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January 2014

Vol. 156 | No. 1330

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Editorial

Exhibitions 2013-14

Looked at from a critical or scholarly perspective, a good many exhibitions seem hardly necessary. They are often make­weights in a museum’s schedule, a curator’s or art historian’s proposal taken on by an exhibition committee eager to fill its ‘forthcoming events’, to satisfy the conditions attached to funding or the demands of education departments. Often they can simply be crowd-pleasers without a context, but with a famous name or movement in the title to ensure increased visitor numbers. We might contrast here the brazen footfall-chasing of the Albertina in Vienna with the focused scholarly shows at the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art which can also delight the non-specialist. The Victoria and Albert Museum this past year had a spectacular hit with its David Bowie exhibition, but there was no major show rooted in or stemming from its core collections of applied and decorative arts. Perhaps the Museum has been treading water until its William Kent exhibition arrives from New York (where it is at the Bard Graduate Center to 9th February; in London from 22nd March to 13th July). Painting and drawing has fared better in displays and shows of British works on paper, Constable and Chinese scroll painting (all current). But before looking at a few highlights for 2014, here is a résumé of the last twelve months.

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The Portrait in Vienna 1900

If the exhibition Facing the Modern. The Portrait in Vienna 1900 (to 12th January)1 had been shown in Vienna at one of the excellent museums devoted to the cultural history of the city – such as the Wien Museum or the Jüdisches Museum Wien – it would have seemed an interesting and appropriate project. Unfortunately, staging a show of this kind at the National Gallery, London, is an entirely different matter. In the context of this great international museum displaying masterpieces of European art through the ages, Facing the Moderncomes across as flawed and oddly parochial. Sadly, it represents a missed opportunity to introduce the British public to the splendours of fin-de-siècle Viennese art.

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  • Federico Brandani’s paper model for the Chapel of the Dukes of Urbino at Loreto

    By Giovanni Santucci

    A rare architectural paper model (after 1570) by Federico Brandani for the Chapel of the Dukes of Urbino at Loreto.

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  • A rediscovered text for a drawing book by Odoardo Fialetti

    By Alexandra Greist

    A rediscovered text to a printed drawing book by Odoardo Fialetti, originally published in Venice in 1608, is discussed and reproduced in full.

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  • A letter from Guercino to Cardinal Mazarin

    By Veronica Maria White

    An unpublished letter in the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, from Guercino to Cardinal Mazarin of 1648, discussing commissions and payments.

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  • Francesco Albani’s New Year’s greetings in an unpublished letter

    By Marta Cacho Casal

    An unpublished letter in the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, from Francesco Albani to his pupil Girolamo Bonini, with references to Poussin and Annibale Carracci.

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  • Canova as hairdresser

    By Christina Ferando

    Two new letters documenting Canova in his hometown of Possagno and at a picnic in which he rearranged the local girls’ hairdos in a Neo-classical style.

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  • Michael Compton (1927–2013)

    By Simon Wilson
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  • Opening up Middle English manuscripts: literary and visual approaches, K. Kerby-Fulton, M. Hilmo and L. Olson

    By Erik Inglis
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  • Goldene Pracht. Mittelalterliche Schatzkunst in Westfalen, B. Munster, ed.

    By Gerhard Lutz
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  • Imagining the Human Condition in Medieval Rome. The Cistercian fresco cycle at Abbazia delle Tre Fontane, K.B. Aavitsland

    By Julian Gardner
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  • The Corpus Apocalypse/Die Corpus-Christi-Apokalypse, MS 20, the Parker Library, College of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cambridge, Commentary to the Facsimile Edition, D. Burrows, C. de Hamel, P.K. Klein and N. Morgan

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  • Titian. His Life, S. Hale

    By Bernard Aikema
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  • Henry Raeburn: Content, Reception and Reputation, V. Coltman and S. Lloyd, eds.

    By Richard Green
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  • The Etched Works of Mortimer Menpes (1855–1938), G. Morgan

    By Martin Hopkinson
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  • Max Pechstein: The Rise and Fall of Expressionism, B. Fulda and A. Soika

    By Sherwin Simmons
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  • Giulio Carlo Argan: Intellettuale e Storico dell’Arte, C. Gamba, ed.

    By Maria Grazia Messina
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  • Léonard de Vinci. Trattato della Pittura/Traitté de la Peinture, A. Sconza

    By Juliana Barone
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  • The Portrait in Vienna 1900

    By Jill (J. L.) Lloyd
  • Shunga

    By Matthi Forrer
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  • Sarah Lucas

    By Michael Bracewell
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  • London exhibitions

    By James Cahill
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  • Art in East Anglia

    By Robert Radford
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  • Eileen Gray

    By Frances Spalding
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  • Willie Doherty; Turner Prize

    By Martha Barratt
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  • Félix Vallotton

    By Rachel Sloan
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  • Corot

    By Stephen Duffy
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  • Géricault

    By David Bindman
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  • Antonello da Messina; L’Altro Ritratto

    By Gervase Rosser
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  • Zurbarán

    By Peter Cherry
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  • Matthias Corvinus of Hungary

    By Helena Szépe
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  • The Russian avant-garde

    By John Milner
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  • Recent shows and performances

    By Anne Blood
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  • 2013 Carnegie International

    By David Carrier
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