Recent News and Writing on Art and Art History

Katrina Grant

Up close and personal with Hans Holbein the Younger's 'The Ambassadors' via the Google Art Project

The second version of the Google Art project was launched last week, mostly to acclaim. Six Australian galleries have joined the project, which allows you to both take a Google Street view type walk through a collection as well as zoom up close to works of art, much closer in many cases than you could hope to get even in a gallery. The quality of the images is in most cases superb and it is quite easy to while away a few hours zooming in and in and in on different paintings. It is also useful for looking at works that are in collections (such as the Uffizi) that have no publicly available online database, or where the gallery’s database and search function is woefully inadequate. Some small niggles include the fact that artists are alphabetised by first name (in case you want to browse all the artists called William?), though this is offset by the fact that the search function is very good (it IS Google after all), while others have pointed out that at the moment there seems to be no room for ‘school of’ or ‘after’. One could also wish for more than just the ‘greatest hits’ from some galleries, though it is likely this will change in time. The Three Pipe Problem has a good overview of the new features and Art History Today has already started teasing out some connoisseurship problems to do with the paintings attributed to Poussin in the various galleries represented. Would be interested to hear more feedback, especially from anyone using Google Art for research or teaching, comments are welcome below.

Reports that the Renaissance show in Canberra drew record crowds, with a high proportion of visitors from Melbourne

News that the Bodleian and Vatican Libraries are getting together to digitise texts.

The Guardian on urban explorers, some who claim they are ‘libertarian historians, benignly documenting ruins and unpeeling layers of the city’.

Incoming AGNSW director Michael Brand says blockbusters need an idea behind them, not just collections from museums closed for renovations – amongst other things in an  interview in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Re-examination of Berger’s Ways of Seeing and the ridiculous fact it can’t be released on DVD due to copyright on works of art shown in it.

Turkey steps up demand for return of antiquities from US targeting the Met, Getty, and Cleveland museums of art, as well as Dumbarton Oaks. They have also asked the British Museum to return the Samsat Stele.

The Economist  ‘Art and the Middle East: Qatar’s culture queen’ While Abu Dhabi is franchising outlets of the Louvre and the Guggenheim, Qatar is growing its own museums but are they for all residents or just for the ruling elite?

Results from The Art Newspaper’s reveal that Brazil’s Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil’s in Rio de Janeiro hosted the most attended exhibition of 201, while the National Gallery of Victoria was the in the top 25 most visited museums in the world.

More speculation on the death of Caravaggio, this time he was killed by the Knights of Malta.

Italy unveils a plan to preserve sites and prevent interference by organised crime in Pompeii

The New York Times on the risk that classic modernist buildings may be demolished as they begin to show signs of wear ‘Architecture’s Ugly Ducklings May Not Get Time to Be Swans’.

Review of Tintoretto exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome.

Calls for Papers

European Portrait Miniatures (Tansey Collection, Celle, 25-27 Jan 2013) Deadline May 31.

Images of the Poor Conference, Austrian Culture Forum, Istanbul/ Turkey, 5-8 September 2012. Deadline May 25th.

Public Art Dialogue Journal – Memorials 2: The Culture of Remembrance. Deadline September 15th.

History of Museology (Art History Supplement). Deadline 25th April.


Assistant Volunteer Coordinator for 2012 Sydney Biennale Biennale (closes April 23).

La Trobe Uni Museum of Art Public Programs and Education Officer (closes April 18).

Curator Mentorship Initiative National Association for the Visual Arts Ltd  (closes April 16th).

Fellowship in Technical Art History at The Courtauld Institute of Art – Caroline Villers Research Fellowship (closes 21st May).

Roberti Longhi Foundation for History of Art Fellowships 2012-13 (closes May 15th).