Svetlana AlpersArt of Describing, 1984In this account of the history of art as it was written in the C20th, 16 essays were written by leading art critics and curators, looking at the impact of each pivotal art book. Each essay in The Books that Shaped Art History by editors Richard Shone and John-Paul Stonard (2013) mapped the intellectual development of…

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Broad Leys, built in 1898Looking down from the terrace to Lake WindermereThe origin of the Arts & Crafts movement can be found in the True prin­­ciples of Augustus Pugin (1812-1852), the Seven Lamps of Archit­ect­ure by John Ruskin (1819-1900) and the revol­utionary energy of William Morris (1834-96). They influenced later artists, craftsmen and arch­itects to…

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Kirchner Self-portrait with a pipe, 1907. Photo credit: Sotheby's.German Expressionist Ernst Kirchner (1880-1938) painted Self-portrait as Soldier with Pipe (1907) while involved with the avant-garde Die Brücke movement that he’d recently co-founded. The first owner of the work was his cont­emporary and co-founder of Die Brücke, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.Painted early in Kirchner’s career, the work was the art­ist’s…

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Portrait of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Frank Salisbury, 1934I was very interested in Hillwood house-museum in Washington DC. The first half of this story, of the Hillwood collection and of Marjorie Merriweather Post, was inspired by Master­piece Online. The second half is my thinking about the relevance of house-museums today.Businesswoman philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887–1973) was born to…

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gold and enamel table salt cellar.made for Francis I of France, 1543Cover image on Cellini's AutobiographyBenvenuto Cellini (1500-71) was a famous Fl­orentine goldsmith and scul­ptor, a passionate craftsman who was admired and resented by the most powerful C16th politicos and artists. His father had wanted Benvenuto to follow in him as a musician working at the Florentine Medici court. Despite…

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Rosa Bonheur's Château de Byis becoming Musée de l'atelier Rosa BonheurCredit: patrice-besseRosa Bonheur (1822–1899), born in rural Bordeaux, soon moved with her family to Paris. But her father left his wife and 4 children to live with a Ch­ristian utopian sect which promoted the equality of women and work­ers. Bonheur’s mother taught piano and sew­ing to…

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Jan Hendrik Scheltema (1861–1941) was the youngest child of Lieut-Col Nicolaas Scheltema and his wife Anna Maria, who had 4 surviving children. This patrician family lived in Haar­lem and Rott­erdam, then moved to Gouda when Jan was 15. Brother Petrus Her­man became an ar­ch­itect, then editor of an archit­ect­ural magazine, and overseer of the Hague’s…

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The renovated Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem staged a special exhibition in 2018-9: Frans Hals and the Moderns. Thank you to the Exhibition Catalogue and The French Life.In 1868 Frans Hals (1582-1666) was “rediscovered” by the influential French jour­nalist-art critic Théophile Thoré. Art critics had dis­re­garded Hals since he died in 1666. The Dutchman's inn­ovative painting style with…

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