Let’s Hear It for the Optimists

mai_377_t.jpgVia David Packwood, I was made aware of the sale, last Friday at Moore, Allen & Innocent, for £2 million, of a Dutch 16th-Century portrait that the buyer and whoever he was bidding against evidently thought was a Rembrandt. Now, it certainly is a good-looking painting and evidently related to Rembrandt, but — at least judging from the low-quality reproduction available at the auction house’s site — this is pretty far from the real thing.

I am not a specialist, but to me the handling on the face, with its patchy application, and the superficially applied highlights on the tunic spell out Pastiche. Loudly. In the early period emulated here, Rembrandt did indeed apply paint in rather thick patches without blending a whole lot, but his results were still of a wholly different order of nuance. Packwood has an example up, which should demonstrate the difference in quality conclusively.

I am unfortunately not that well-versed in the work of Rembrandt’s students and artistic circle, but the suggestion made in the comments section of Packwood’s site, that it could well be by Isack Jouderville, seems convincing. Nice picture, but £2 million..?

Cartoon Crisis Remembered in Danish Election, pt. 2

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Following upon Danish far-right Danish People’s Party’s campaign poster of a few days ago, evoking the cartoon crisis, left-wing party Enhedslisten (“The Unity List”) and their candidate for parliament Asmaa Abdol-Hamid (pictured, right) have created their own poster in response, showing a hand drawing the face of Danish People’s Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard under text saying “Freedom of speech is Danish, idiocy is not.”

This post was initially made yesterday by T. Thorhauge, but disappeared due to bungling on the Metabaron’s part. The above is a reconstruction.

On a Wall in Barcelona

tree_t.jpgJust returned from a short, sweet trip to Barcelona. Found this on a wall, in one of the many recesses of Gaudí’s Sagrada Família. Made me think of this passage from Leonardo’s notebooks:

“… if you look at any walls soiled with a variety of stains, or stones with variegated patterns, when you have to invent some location, you will therein be able to see a resemblance to various landscapes graced with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, great valleys and hills in any combinations. Or again you will be able to see various battles and figures darting about, strange-looking faces and costumes, and an endless number of things which you can distill into finely-rendered forms. And what happens with regard to such walls and variegated stones is just as with the sound of bells, in whose peal you will find any name or word you care to imagine.”

Somehow auspiciously appropriate in that particular building.

Cartoon Crisis Remembered in Danish Election, pt. 2

Pia KjaersgaardFollowing yesterday’s post upon Danish People’s Party‘s election campaign, left wing party Enhedslisten has produced this ad (left) as a counter-comment to the former’s Mohammed poster. The face on the ‘drawing’ belongs to Danish People’s Party‘s leader Pia Kjærsgaard, and the text states: “Freedom of speech is Danish, stupidity is not“.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Campaign ad by Enhedslisten
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Titian — The Last Act

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The late work of Titian continues to fascinate. Inner effulgence emerging through broken, smouldering facture. A expressively spiritual presence. These are some of the qualities of the best, late works in paint by the master. Unprecedented in its embrace of colour as clay, of the gesture as art, and utterly devoid of ancillary concerns, yet fully continuous with the rest of his oeuvre, it appears the result of insights attained through a long life of painting as inquiry. A quintessential manifestation of the romantic notion of an Altersstil as the last testament of the singular artistic genius.

The latest affirmation of the late work’s enduring appeal are two ambitious and grandly conceived exhibitions, concentrating on the last twenty years or so of Titian’s career. Without a doubt the most assertive and incontrovertible is “Der Späte Tizian und die Sinnlichkeit der Malerei” (“Late Titian and the Sensuality of Painting,” reviewed here) in Vienna, which opened last week and collects the majority of his supreme late masterpieces under one roof. (More on that once I get to see it) The other is the odder, more idiosyncratic, but nevertheless greatly interesting show “Tiziano — L’Ultimo atto” (“Titian — The Last Act”) in the small town of Belluno in the foothills of the Dolomites, with an outreach to Titian’s hometown of Pieve di Cadore, further on up.

Cartoon Crisis Remembered in Danish Election


Yesterday, Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen called early election for Nov. 13. Most major parties expected this move, and have been preparing their campaigns since the beginning of summer. Even though Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) and its leader Pia Kjærsgaard (above) belong on the far right wing, it’s a bit of a surprise that the party launches its campaign with a strong reference to the Cartoon Crisis. On the poster above, the text states: Freedom of Speech is Danish, Censorship is not“.

The drawing is by the party’s graphic designer (it’s not one of Jyllands-Posten‘s original cartoons), and is based on a drawing depicting the Prophet Mohammed in Alexander Ross’s book A View of all the Religions in the World (1683). According to Nyhedsavisen, Kassem Ahmed, a spokesperson for the Danish Islamic Society, has stated that the Society will “ignore the provocation, and prefer dialogue with those who subscribe to freedom of speech in a more decent and respectful manner“.

Let’s see what happens this time..

Photo montage by Avisen.dk.

Hype: The Dark Knight Reflects

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I morgen, onsdag 24 oktober kl. 12.15, holder Ph. D.-stipendiat på Institut for Filosofi og Idéhistorie, Aarhus universitet, Carsten Fogh Nielsen, forelæsningen “The Dark Knight Reflects – om Batman, filosofi og populærkultur” på Aarhus Universitet, Nobelparken, bygning 1461, lokale 226. Manchet følger: