Just for Easter

Photo: GV
Photo: GV

Most of the great art of the European Middle Ages was devoted to religion. As was much of Europe’s finest art for centuries thereafter.

Toward the middle of the 15th century the great Sienese painter Giovanni di Paolo captured Christ in the Decent from the Cross with a spiritual intensity matched only by Christ’s Resurrection, as captured in a bronze three centuries later by the famous Roman artist of the Baroque period, Gian  Lorenzo Bernini.

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There Must be a Better Way!

The Baltimore Museum of Art - photo: GV
The Baltimore Museum of Art - photo: GV

To support the arts in Baltimore City. High unemployment coupled with a dead real estate market and pension obligations skyrocketing out of control have left our new mayor with unprecedented financial challenges.

The BSO’s musicians have just agreed to a painful reduction in pay, and all cultural institutions in the City are facing cuts in public funding that will be very, very hard to absorb.

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Do you think this is Jesus?

333I don’t. And I’m pretty sure the editors of TIME knew that it wasn’t back in 1998 when they put it (a detail from the Shroud of Turin) on their magazine’s cover.

The linen of the Shroud had been Carbon 14 dated to AD 1260-1390 ten years earlier, in 1988.  And as it turns out, the Shroud appears for the first time in historical documents in AD 1357 in a small town in France (Lirey, not Remulak).

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The Barnes Foundation – "The Art of the Steal"

 There is a powerful new documentary out there called The Art of the Steal (http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/02/26/movies/26artof.html). It’s the story of one of the art world’s most wonderfully odd characters, Albert Barnes (d. 1951), his fantastic collection of Renoirs, Cezannes, Matisses et cetera, which came to rest in a suburb of Philadelphia decades ago, and of the planned move of that collection to downtown Philadelphia in 2012.

Albert Barnes in the Barnes Foundation ca 1950
Albert Barnes in the Barnes Foundation ca 1950

The documentary has a very strong point of view, obvious from its title, and as a viewer you are certain to react one way or the other. Last Sunday morning I introduced an advanced screening of The Art of the Steal at the Charles Theatre here in Baltimore, and moderated a very lively conversation after the screening.

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Win a Prize? Guess how much…

These are 3000-lb, lion-headed godesses, 14th century BC,  from Thebes

WALTERS ANCIENT EGYPT GALLERY

The prize is a one-year membership in THE WALTERS ART MUSEUM, with all the substantial rights and benefits that accrue thereto.  Like free entry to museums all over the country, and discounts at local restaurants.  Plus, best of all, free admission to ticketed shows at the WAM, and to all its great programs. And, of course, our members help keep the Walters’ permanent collections free for the public!

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Object of the Week: A BIG Painting Re-Discovered

Installing a huge altarpiece by the Italian Renaissance artist Michele Coltellini

In 1912 Henry Walters bought a huge altarpiece by the Italian Renaissance artist Michele Coltellini signed and dated 1506 (http://art.thewalters.org/viewwoa.aspx?id=1627).  But because it was so grimy, so difficult to see and admire, it remained on a rack in deep storage for decades. 

For two full years, between 2003 and 2005, Coltellini’s dirty altarpiece was the sole project of a single Walters conservator named Gillian Cook.

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