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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Woburn Abbey unveils "Portrait of an Old Man" as Rembrandt masterpiece

An oil painting entitled Portrait of an Old Man or The Old Rabbi, dated 1643 and usually hung in a private room of the Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, home of the 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford, has been authenticated as a Rembrandt masterpiece.

Regarded as a world authority on Rembrandt, Professor Ernst van de Wetering invited to Woburn Abbey last year to study the portrait. He concluded that the quality and style of work corroborate it could only have been painted by the Dutch old master Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn.

This painting goes far beyond a study of old age, for as Professor van de Wetering has highlighted: “This painting is one of Rembrandt’s most impressive evocations of dignity in old age. The way the light makes the figure emerge from the dusky space and illuminates the wrinkled skin of the face, and the hands resting on a stick, makes it an outstanding specimen of Rembrandt’s art.”

It is believed that the portrait owned the Dukes of Bedford and a painting in the Gemaldegalerie, Berlin (thought to be a portrait of Rembrandt’s wife, Saskia) were intended as a pair. Both were painted in 1643 on a mahogany panel taken from the same sugar case. This along with the arrangements and drawing similarities, as well as its biblical style: the prominent hands each displaying a ring on the little finger, the black hat with fine decoration and the decorative chains, led to the suggestion from Professor van de Wetering that the pair are depicting the Old Testament biblical story of Boaz and Ruth.

The first written reference to "Portrait of an Old Man" in the Abbey records dates from 1791, indicating it was cleaned that year. Along with two other portraits, it was initially accepted as a Rembrandt, however later studies of the three portraits resulted in uncertainty. Nonetheless the curatorial staff believed that the portrait had virtues that made it stand out as something special.

Woburn Abbey General Manager Jonathan Irby said: “This is a discovery and a fine addition to the Abbey’s wonderful collection of Dutch art.
We are very excited about bringing this exquisite painting into the public eye, especially since visitors will be able to get within a few inches of it. The opportunity to discover a ‘new’ Rembrandt will provide an even more memorable day for our visitors in 2012.”

"Portrait of an Old Man" or "The Old Rabbi," will be on public display from 30th March in the gold and silver vaults of the Woburn Abbey. An unparalleled opportunity to view this ‘new’ Rembrandt up close.

Monday, March 26, 2012

ILUSTRA_CAMINHOS - ETIC International Illustration Award 2012

Entries are open for the 7th edition of the ETIC International Illustration Award.
The chosen theme for 2012 is ILUSTRA_CAMINHOS (ILUSTRATE_PATHS).

The event will be divided in two parts: participation, reunion and juri decision; attribution of prizes, exhibition and catalogue

ILUSTRA_CAMINHOS (ILUSTRATE_PATHS) is open to all artists worldwide.
Works must be converted into digital, independently of their original medium i.e. watercolour, photography, markers, collage, digital painting, etc.
Applicants must send their works (maximum of 2 works, exclusively in the 50x70cm format), together with an updated curriculum to until June 1. The message cannot exceed 8MB.

The 30 most voted works will pass to the second part of the contest and their authors will be published at on July 16.
Those works must be sent on CD (300DPI) until July 30, to the following adress:

A/C – Gabinete de Comunicação
Rua D. Luís I, nº 20
1200-151 Lisboa

Submited works must be conceived by the artist, original and unpublished, not forgeting to observe the mentioned format and resolution.
On a first stage, the juri will discard submissions not according to participation rules or miss the minimum quality requisites.

The winners of ILUSTRA_CAMINHOS, 7th edition of the ETIC International Illustration Award, will be notified on July 31 and will receive the following prizes:

1st Prize - ETIC course voucher in the value of € 2000.
2nd Prize - ETIC course voucher in the value of € 1000.
3er Prize - ETIC course voucher in the value of € 500.

The three winners will have their works published in the Don't Panic's pack.
All works selected for the second part will be exhibited (date yet to be determined) and published in a catalogue.

All participants will be informed by e-mail and the juri's veridict will be final.

The authors will grant to ETIC, the publication rights for the catalogue and for promotional purposes, either of the event or the school. They will also grant to sponsors, the right to use the images of the winning works, always giving credit to the respective author.

«Year 1912, an odyssey of 1300 kms in white and icy Antarctica, a violent confrontation between the human fragility and the ambition of being the first man to reach the Pole.
Finally, the objective accomplished in the form of dismay: The Norwegian flag, Roald Amundsen had been there five weeks before, "Great God! This is an awful place."
The return, five men, 670 kms crossed, at what cost, and the last lines of a diary in the middle of a snowstorm, with one man less, without energy, with no food, without hope: "Last entry. For God's sake look after our people." 1970 kms completed and death 18kms from an expedition supply station.

The painting is called Wheat Field with Crows. A field of yellow wheat ready to harvest, conveyed in thick and bold brushstrokes, where a winding path surges with fluttering black crows over it. Crossing with the horizon, the shimmering sky between blue and black in the form of a death foretold.

An old man travels 450 kms in rural America between Iowa and Wisconsin. 6 long Weeks driving a small tractor, because he doesn't have a driving permit or have anyone to take him to visit a sick and aged brother, and, above all, to re-establish a long lost friendship.

These were the paths traced respectively by Scott, Van Gogh and Alvin (the latter portrayed by David Lynch in the movie Straight Story). Paths in the snow, on canvas, on the road, that are no more than life episodes. Known for defying the limits between death and the condition of being human.

There was a time when death was explained and understood as the beginning of the path. Later, in a biassed secular society, death returned to its original perception, the end of the road. Perhaps this is why the spirit of the marathon and endurance showed by Scott, has been replaced by contemporary obssession about longevity (do not smoke, do not drink, do not eat this or that ...)
The question is whether such a long and perfect life, is synonymous with a path of love as Alvin's or has the intensity of Van Gogh's life.

From A to Z, as in the Glory Game or in closed circuit as in Monopoly, a path is always a combination of choice and luck, advances and retreats, fear and risk, gain and loss, and other people who help while others not so much... There are those who walk looking back, those who establish paths, those who simply do not walk, those who block the path, those who clear them, those who walk beside us, and those who tread new paths.

From the visual and geographic standpoint, there are paths formed by use, others are masterpieces of engineering and others that are neglected by those who prefer to fly. In another sense, the paths are not only linear platforms, straight or winding, through which we move, of one or both directions, of forbidden way, that converge or intersect with other paths, but also and above all, a continuity of people, animals, places and experiences, "it's stick, it's stone, it's the end of the road" it's Route 66, the Orient Express, the Camino de Santiago, or just the repetitive journey home-work-home. In that sense, a path is an illustration with space, time, characters, dream and memory.
One last note in a defying tone: Not all roads lead to Rome.»(a)

(a) Free translation from the original text in Portuguese by Pedro Albuquerque.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Faculty Positions at Sotheby's Institute of Art - New York

The Sotheby's Institute of Art - New York is looking for candidates with specialist academic credentials, deep engagement in the art world, and a keen interest in evolving educational and business models. These candidates will apply for full-time, part-time and adjunct faculty positions, contributing for the continuous progress and innovation of Sotheby's Institute of Art internationally recognized programs in Art Business, Contemporary Art, and American Fine & Decorative Art.

Qualifications include:
•Ph.D., J.D., M.B.A. or advanced degree combinations in art history, business, art law and related disciplines
•Current knowledge of the international art market, including emerging primary and secondary markets, and experience in the art world within either commercial or non-profit sectors and/or relevant professional business experience
•Teaching experience, ideally at the graduate level
•Ability to work collaboratively with a growing and dynamic academic team
•Creative ideas about course content and pedagogy
•Flexibility and ability to adapt to a rapidly changing environment
•Strong network of international and local connections to the artworld

Preferred Deadline: April 20, 2012 * Applications and nominations for future appointments will be accepted until all positions are filled.

Please send letter of interest and resume to:

Starting Date: Fall 2012 and beyond

Through its educational programs, the Sotheby's Institute of Art offers first-hand experiences in the art world, including examination of works of art in context, study travel, and professional practice. The unprecedented globalization of the art world has resulted in rapid growth in the Institute’s MA and Certificate programs, as well as its short courses, summer programs and an innovative new online offering.

Photojournalism 2012 Award Estação Imagem | Mora

Entries are open until March 31, 2012, for the Photojournalism 2012 Award Estação Imagem Mora (Prémio de Fotojornalismo 2012 Estação Imagem Mora).

Established in 2010 through a partnership between Estação Imagem and the City Hall of Mora (Alentejo, Portugal), the Award and aims to convey photojournalim not only as documentary photography, but also as a renowned and valuable form of artistic expression
The 2012 edition will include the following categories: News(NT); Daily Life(VQ); Art and Performance(AE); Environment(AM); Portraits(RT); Sports(DE).

The Photojournalism 2012 Award Estação Imagem Mora is open to photojournalists of Portuguese nationality (including those living abroad), foreign photojornalists living in Portugal, from PALOPs (including resident foreign photojournalists) and from Galiza. PALOP represents the African countries having Portugese as their official language.

If the participant does not own professional credentials, it will be mandatory to indicate where he/she has published previously, the press card elements or of any other document making proof of the professional activity, or the institution or publication where he/she has developed a journalistic project.

The sign up is free and can only be completed by the participant through the forms (Identification and News Report) available at the .

Participants can use one of the many available platforms for sending files (WeTransfer, YouSendIt,…) and send their documents to .
Each image must be sent in JPEG format, with 3500 pixels on its wider side, 300 DPI, 8 bits and RGB (slides and photos on paper are not eligible).
Images may contain a title with the author's name and date on the Caption's description field. Nowhere else in the Caption these elements are permited.
Each work must have a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 12 images and be accompanied by a text of up to 800 characters.

For each entry, it's necessary to fill a News Report Form (Ficha da Reportagem) and an Identification Form (Ficha de Identificação). The file names "_ficha_reportagem.pdf" and "_ficha_identificacao.pdf" should not be changed.
The name of the fold containing the images, the News Report Form and the Identification Form, must start with the sigla corresponding to the category (ex: NTmynewsreport). The fold must be compressed using a .zip or .rar format (ex:
The fold should then be sent using an online file transfer service as mentioned before.
Don't forget to include the e-mail adress where you wish to receive the delivery confirmation (it may take up to 48 hours)
For each work sent, the process will have to be repeated (even if the Identification Form is the same, it will have to be added to each work).
There is no limit for the number of entries.

Entrants attest that they are the sole copyright owners of the photos or have comproved authorization of the rightful copyright owner. They will also assume any consequences eventually succeeded from the publication and exhibition of the photographies. That the images did not suffer any manipulation and addition or subtraction of elements. The manipulation of elements such as framing, balance, density and contrast are allowed.

The author has to make the originals available if requested by the juri, under the penalty of being disqualified and publicly disclosed. He/she must grant a free of charge and royalty free, parcial or total publication of the images in the context of the Award, including its promotion and exhibition.

The juri of the Photojournalism 2012 Award Estação Imagem Mora, will gather from April 12. The awards ceremony and juri conference will take place on April 14 at the auditorium of the City Hall of Mora.

An overall winner will be chosen from the several categories and will be awarded with the ESTAÇÃO IMAGEM MORA prize in the value of €3.500. The overal winner cannot accumulate this prize with the category one from where this winning work was chosen from.

The awards are will be attributed as followed:


At its sole descrition, the juri may grant second and third honourable mentions to each of the 6 categories, however only one award will be granted to each.

The juri will be composed by Emilio Morenatti (head of the juri), Frédérique Babin, Patrick Baz, Marion Duran, Pablo Juliá and Arianna Rinaldo.

The first exhibition resulting from the 1212 edition awards, will be inaugurated on June 16, 2012 at the CPF - Centro Português de Fotografia in the city of Oporto.

ESTAÇÃO IMAGEM MORA will attribute a Grant in the value of €3.500. This Grant is intended to allow a photojournalist to develop a project about the region of Alentejo. The work will then be published in a book and exhibited during next year's awards ceremony.

Applicants to the €3500 Grant must send a fold in .zip or .rar formats containing the following elements:

A description of the project up to 5000 characters, in Portuguese and in English. Do not include your identification on this document.
A portfolio with up to 20 images not related to the project. If you want you can include an up to 800 characters description, in Portuguese and in English, of the portfolio. Do not include your identification on this document.
Curriculum Vitae up to 2000 caracteres in Portuguese and in English.
Identification Form (Ficha de Identificação).

These last two elements will be the only ones where you will mention your identification. Only after the veridict, these will be known by the juri.

If you wish to clarify any doubts concerning your participation, you can contact or

Deadline is March 31, 2012 (GMT).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Painting in the Kröller-Müller Museum attributed to Van Gogh

Today, the Kröller-Müller Museum offically revealed to the public the conclusion of several tests that confirmed Vincent Van Gogh as the author of a painting now entitled "Still life with meadow flowers and roses."

The story begins in late November 1885, when Van Gogh arrived in the city of Antwerp, later enrolling at the art academy in January 1886.
One of the exercises included in the art course was to paint a pair of wrestlers.
Van Gogh was urged by his teacher to purchase a large canvas, new brushes and paint, as stated in a letter that Van Gogh wrote on 22 January.
He didn't have enough money, but with the help of his brother Theo, he as able to buy the materials.
A week later he wrote ‘This week I painted a large thing with two nude torsos – two wrestlers’ and that he was delighted with the result. The large 100cm x 80cm canvas was a standard format for figure paintings at the academy in Antwerp.

Van Gogh took the canvas with him when he went to live with his brother in Paris in late February 1886. Several months later, while still in Paris, he painted directly over the 'wrestlers' without scraping or adding an intermediate layer, or any other sort of preparation.
The artist painted a flower still life where an opulently filled foreground was an uncharacteristic exuberance for him. This fact added to the unusual format and size for the subject, prompt experts to dismissal the painting as being Van Gogh's. Moreover his Parisian flower still lifes were generally smaller.
Later however the size proved to be determined by the underlying academic piece, and the exuberant foregroung revealed necessary to cover an entire wrestler on that spot.

In 1920, the Kröllers purchased 26 (!) of the 48 Van Gogh paintings at auction and although this work made part of the lot, they didn't acquire it.
The painting ended up in various private collections and was not included in the Kröller-Müller collection until 1974, when it was purchased with support from the Rembrandt Association and the Prince Bernhard Fund, in order to ‘save it for the nation’. At that time, the senior curator of the museum, Ellen Joosten, described the work as both ‘exceptional’ and ‘remarkable’. She found the large size, the abundance of flowers in their lush display of colour and the smooth, ‘rather academic approach’ highly unusual.

An X-ray image made in 1998, revealed that the flower piece was painted over the other the scene with the torsos of two wrestlers grasping each other by the arms. This X-ray continued to fascinate researchers.
Nonetheless, in the 2003 file catalogue – The paintings of Vincent van Gogh in the collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum – new arguments were raised, adding to the existing doubts. The work was dismissed but remained in the collection, listed as ‘artist: anonymous’ ever since.

Recently, a team of researchers from the TU Delft, the University of Antwerp, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) Hamburg, the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum has succeeded in confirming its authenticity. The new research technique MA-XRF (Macro Scanning X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry) made it possible to analyze both paintings in greater detail. This revealed not only a defining characteristic of the academy in Antwerp, namely that the male models posed half naked in contrast to academies elsewhere, but that the pigments used correspond entirely with Van Gogh’s palette at that time. Furthermore, it made possible to recognize Van Gogh’s typical brushstrokes in the now far more perceptible depiction.

In the publication Rehabilitation of a flower still life in the Kröller-Müller Museum and a lost Antwerp painting by Van Gogh, available as a prepublication in the museum shop (English language), the authors Luuk Struick van der Loeff, Matthias Alfeld, Teio Meedendorp, Joris Dik, Ella Hendriks, Geert van der Snickt, Koen Janssens and Meta Chavannes, explain in detail how the wrestlers and the flower still life were painted by Van Gogh.
A new publication Van Gogh: New Findings (Van Gogh Studies deel 4) will be available from June 2012, published by WBooks under the auspices of the Van Gogh Museum.

"Still life with meadow flowers and roses" is on display since 20 March in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Netherlands, together with Van Gogh’s "Roses and peonies" and "Flowers in a blue vase."

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Musée Maillol presents: Artemisia - Power, Glory and Passions of a Female Painter

On the 8th of July 1593 was born in Rome the eldest daughter of the italian baroque painter Orazio Lomi Gentileschi, Artemisia Lomi Gentileschi.

Artemisia began receiving instruction in the art of painting at a very early age, quite probably by her father. In a letter dated July 3, 1962, adressed by her father to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, he atests his daughter's artistic skills.
The young woman's first ever signature, “ARTEMITIA. / GENTILESCHI. F / 1610”, appears in the lower left hand corner of a "Susanna and the Elders," currently in the Schönborn collection in Pommersfelden, Germany.

At the age of 18, Artemisia is raped by Agostino Tassi, a colleague of Orazio’s. After the rape, Tassi promises to marry the young woman and convinces her to continue a relationship with him for another nine months.

However around March-April 1612, impelled by public morality, though also by personal interest, her father decides do denounce Tassi and make public his rape of Artemisia.
The rape trial of Agostino Tassi opens on March 2 and continues for another seven months, until October 29.

Meanwhile, Orazio Gentileschi sends a letter to the Grand Duchess Christine of Lorraine in Florence about the trial, pleading with her to intervene and to prevent Agostino Tassi from walking free. In that letter, he also proposes to send the Grand Duchess one of his daughter’s paintings to demonstrate her abilities. At this stage, according to her father, Artemisia has already been painting for three years.

The verdict is announced on November 27, 1612: Agostino Tassi is sentenced to a five years exile from Rome‘sub pena triremium,’ as a galley slave. Subsequently, the punishment is judged to have been unfair and Tassi never serves his sentence.

On November 29, 1612 Artemisia marries Pierantonion Stiattesi, a minor artist born in Florence, son of a cobler and brother of Giovan Battista. He was also friend of Orazio.
Their first son, Giovanni Battista, is baptized on September 21, 1613, in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Forence.

While in Florence, Artemisia starts gaining reputation. Among her commissions, there's an Allegory of Inclination commissioned by Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger.
She becomes a member of Florence’s Accademia del Disegno on July 19, 1616, as testified by two documents that also make reference to Orazio. It’s probably over the following years that, thanks to Buonarroti and Matteo Frescobaldi, Artemisia becomes a friend of Galileo Galilei, a member of Accademia del Disegno since 1613 and with whom she would later remain in correspondence.
Along the following years and between several commissions, Artemisia's life and of her family suffers inumerous mishaps.

Artemisia Lomi Gentileschi was quite probably deceased between 1652 and 1654; a document dated from January 31, 1654, provides proof of the collaboration between Artemisia and Palumbo.
According to 17th to 19th century sources, Artemisia was buried in the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Naples. The precise location of the grave remains uncertain, as the headstone bearing the simple inscription “HEIC ARTIMISIA” had already disappeared when restoration work was carried out in 1785.

From March 14th throughout July 15th, 2012, the Musée Maillol - Fondation Dina Vierny,Paris, presents the major exhibition "Artemisia - Power, glory and passions of a female painter" (Artemisia - Povoir, gloire et passions d'une femme peintre."
The exhibition includes a significant number of paintings from several important museums and galleries in Italy and abroad, as well from private art collections.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Monstra - Lisbon Animated Film Festival 2012

The 12th edition of Monstra - Lisbon Animated Film Festival (Monstra- Festival de Animação de Lisboa) will inaugurate tomorow 19th and will prolong until the 25th of this month.

With a programme of more than 100 films from Portugal, Germany, Japan and Canada, Monstra will dedicate this year's retrospective to Germany, a country with a long tradition in animation, of which the Festival will show films from the 20's to our times, covering themes such as music and satire. Some of the names include Bruno Böttge, Lotte Reiniger and Raimund Krumme, one of the invited guests of the Festival.

Having Bauhaus has a meeting poin for new and experimental artistic cultural and philosophical ideas, where names such as Hans Richter, Oskar Fischinger, Walter Rutman, Viking Eggeling and Lotte Reiniger, are a reference among many others, Germany has placed an indelible influence in the animated art of the 20th century's first half.

Following last editions, Monstra will also dedicate a retrospective to the Eastern animated films, with Japan playing this year's role.
The 2012 highlights will be "Ghost in the Shell," a Manga film from the director Mamoru Oshii and the film "Winter Days," a tribute to the recently deceased film director Kihachiro Kawamoto that will include the presence of one of the film's assistants, the film director and performer Noriko Morita.

In this year's edition, the competition is dedicated to short films, namely directed by students, and to under 2 minutes short films (Curtíssimas). Several prizes will be attributed to different categories.
Student classes will arrive from England, France and Germany, as well as young directors from many parts of the world.
The sudents competitions will be curated by Júlio Alves and Miguel Matos.

For the first time, the Portuguese Society of Authors (SPA) colaborates with Monstra to create the SPA/Vasco Granja prize, with the intent of rewarding the best Portuguese animation film created in 2011. The prize has a value of €5000.

Children are an important, if not the most important, element of this Festival. For them, Monstra 12 has Monstrinha, a special programme taking place in several places that will include specially catered sessions presented by field experts who will talk about the techniques that were used on each film.
One of the highlights of Monstrinha will be the film "Bambi," that celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.
The session wil take place in the peninsula of Troia. Those deslocating from Lisbon will benefit from free transport offered by the organization.

Several parallel activities will take place during the Festival, including workshops and master classes, as well as exhbitions.

A reference partner of Monstra, is the Museu da Marioneta (Marionette Museum), where the exhibition "Marionetas de Animação," dedicated to the DEFA Studio from the ex-DDR will take place. DEFA is one of the most important European animated film studios, with over 1500 films produced in 35 years (1955 to 1990).
Through the project [RE]Animar, vistors to the museum will have the chance to play with the zoetrope and learn about its use and how although an old instrument, still triggers curiosity and continues to be used.

Celebrating 10 years of Opera Imaginaire, the organization presents a programme about music and animation, in partnership with the programme DESCOBRIR from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
A tribute to the Portuguese director José Abel, of which Opera Imaginaire was his last work and had its premiere after his death, will be made through the presentation of his originals.

The Monstra - Lisbon Animated Film Festival will take place at Cinema São Jorge, Cinema City Alvalade, Fnac, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and Museu da Marioneta, between 19th and 25th of March 2012.

Admission: 4€; with discount: 3,5€; schools: 1€

On a side note: The Monstra Festival sponsored the presentation of "Nutri Ventures - Em Busca dos 7 Reinos"(Nutri Ventures - The Quest for the 7 Kingdoms), which took place on the 17th at the Cinema São Jorge.
This is the biggest animation series ever done in Portugal and will soon start on the RTP2 and Panda channel.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3rd Annual Medford Children's Art Showcase

Until the 18th of March 2012, the Meadow Glenn Mall is displaying the artwork created by the 3rd and 7th graders of Medford, Massachusetts. This year's exhibition also includes the works from Medford High School students.

Coordinated by local volunteers and supported by a grant from the Medford Arts Council, an LCC of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the 3rd annual Medford Children's Art Showcase, seeks to highlight arts education in the Medford Public Schools and promote the connection between the schools and the local arts community.

With over 200 students participating this year, the exhibition can be visited at the Center Court atrium of the Meadow Glen Mall during regular Mall hours.

There's a Facebook page where you can leave your comments, encouraging the children to develop their artistic skills.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Da Vinci's lost fresco “La Battaglia di Anghiari” likely found in Florence

Copy made in the mid-16th century and then extended at the edges in the early 17th century by Rubens, who also completed the sword of the fourth horseman.

Behind Giorgio Vasari's fresco “La battaglia di Marciano,” painted in 1563 when the Hall of Five Hundred in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, was being remodeled, is likely to be found Leonardo Da Vinci's “La battaglia di Anghiari” (The Battle of Anghiari), that he started painting in 1505 but left unfinished when he left Florence in 1506.

Vasari painted several frescoes there and the Da Vinci's fresco was thought to be destroyed.
But Seracini, when surveying the hall using laser and radar methods, discovered air gaps behind Vasari's fresco and suspected that he built a wall in front of Da Vinci's unfinished masterpiece and painted it over with a fresco in order to preserve it.
Seracini also discovered a telling clue: Vasari included a soldier in the fresco holding a flag that reads, "CERCA TROVA"(Seek and you shall find), a proof of Vasari's intention to preserve Leonardo's work.

Researchers led by Maurizio Seracini, art history professor at the University of San Diego, California, and sponsored by the UCSD and The National Geographic Society, used probes to drill a few small holes in the fresco painted by Vasari.

Terry D. Garcia, executive vice president for Mission Programs for the National Geographic Society, who supports the investigation, atests that the holes in the mural were made in areas that had been previously restored or in fissures, thus assuring Vasari's painting.

Analysis made to the chemical content of the paint, showed that its composition was similar to that in the paint that Da Vinci used when he painted the "Mona Lisa" and "St. John the Baptist."

Beige paint and special black pigments were found, as well as traces of red lacquer, a pigment seldom used in murals due to its reduced light fasteness and high price.
The red lacquer is used in oil paintings and the find of this pigment matches with Leonardo's intention to paint his 'Battle of Anghiari' with a technique used in oil paintings.

Seracini told reporters during a press conference this monday that the pigments found beneath Vasari's fresco are consistent with the organic paint Da Vinci used on his frescoes.

The team of researchers believes be one step closer in its search to find Da Vinci's lost masterpiece "The Battle of Anghiari"

Although this investigation counts with several important supporters, namely from the city of Florence and of renowned art restoration institute Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Tomaso Montanari, a professor at the University of Naples Federico II said that Seracini's process is not transparent and is based on sensationalism rather than science; Seracini, who's been working on this search for near 30 years, was featured in Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code."

He also afirms that the painting behind Vasari's fresco could be ornamental decoration, or paint used by other artists in Florence during the same time period. And because of Da Vinci's experimental painting techniques, it's unlikely that "The Battle of Anghiari" would be preserved for so long.

Montanari has undertook a petition signed by more than 100 art historians who oppose the process, including experts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The National Gallery in London.

In the meantime, Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi told reporters they may decide to remove parts of the Vasari work which were restored in the 19th and 20th centuries in order to look behind them.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Child with a Dove" by Pablo Picasso is for sale

Painted in 1901, when Pablo Picasso was 19 years old (beginning of his Blue Period), "Child with a Dove" (also referred as "Child Holding a Dove" and "Child with Pigeon") is for sale.

The auction house Christie's has been chosen by the owner of the painting to find a buyer and it seems that there is already someone interested outside UK. The work is valued at £50 million (€60 million; $79 million).

Since the piece was publically shown, the present owner was exempt from inheritance tax when he first received the piece, but this tax would become payable if the work was to be sold privately. Under UK regulations, owners in this situation have to publish a notice of intention of sale via the Arts Council England’s Acquisitions, Exports, Loans and Collections Unit, and allow three months for national collectors (institutions or privates) to decide whether they are in a position to cover other offerings from abroad.

According to news and considering that "Child with a Dove" is not one of Picasso's most important works, it is unlikely that the painting will stay in the UK.
Moreover the National Gallery revealed it had spent most of its legacy reserves to purchase Titian's Diana and Callisto from the Duke of Sutherland.

Although the auction house didn't reveal details about the owner, The Art Inquirer believes that "Child with a Dove" is owned by Henry Charles McLaren, 4th Baron Aberconway.

The painting, which served as cover illustration of a famous coffee-table survey of modern art published shortly after the Second World War by Albert Skirawas, was part of Samuel Courtauld's collection and was bequeathed in 1928 to Christabel Mary Melville MacNaghten, Lady Aberconway (12 December 1890 - 7 August 1974), who apparently was more than just a friend to Courtauld (7 May 1876 – 1 December 1947) in his later years.

Loaned since early 2012 to the Coultard Gallery and currently on show at Tate Britain's "Picasso and Modern British Art" blockbuster exhibition, the painting had been on long-term loan at London's National Gallery from 1974 to 2011.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Official opening of the National Museum of China

After four years of renovation started in March 2007 and one-year trial period that started with the exhibition The Art of the Enlightenment, the National Museum of China has officialy opened its doors to the public on the 1st of March 2012.

With a total floor space of nearly 191,900 square meters - more than triple the previous exhibition space - including 28 new exhibition halls and state of the art exhibition facilities and storage, the National Museum of China is the largest museum building in the world, presenting a frontal length of 313 meters, a width of 149 meters, and a height of four stories totaling 40 meters.
The museum houses more than 1.2 million cultural relics.

First established in 2003 through the merging of the National Museum of Chinese History and the Museum of the Chinese Revolution, both occupying the same building since 1959, the National Museum of China (中国国家博物馆) is expected to become a world class museum.

On view are the exhbitions "Ancient China", "Road to Revival" and "Ancient Chinese Bronze Art," as well as a presentation about Chinese Buddhist Sculpture.
The special exhibition "The Art of the Enlightenment" can be visited until March 31, 2012.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Inventory of stolen sacred art in Portugal

The Secretariado Nacional para os Bens Culturais da Igreja (National Secretariate for the Cultural Assets of the Church) has developed an online inventory to register the sacred art objects stolen in Portugal.
Still on an early stage, the database online permits the searching of objects through keywords.

The SNBCI requests the collaboration of those who possess images of stolen items, previously taken in religious ceremonies or processions, to make them available for the inventory, since many of the stolen items are missing an image in the database.

Portugal has a rich patrimony of sacred art and its churches, with particular focus on samll villages, have been victims of theft. In the last 5 years, near 500 sacred art objects have been stolen in Portugal.

With this new tool, it is expected a more interactive collaboration between the Church, the authorities and the population, in order to solve a serious problem.

While there is a considerable legal market for the transaction of paintings and other art objects, namely through auction houses, the market of sacred art objects is reduced and thus the appearance of this items for sale should always be looked with suspicion.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Museu do Oriente - Voyages of Discovery

From 28th of February through 4th of March, the Museu do Oriente (Lisbon, Portugal) is hosting the exhibition Voyages of Discovey - A Portuguese collection travelling around the world.

The collection comprises ceramic pieces and paintings on canvas that will be held at auction in Hong Kong by the British auction house Bonhams. This Portuguese collection, beloging to an anonymous private collector, has been previously presented in Paris, Nova Iorque, Londres, Singapura, Taipé, Beijing, Xangai e Hong Kong.

With 12 valuable ceramic pieces spanning a historical period that goes back to the Song Dinasty (960-1279), the collection includes two plates from the Song Dinasty (960-1279), one of them showing a poem written six centuris later by the Emperor Qianlong, where he states the beauty of the object.
Also presented in a fine state of conservation, is rare china from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dinasties.
Minutely elaborated cloisonné pieces (enamelwork in which metal filaments are fused to the surface of an object to outline a design that is filled in with enamel paste) complete this part of the collection, among which stands out an 'ice cooler' that would held a block of ice with the purpose of cooling the room - the Victoria & Alber Museum possesses a similar one, probably property of the same original owner.

A series of 15 paintings from two renowned Chinese painters of the 20th and 21st centuries, Chu Teh-Chun(朱德群) and Zao Wou-Ki(赵无极), travels through several decades that separate both artists, testifying their artistic development.

Born in China, both studied under the instruction of Lin Fengmian at the Hangzhou Academic Art College. Following similar paths, they travelled to Paris (Zao Wou-Ki in 1948 and Chu Teh-Chun in 1955), in a time when Paris effervescing with art movements.

Their artistic creativity together with their life experience is depicted through a fusion of caligrapy and tradicional Chinese painting, with the Western abstractionism, where the result can be appreciated on the 15 exhibited paintings.

Voyages of Discovery can be visited in the Galeria Sul at the Museo do Oriente from 28th of February to 4th of March, 2012.

General information about visits can be found on this page.