Sublime joy!

Raphael: The Drawings, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 3rd September 2017

Study for Adam in the Disputa, c. 1508–10
Chalk and/or charcoal with white heightening, 35.7 x 21.2 cm
© Gallerie degli Uffizi, Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe, Florence

Did you know that the Ashmolean’s fifty Raphael drawings are the most significant group in the world? They have been supplemented by a further twenty-five from Vienna’s Albertina Museum and the rest of the total group of one hundred and twenty drawings come from international collections. The result is an absolutely stunningly memorable exhibition which is a joy to visit.

Study for the Massacre of the Innocents, c. 1509–10
Pen and brown ink over red chalk and geometrical indications in stylus, selectively pricked for transfer, 23.2 x
37.7 cm
© Trustees of the British Museum

Raphael (1483 – 1520) has long held the reputation of being the pre-eminent artist of the Renaissance and through these drawings which take us from the early days in Umbria to Florence and then on to Rome where he was at his very best we can see why.

Study for Charity, c. 1519
Black chalk with very few touches of white heightening, 31.3 x 15.2 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The exhibition also reminded me why I am always attracted to drawings since they allow glimpses into the mind and vision of the artist – ideas that both intrigue and excite – but which may not always be translated into the finished work.  Please, please make every effort to see this show.  The Museum’s director Dr Xa Sturgis says: ‘The generosity of lenders and supporters has enabled us to give people a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity – that of experiencing the visual and emotive power of Raphael’s hand, and of understanding Raphael’s genius.’

 

Studies of heads and hands, and sketches after Leonardo, c. 1505–7
Metalpoint with white heightening, partially oxidised, on white prepared paper, 21 x 27.4 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

www.ashmolean.org

The heads and hands of two apostles, c. 1519–20
Black chalk with over-pounced underdrawing with some white heightening, 49.9 x 36.4 cm
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Treasure Houses: The homes of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry

 

BOUGHTON

The House, its People and its Collections

By Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 5 3 
£17.95 / $21.80 / 81.41 TL 

 

 

 

BOWHILL

The House, its People and its Paintings

Introduced by Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Edited by John Montagu Douglas Scott

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 2 2
£12.95 / $15.73 / 58.73 TL
 

 

DRUMLANRIG

The Castle, its People and its Paintings

By Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 4 6
£10.95 / $13.30 / 49.66 TL
Paperback, 96 pages, Second Edition
 

These three guidebooks are much more than just that as they provide a fascinating introduction to the houses and collections of the incumbent Dukes.  You will encounter Rembrandt, Canaletto, Van Dyck and El Greco, as well as family portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds and Ramsay, There are miniatures, French and English furniture, Sèvres made for Louis XV, items commemorating Sir Walter Scott and the Duke of Monmouth, silver and a huge variety of textiles and rugs. It is an extensive and engaging collection in three very different houses, two, Bowhill and Drumlanrig, are in Scotland and then Boughton in England which the late John Cornforth once described as ‘the English Versailles’.

These books are of serious appeal to anyone interested in the fine and decorative arts, architecture and historic interiors.

http://www.bowhillhouse.co.uk

http://www.boughtonhouse.co.uk

http://www.drumlanrigcastle.co.uk

http://www.caiquepublishing.com

 

‘Designing the Future’

Giacomo Balla: Designing the Future, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square, London N1, until 25th June 2017

Giacomo Balla
Iridescent Interpenetrations, 1913
Watercolour on paper, 24 x 18 cm
Courtesy The Biagiotti Cigna Foundation

This special show focuses on Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) a self-taught artist who was one of the founding figures of the Futurist movement but in 1937 moved away from its mainstream. The 116 works on show come from the Biagiotti Cigna Collection and give a full picture of Balla’s work which included furniture and clothing design

Giacomo Balla
Expansion of Spring, 1918
Oil on board, 45 x 55 cm
Courtesy The Biagiotti Cigna Foundation

 

Giacomo Balla
Lines of Force of an Enamelled Landscape, 1917-18
Oil and enamel on paper, 41 x 56 cm
Courtesy The Biagiotti Cigna Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.estorickcollection.com

Lord Weidenfeld

The Collection of The late Lord Weidenfeld GBE: A Life of Ideals and Ideas, Christie’s, 8 King Street, St James’s, London SW1, 18th May 2017

Lot 509
Bernardo Cavallino (Naples 1616–?1656)
Saint Dorothy
oil on canvas
27.7/8 x 22.7/8 in. (72 x 58 cm.)
Estimate: £150,000-200,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

This is a very rare and final chance to see the private world of the publisher and philanthropist George Weidenfeld (1919-2016). He was created Baron Weidenfeld of Chelsea in 1976. He had co-founded the famous publishing firm Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 1948. It was after the War too that he started collecting and this auction reveals his many interests – Old Master paintings, 20th century works on paper, furniture, sculpture and the decorative arts. His collection of books is left to the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

The dining room of Lord Weidenfeld’s Bennison decorated Chelsea apartment
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

The setting for this very personal collection was Lord Weidenfeld’s Chelsea Embankment apartment which had been wonderfully decorated for him by the famous antique dealer and decorator Geoffrey Bennison and which remained virtually unchanged for over forty years!

Lot 569
A REPOUSSÉ PARCEL-GILT COPPER BUST OF POPE URBAN VIII
WORKSHOP OF GIAN LORENZO BERNINI, ROME, MID-17TH CENTURY
30 in. high, 24 in. wide, the bust and socle
Estimate: £30,000-50,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

Lot 577
A REGENCY BRASS-INLAID INDIAN ROSEWOOD LIBRARY TABLE
CIRCA 1810-20, ATTRIBUTED TO GILLOWS
31.1/4 in. (79 cm.) high; 76.1/2 in. (194.5 cm.) wide; 48.1/2 in. (123.5 cm.) deep
Estimate: £40,000-60,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

Lot 582
A LARGE CHINESE BLUE AND WHITE BALUSTER VASE FITTED AS A TABLE LAMP
19TH CENTURY
The porcelain, 17.1/4 in. (44 cm.) high
Estimate: £2,000-4,000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2017

 

 

 

 

http://www.christies.com

Early Maiolica

Maiolica before Raphael, Sam Fogg, 15D Clifford Street, London, W1, 8th May – 16th June 2017

A three-colour jug showing a
half-length figure in profile
Florentine district, Montelupo or Bacchereto
c. 1420–40

It will come as no surprise that it has taken leading medieval art specialist and dealer Sam Fogg many years to bring together the more than forty examples of late-medieval and early Renaissance pieces of maiolica which make up this important exhibition. The first such show for a hundred years!

Large dish with a bust-length portrait
of a young man
Deruta
c. 1470–80

Most of use when thinking of maiolica bring to our mind the istoriato pieces with their decoration of mythological, historic or religious scenes but this exhibition reveals the earlier period before Raphael – the era of Donatello, Mantegna and Botticelli.

Large albarello with an owl and a stork
Montelupo
c. 1430–50

The tin white glaze applied to the earthenware pieces was decorated with motifs inspired by textiles, metalwork and the lusterware of Islamic Spain.  These were exciting and original and one can easily understand why some contemporary buyers valued them more highly than precious metals.

Inkstand with figures of the Virtues
Probably Faenza
c. 1480–90

The accompanying catalogue celebrates contemporary scholarship with a foreword by Timothy Wilson, and essays by Elisa Sani and Justin Raccanello which look at both the evolution of the pottery and the story of the collecting of Italian pre-Renaissance pottery up until the present day.

 

http://www.samfogg.com

An Artistic Friendship

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: MICHELANGELO & SEBASTIANO, North Galleries, The National Gallery, London, until 25th June 2017

 

Sebastiano del Piombo, after partial designs by Michelangelo
Lamentation over the Dead Christ (Pietà), about 1512-16
Oil on poplar
248 × 190 cm
Museo Civico, Viterbo
© Comune di Viterbo

 

The North Galleries of the National Gallery provide a good background for this engaging exhibition which takes us back to Rome in the High Renaissance.  It was a time of war and religious conflict and against this the collaboration and friendship of Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Sebastiano del Piombo (1455-1547) is revealed.

Michelangelo
The Risen Christ, about 1532-3
Black chalk on paper
37.2 × 22.1 cm
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 (RCIN 912768)

The talented oil painter Sebastiano arrived in Rome in 1511 and became part of the city’s vibrant art scene and he soon met Michelangelo who was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling. They became friends and were allies against Raphael (1483 – 1520) who had been called to Rome in 1508 by the Pope to undertake the redecoration of the papal apartments.

Sebastiano del Piombo
Letter from Sebastiano del Piombo in Rome to Michelangelo in Florence, 2 July 1518
© Casa Buonarroti, Florence (IX, 468)

Paintings, drawings, letters and sculptures are used to tell the story with some exceptional loans such as the Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c1512-16) which was the first joint collaboration of Sebastiano and Michelangelo. Another of their projects the Borgherini Chapel in S. Pietro in Montorio, Rome (1516–24) – which obviously could not be brought to London – has been realistically re-created using modern technology.

Michelangelo
The Entombment (or Christ being carried to his Tomb), about 1500-1
Oil on poplar
161.7 x 149.9 cm
© The National Gallery, London (NG790)

Lasting over twenty-five years the friendship ended when Michelangelo returned to Rome permanently to paint the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel.  The reason for the falling out is thought to have been an argument over painting techniques – a difference which had brought them together but now drove them apart.

HRH The Prince of Wales viewing The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Michelangelo & Sebastiano on 13 March 2017
© The National Gallery, London

This is an exhibition that demands to be seen in the flesh and I warmly urge you to do so.

Michelangelo, finished by an unknown seventeenth century artist
The Risen Christ (‘The Giustiniani Christ’), 1514-15, finished in the early 17th century
Carrara marble
250 (201 without the cross) x 90 x 51 cm
Church of San Vincenzo Martire, Monastero dei Silvestrini, Bassano Romano (Viterbo)
© Photo Alessandro Vasari

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk