News and Writing about Art and Art History | March 16th 2012

Katrina Grant

The big art history news this week has been Maurizio Seracini’s announcement that his team drilling through a Vasari (BBC with video) in search of Leonardo’s ‘Battle of Anghiari’ fresco have found some flecks of paint (Guardian). The news has excited media outlets with some simply announcing ‘Lost Leonardo Found’, which is pretty far from the truth. A more measured tone was taken by a report in the Telegraph where Mark Hudson suggests that ‘the idea of Leonardo’s painting may prove to be far more potent and inspiring than the actuality.’

Bendor Grosvenor has followed the story with some comment on his blog, including some photos of the drill going through the Vasari and a video of the camera going into the wall cavity so you can see (?) the paint for yourself.

There is also a detailed comment and overview of the investigation and some useful English translations of some of the Italian commentary on the investigation are the Three Pipe Problem.

Martin Kemp has also added his thoughts in a short post with some important points about the reality of the discovery and the possible state of the fresco.

National Geographic has a story on another ‘new’ Leonardo – the Bella Principessa.

Christopher Allen has laid into the Archibald prize, writing in The Australian that the paintings on display are the ‘Tip of an iceberg of awfulness that goes down a very long way.’

The HobART blog has an excellent analysis of Tasmanian paper ‘The Mercury’s’ beat up over the Glover Prize winner and his painting depicting Port Arthur that includes the figure of Martin Bryant.

Art News reports that several art-authentication boards and artist-endowed foundations have decided that the risks and potential costs associated with determining authenticity are simply too high.

Helen Maudsley, the widow of John Brack has presented the University of Melbourne’s Ian Potter Museum of Art with Brack’s 1988 painting, The Queen, for its 40th anniversary.

Mary Beard criticises the English National Trust for setting up ‘fake’ below stairs kitchens at the cost of opening actual heritage spaces in their properties.

Wendy Scaife analyses Harold Mitchell’s report into philanthropy and the arts on The Conversation – ‘Philanthropy and the arts – Harold Mitchell’s review will create a bigger funding pool.’

Stolen paintings, including a Poussin and a Guido Reni, are discovered in Rome after being missing for forty years.

An insight into the world of Sotheby’s, ‘ a world unto itself. Marble floors; inflated egos; propositioning of female employees.’

Study of fossilised pollen brings to life the ancient garden of Ramat Rahel above modern-day Jerusalem.

Alberti’s Window on futurist sculpture  –  Boccioni and Bronze (Or, “Is the Artist Rolling in His Grave?”)

For the first time ever the Kremlin is hosting an exhibition of work by British sculptor Henry Moore, whose work was banned for six decades from the Soviet Union for ‘distorting the human body.’

The Art Newspaper on a landmark ruling in a copyright case ‘in which a judge said it was unlawful to recreate parts of a composition of an existing photograph.’ Also an article on the ramifications.


Chair in the History of Art, University of Bristol, UK

Curator Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, University of Melbourne

Calls for Papers

Journal of Netherlandish Art – link

Three Workshops and a Conference on Sculpture and Change, Courtauld Institute, UK – link

Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide & Digital Humanities, help with funding for technology or similar – link

Revival: Utopia, Identity and Memory Call for Project Participants, Courtauld Institute, UK – link

Performance Art Then and Now, 1960s-2000s, Durham, Nth Carolina – link