EVERY FEW YEARS since the 1950s this Magazine has carried an Editorial bewailing the growing surfeit of exhibitions and flagging the contingent implications for museums, the media, the public and, above all, the works of art themselves. None of these jeremiads is likely to have had the slightest effect on the seemingly unstoppable circus of international shows. To address the subject once more may seem a futile gesture in the face of this fait accompli. But the pressures brought to bear on institutions to mount shows and the curatorial slavery this entails cannot be underestimated. The huge number of new 'wings' and temporary exhibition spaces that have opened int he last few years all demand to be filled.
THERE IS NO need to wonder about Federico Barocci's extraordinary reputation during his lifetime, a reputation that led to invitations to work for the courts of Francesco I de' Medici in Florence, Rudolph II in Prague and Phillip II in Madrid. It also earned him a conspicuous place in Bellori's Lives where his biography follows that of Domenico Fontana and precedes Caravaggio's. In organising the Lives, Bellori clearly intended the diligent study that underlies Barocci's refined sense of beauty, his compositional inventiveness and his exquisite colouring to serve both as a contrast with, and a critique of, Caravaggio's manner of painting without proper consideration ('senza disegno') and his over-strong dependence on working from a posed model.
NEWLY DISCOVERED CORRESPONDENCE between the Florentine physician and antiquary Alessandro Foresi (1814-88) and the French connoisseur and collector baron Charles Davillier (1823-83) helps to identify an important work by the nineteenth-century Florentine sculptor Giovanni Bastianini (1830-68). The work in question is a terracotta figure of Giovanni delle Bande Nere in the Wallace Collection, London, hitherto regarded as an extremely rare bozzetto for a monumental Italian Renaissance portrait sculpture.
ORIGINALLY, PORDENONE'S St Anne and the doctors of the church, now in Naples, adorned the altar of the Pallavicino chapel in the Franciscan church of S. Maria dell'Annunziata in Cortemaggiore, near Piacenza. It was the focal point of the vast fresco decoration dedicated to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception that the Venetian painter executed around 1530. The large panel was still in place in 1580 when the Franciscan chronicler Giovan Francesco Malazappi visited the church and gave a detailed account of the chapel's decoration. Even the learned Malazappi misunderstood the painting's iconography and failed to realise that the central figure represents St Anne, not, as he thought, the Virgin Mary. However, at some unknown date, Pordenone's panel was removed from the altar and replaced by a splendid copy on canvas which is still in the chapel.
THE LOUVRE'S HOLDINGS of drawings by the three Carracci – Ludovico and his two cousins, the brothers Agostino and Annibale – are supreme. Now, at last, Catherine Loisel has published a complete catalog of the drawings, the first such volume devoted to drawings by these artists in a public collection to have appeared since Rudolf Wittkower's magisterial catalogue (1952) of the magnificent group of Carracci drawings in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. Loisel's publication describes the Louvre's over one thousand drawings by these three artists and their followers.
IN A RECENT ARTICLE in this Magazine, Christoper R. Marshall advanced the hypothesis that Bernardo Cavallino may have been a collaborator of Artemisia Gentileschi's. In the light of unpublished banking documents (see the Appendix below) it is evident that Artemisia's actual assistant and even collaborator was Onofrio Palumbo, a well-known artist among those working in naples towards the middle of the seventeenth century, whose most important work in that city is S. Gennaro interceding for Naples in the church of SS.Trinità dei Pellegrini. The stylistic and cultural affinities of the two artists are evident from their works, something that it is not possible to address in this brief note.
IN 1781, Pietro Bardellino was working on a large fresco on the vault of the Salone dell'Atlante on the piano nobile of the Palazzo dei Regi Studi in Naples (now the Museo Archeologico Nazionale). The fresco was preceded by a series of sketches that progressively clarified the artist's ideas and which would have showed his patrons how the completed work was to appear. Unfortunately only the modelletti survive today to give an idea of the original work, the fresco being very damaged and lacking the luminous and delicate colouring that was so admired at the time of its unveiling.
ACCORDING TO ALL indications, Guillaume Apollinaire first met Giorgio de Chirico in 1912. Writing in Paris-Journal two years later, he noted: ' C'est en 1912 que j'ai eu l'occasion de dire à quelques jeunes peintres comme Chagall, comme G. de Chirico: "Allez de l'avant! vous avez un talent qui vous désigne à l'attention!'.' Arriving in Paris in July 1911, de Chirico made his artistic debut at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d'automne until the beginning of the First World War.