Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Great Art Cover-Up: Renaissance Nudity Still Has Power to Shock

By Jonathon Jones
Michelangelo’s statue of the Risen Christ in Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, with a loincloth added after Michelangelo’s death. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Religion turned against the sexual freedom of Renaissance art. When it was unveiled in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s Last Judgment was accused of being more fit for a gay bathhouse than the Pope’s church. As soon as Michelangelo died, a painter was hired to cover the buttocks of his flying nudes with “decent” draperies. Many of these idiotic veilings are still there – the Vatican has not allowed modern restorers to remove them. The same goes for Michelangelo’s statue of the Risen Christ in Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, which wears a ridiculous loincloth added after Michelangelo’s death. It’s all gratifying proof of the power and life of great art. The Renaissance is still dangerous after all these years. Just ask its censorious enemies. [link]

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Unveiled: Adam And Eve Naked Again After Centuries-Old Cover-Up

By Maev Kennedy
Adam and Eve are seen as they were painted 500 years ago. Photograph: Andrew Morris/The Fitzwilliam Museum
Adam and Eve are once again as naked as the day they were created, centuries after some prudish hand wrapped his loins in a grass skirt and draped a veil around her, in an illustrated book to go on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The original naked figures – correct according to the biblical account where Adam and Eve only became ashamed of their bare bodies when they ate the forbidden fruit and were expelled from the Garden of Eden – were considered perfectly suitable by Queen Anne of Brittany in 1505, who commissioned the book as a gift for her five-year-old daughter, Claude. [link]

David Bowie: The Man Who Bought the Art World

By Colin Gleadell
January 16, 2016
David Bowie pictured alongside a Peter Howson. David Bowie pictured alongside Peter Howson's controversial 1994 Croatian Muslim war painting
Most of the obituaries for rock star David Bowie refer to him not only as a musician, performer, style icon and artist, but also as an art collector. In 1998 he told the New York Times: “Art was the only thing I’d ever wanted to own”. In 1999 he told the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman that “the only thing I buy addictively is art”. So what did he collect? He had a couple of Old Masters and some German Expressionist prints that jelled with his edgy Berlin period. But “the majority of what I have is British 20th century,” he told the New York Times. What will happen to the Bowie collection now is anyone’s guess. Hopefully we’ll get to see it all together somewhere, sometime. [link]

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Keeper’ Reveals the Passion for Collecting

By Holland Cotter
The artist Oliver Croy and the critic Oliver Elser preserved “The 387 Houses of Peter Fritz (1916-1992) Insurance Clerk from Vienna, 1993-2008.” Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
NEW YORK---You call it collecting. I call it hoarding. The New Museum calls it art and has a captivating exhibition devoted to it. Titled “The Keeper,” the show fills three floors and a lobby gallery with hundreds of thousands of mostly small objects and images gathered, sorted, arranged and recorded by some 30 retentive artists — keepers — over the course of the 20th century and into the 21st. People surround themselves with things to compensate for perceived deprivation past, and as a hedge against fear of future want. They encase themselves in environments that will magnify their view of themselves in the world or protectively narrow it, and, either way, keep thoughts of dissolution at bay. [link]

Why Hitler and Hermann Göring Went To War Over The Ghent Altarpiece

By Allison McNearney
AGE Fotostock/Alamy
BELGIUM-In 1432, Jan van Eyck put the finishing touches on the large masterpiece that he began with his brother years earlier. It was one of the most intricate oil paintings to ever have been produced, and the result was a powerful and stunning work of religious art. Over the past five centuries, the painting has become one of the most coveted works of all time. The real trial for the work came during WWII, when both Hitler and chief henchman Hermann Göring became desperate to acquire it for their personal art collections. Now, art lovers from around the world can examine the work up close and in minute detail through the interactive digital recreation. [link]