ARTESTIAMO – seen, read, observed for you – A family … torn to pieces (and then reunited … or almost)
Photo credits: Andrea Gavinelli
The art market is constantly changing. The way of collecting has evolved in recent years, moving away from specialization towards a mixture of genres, seeking for epiphanies and “correspondences of amorous senses”.
The recently concluded Brussels Art Fair (BRAFA) 2019, fully understood this trend.
BRAFA has always been heterogeneous, with twenty different specialties, covering the most diverse areas, from archaeology to contemporary art, and without groupings in sections within the exhibition, (as at TEFAF, for example); last year already, the concept of an eclectic Wunderkammer was on display at BRAFA, thanks to the newcomer Theatrum Mundi. That idea has been the most recognizable figure of the fair this year.
In a time of rapid expansion of horizons, thanks to geographical and scientific discoveries, collecting and showing natural and artificial wonders was the aim of the Renaissance “studiolo”, as much as of the Cabinets of Curiosities, which appeared in the 16th and 17th centuries in high-class families, often a first step towards the establishment of museums.
The desire to flabbergast visitors remains, but the current push seems more to be the desire to mix, a kind of globalization, but also a claim to the right to overturn the hierarchy of classical values and question the division into genres; perhaps a refusal to accept an orderly view of the world that ultimately failed.
The response to the eclecticism of the actual taste at Brafa was to be found in many exhibits who expanded the concept of Wunderkammer proposing, possibly to interest new collectors, many curiosities with affordable prices but with refined taste, different from the contemporary artworks that usually attract the younger audience. But it also echoed in the “room of wonders” filled with the most prestigious pieces ever traded, proposed by the Royal Chamber of Art Dealers of Belgium, to celebrate 100 years since its foundation.
The other remarkable aspect of this edition was the gradual but inexorable path towards contemporary art. Contemporary art galleries, although they still did not outnumber those of ancient art, were bigger and more visible.
The president of BRAFA in recent interviews reported how difficult it is to renew and extend the offer in old masters. Quality candidates in this area appear to be numerically inferior to those of contemporary and modern art. The only exception this year was Sandro Morelli’s Gallery (Italian, based in Florence) a new entry presenting medieval art.
The report published on the website states that Morelli sold a late fifteenth-century Lombard wooden safe, whose price was around 120,000 euros. The report is an interesting read (click on the link to see it), for comparison with the performances of the other exhibitors and in general for the large number of sales occurred, many of a high quality level.
And if the past, the flabbergasting was often due to “famous Hoaxes” (fakes specially fabricated), at BRAFA they currently openly try to avoid the risk of fakes with a vetting commission of 100 experts to cover the various disciplines.
However, in only one case we saw that test results exposed (a C14 analysis to confirm the dating of a 16th century Madonna).
Can the attraction for small objects also depend on the fact that no one wants to risk large sums in assets for which there is no established way to be sure of authorship and therefore of value?
The Art Test channel on Youtube is born!
You can finally see some videos of our work, including the report that the Rai TV program “Superquark” dedicated to the discovery of the authenticity of a Caravaggio painting in collaboration with Roberta Lapucci, and the presentation “Beyond Gold. More than meets the eyes” with some of the results of the analysis of 50 paintings from the Pinacoteca di Siena which were shown at the Bozar in Brussels during the exhibition “Paintings from Siena: Ars Narrandi in Europe’s Gothic Age” (now scheduled at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen from 21 March to 17 August 2015), and which along with other 50 paintings (also belonging to the Art Gallery of Siena) are part of the database “Sotto l’oro” ( http://www.art-test.com/database-en/ )
We invite you to subscribe to our channel to keep updated on events, discoveries and presentations that we’ll publish.
Click on the image to watch the video on the analysis of the paintings of Siena!
