windsor Castle. The portraits were last recorded as hanging there during the 1870s.

According to the post:

The striking portraits depict a member of the military aristocracy and an unmarried woman from New Julfa, the Armenian district of Isfahan, which was the cosmopolitan capital of Persia in the 17th century. Paintings of this  style are known to have hung in the houses of Isfahan’s wealthy merchant classes.

The figures are dressed in luxurious fabrics including Persian silks, which the Armenians of Isfahan famously traded across the globe. Both portraits include European details, such as a Venetian wine glass, a German clock and Dutch flowers, signifying affluence through access to luxury international commodities. 

Christie's NY October Sale

September 23 2021

Image of Christie's NY October Sale

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's New York have uploaded their October Old Master Paintings & Sculpture sale online. The auction will be held on 14th October 2021.

Amongst the top lots are an Annunciation by Annibale Carracci estimated at $3m - $5m; a rather haunting Fuseli estimated at $3m - $5m; a portrait of a youth by Giuliano Bugiardini estimated at $1.2m - $1.8m; a Christ Crowned with Thorns by Orazio Gentileschi estimated at $800k - $1.2m; a fine Roelandt Savery of Animals Leaving Noah's Arc estimated at $800k - $1.5m; a triptych by the Master of the Wallraf Triptych estimated at $1m - $2m; and a pair of rediscovered studies by Jacob Jordaens (pictured) estimated at $60k - $100k each.

Sleeper Alert!

September 23 2021

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: Wannenes

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News on Twitter earlier this week from @auctionradar that the above XVII Century Allegory of Prudence achieved €220,000 (hammer price) over its €2k - €3k estimate at Wannenes auctions in Italy.


September 23 2021

Image of Apologies...

Picture: AB

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for the slow service this week. I have been rather busy preparing for some lectures I'll be presenting at a history festival next week. I hope to post some stories as and when I can.

Nature in Image: Austrian Baroque landscapes

September 17 2021

Image of Nature in Image: Austrian Baroque landscapes


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Residenzgalerie in Salzburg, Austria, opened a rather interesting exhibition over the summer. Nature in Image: Austrian Baroque landscapes examines Austrian landscape paintings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

According to their website:

Nature as fine art. Landscape as motif. Trees bowed by the wind, the play of colours through the leaves of forests bathed in light, an approaching storm, the hazardous path over a mountain pass, the hunting party resting in a secluded spot, the cheerful bustle of a country fair set in a landscape – Austrian baroque painters between 1600 and 1800 captured all this and much more on canvas, copper plates and wood panels. The formats ranged from postcard-sized cabinet pieces to canvases more than 2m wide. 18th-century collectors from aristocratic, ecclesiastical and bourgeois circles were great admirers of these diverse renderings. The presentation is rounded off by a comparison with Dutch, Italian and French models, and examples of the change in style around 1800. 

The first comprehensive exhibition of Austrian baroque landscapes takes into account the increased interest in the subject shown in recent years.

The exhibition will run until 31st January 2022.

Rembrandt in Print in Cork

September 17 2021

Image of Rembrandt in Print in Cork

Picture: Crawford Art Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Crawford Art Gallery in Cork, Ireland, have recently opened their latest exhibition Rembrandt in Print.

According to their website:

Rembrandt in Print presents 50 of the finest works from the Ashmolean’s world-class collection of over 200 etchings and drypoints by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669). 

Widely hailed as the greatest painter of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt was also one of the most innovative and experimental printmakers of the seventeenth century. This touring exhibition will present Rembrandt as an unrivalled storyteller through a selection of fifty outstanding prints ranging from 1630 until the late 1650s. These works demonstrate Rembrandt’s inventive techniques and extraordinary skills. They are displayed together for the first time. 

Rembrandt in Print is accompanied by a special Print Studio in collaboration with Cork Printmakers. 

The exhibition will run from 17th September 2021 till 9th January 2022.


While you're there, make sure you go and take a glance at this brilliant unfinished George Romney. It was hanging by the staircase the last time I visited the gallery.

The Rijksmuseum Twenthe are Hiring!

September 17 2021

Image of The Rijksmuseum Twenthe are Hiring!


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede, the Netherlands, are hiring a Curator (specialisation in Old Masters or Modern Art). The role will have a particular emphasis on exhibitions and 'imagination'.

This 36 hour per-week role comes with a salary around €3,718 per month (pay scale 10) and applications must be in by 1st October 2021.

Good luck if you're applying!

Rediscovered Van Gogh Study on Display in Amsterdam

September 17 2021

Video: Bloomsberg

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A rediscovered study by Van Gogh has gone on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The pencil study for Worn Out was created in 1882 and had been preserved in a private collection.

According to the BBC report:

"This one has never been seen before anywhere. It's the first time that this drawing is out in the open," said Teio Meedendorp, senior researcher at the Van Gogh Museum. 

Van Gogh appeared to have used the drawing as the basis for a slightly different version of the drawing shortly afterwards, which he preferred, and which is currently in the museum's collection under the title Worn Out. 

The artist made Study for Worn Out when he was living in the Hague and still learning to draw at around the age of 29. Experts say it offers an exceptional insight into Van Gogh's working process at the time.

Update - The Burlington Magazine have made their article on the discovery, written by Teio Meedendorp, accessible online for a limited amount of time. Read it while you can!

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