Concluding the semester of Italian Presidency of the EU Council and the exhibition “Ars Narrandi in Euope’s Gothic Age” at the Bozar, i.e. the Centre de Beaux-Arts in Brussels, (exhibition to be hosted from March 21 to August 17, 2015 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen), a symposium entitled “Path to Europe: influences and contacts between Byzantium and the low countries” organized by BOZAR-EXPO in collaboration with the Catholic University of Louvain and the Leventis Foundation of Nicosia took place on January 18, 2015.
Paul Dujardin, artistic director of the Bozar, and Bernard Coulie, Honorary Rector and President of the Catholic University of Leuven, has welcomed speakers at this conference focusing on how the influence of Byzantine painting on Flemish art through the mediation of the Italian cities, with particular reference to the role played by Siena.
Among the speakers, Dr. Mario Scalini, one of the curators of the exhibition “Ars Narrandi in Euope’s Gothic Age”, Soprintendente BSAE of Siena and Grosseto, has held a lecture entitled “Angelicae Cohortes: notes about armored saints and angels from Byzantium to the Low countries”.
The speech of Dr. Anna Pelagotti for Art-Test, “Under the gold: a database of underdrawing and material analyses on Sienese Paintings. Connections and dissimilarities among painting techniques across centuries and countries “, addressed the close relationship between the art object and the techniques used to achieve it and introduce the database of diagnostic investigations over hundred paintings from the Pinacoteca di Siena Art-Test Florence carried out in the past few months, in collaboration with the Soprintendenza of Siena and Grosseto, designed to compare and learn about the styles and techniques of about 65 artists between the thirteenth and fifteenth century and which can now be purchased (http://www.art-test.com/database-en/) either complete or by individual images.
For program details, please visit the dedicated webpage of the Bozar at https://www.bozar.be/activity.php?id=15516&selectiondate=2015-01-18
More than 800 people took part to the inauguration of the exhibition “Painting from Siena: Ars Narrandi in Europe’s Gothic Age”, last September 9th at the Palais de Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels.
Also the President of the European Commission, Jose’ Manuel Barroso, joined the event, (and in his speech mentioned his love for Siena), together with the Italian Minister for Environment, Galletti, the Italian Ambassador in Belgium, Bastinelli, and the host, the BOZAR director Dujardin, welcoming the exposition and its curators: the Superintendent of Siena and Grosseto, Scalini, and the director of the Sienese Pinacoteca, Guiducci.
Art-Test produced a slide presentation describing some of the results of the analyses on about 50 of the paintings currently on show, which is not displayed within the exhibition. We are happy to hear that is was well received both by the public and the scholars.
The next 18th January a symposium, co-organized by BOZAR and UCL, on “Byzantium and the Flemish Art, Contact and Influence” will be held on the occasion of the exhibition. Both dr. Scalini, for MIUR, and dr. ing. Anna Pelagotti, for Art-Test will give a talk, focusing on the findings possible with the information available within the database.
To know more about Bozar: https://www.bozar.be/activity.php?id=14090&selectiondate=2014-11-06
The Superintender Scalini and the President of the European Commission at the opening.
Among the initiatives for the Italian Semester of Presidency of the European Union (1st July- 31st Dec 2014), the exhibition “Ars Narrandi in the Gothic Age of Europe” (9/11 2014 – 18/1 2015) will enchant visitors at the BOZAR (Centre for Fine Arts) of Bruxelles.
The collaboration between Pinacoteca di Siena and the Musée des Beaux-Artes di Rouen will present more than 60 artworks of Sienese painters working in XIII- XV century period.
A fascinating route through the stylistic evolution from the Byzantine stateliness to new spatial concepts, to unusual and vivid colors which influenced also other Italian and European schools when Italy and Siena in particular hosted the most daring modernity.
The exposition icon is the splendid Madonna dell’Umiltà by Giovanni di Paolo (in the picture), which together with other 30 artworks lend to the Belgian exposition belong to the group of paintings of the Pinacoteca of Siena which Art-Test analyzed and will be included in the 100 works database, already announced in one of our previous newsletter. At the Bozar visitors can also watch a presentation regarding the most interesting findings of the analysis performed by Art-Test on some of the paintings in the exhibition.
Further reading: http: