Arguably the greatest master of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt is famed for several types of works: his monumental history paintings, his self-portraits and, as beautifully exemplified by the transcendent Abraham and the Angels, his intimate biblical scenes.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.
The Dutch Golden Age was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1581 to 1672, in which Dutch trade, science, and art and the Dutch military were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first section is characterized by the Eighty Years’ War, which ended in 1648.
Ordering plants by post mostly from Italy, Germany, North Africa, and even the Cape of Good Hope, the Nuremberg merchant Volkamer was a devotee of the fragrant and exotic citrus at a time when such fruits were still largely unknown north of the Alps.
Famous First Edition: First printing of 5,000 numbered copies
Have you ever thought of citrus fruits as celestial bodies, angelically suspended in the sky? Perhaps not, but J. C. Volkamer (1644–1720) did—commissioning an extravagant and breathtaking series of large-sized copperplates representing citrons, lemons, and bitter oranges in surreal scenes of majesty and wonder.
His garden came to contain a wide variety of specimens, and he became so obsessed with the fruits that he commissioned a team of copperplate engravers to create 256 plates of 170 varieties of citrus fruits, many depicted life size, published in a two-volume work.
In both volumes, Volkamer draws on years of hands-on experience to present a far-reaching account of citrus fruits and how to tend them—from a meticulous walk-through of how to construct temporary orangeries, glasshouses, and hothouses for growing pineapples to commentary on each fruit variety, including its size, shape, color, scent, tree or shrub, leaves, and country of origin.
In each plate, Volkamer pays tribute to the verdant landscapes of Northern Italy, his native Nuremberg, and other sites that captured his imagination. From Genovese sea views to the Schönbrunn Palace, each locale is depicted in the same exceptionaldetail as the fruit that overhangs it. We witness branches heavy with grapefruits arching across a sun-bathed yard in Bologna and marvel at a huge pineapple plant sprouting from a South American town. The result is at once a fantastical line-up of botanical beauty and a highly poetic tour through the lush gardens and places where these fruits grew.
Few colored sets of Volkamer’s work are still in existence today. This publication draws on the two recently discovered hand-colored volumes in the city of Fürth’s municipal archive in Schloss Burgfarrnbach. The reprint also includes 56 newly discovered illustrations that Volkamer intended to present in a third volume.
Iris Lauterbachstudied art history and romance languages and literature in Mainz, Pavia and Paris and obtained her doctorate in 1985. Since 1991 she has been a member of the research department of the Central Institute for Art History in Munich and teaches the history of garden architecture at the Technical University in Munich. Her main areas of research include France during the 18th century and the history of European garden art from the 16th to the 20th century, while she has also carried out extensive research about the restitution of artworks that were looted during the Second World War.
Palazzo Barberini is an imposing Baroque building that houses the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, the National Gallery of Ancient Art. Commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, the mansion was the most elegant and luxurious villa of the period.
In 1623, Maffeo Barberini, once made Pope (Pope Urban VIII), ordered the construction of the estate to Italian architect Carlo Maderno, who is responsible for the design of St Peter’s Basilica’s façade. The construction started in 1625 and was finished in 1633 by Bernini, after Maderno’s death.
In 1949, the Italian State bought the palazzo to house the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, which was created from the donations of pieces of art by several noble Italian families.
In this week’s episode of “Cocktails with a Curator,” delve into the life and times of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, one of the most celebrated painters of seventeenth-century Spain. Look closely at his self-portrait for clues about the Seville-born artist—a trompe l’oeil stone frame points to his fascination with the antiquities excavated in his hometown, and the sitter seems to be looking forward, into the future, after surviving a traumatic period when Seville was ravaged by plague. Acquired by Henry Clay Frick in 1904, the painting stayed with the family until 2014, when it was gifted to the museum by Dr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Frick II. This week’s complementary cocktail, the Rebujito, conjures the warm spring days of Seville’s Feria de Abril (April Fair) and goes well with Thanksgiving leftovers.
Hear the voice of Downton Abbey star Jim Carter bring to life David Teniers’ monumental depiction of a 17th-century wine harvest. Immerse yourself in Teniers’ unrivalled talent for storytelling as we see grape harvesters unloading their bounty, coopers fixing up wine barrels, a wine merchant sealing a deal, and worse for wear villagers raising their glasses to the temple of Bacchus. Unseen in over a century, ‘The Wine Harvest’ is the finest work by Teniers to come to market in living memory.
David Teniers the Younger or David Teniers II was a Flemish Baroque painter, printmaker, draughtsman, miniaturist painter, staffage painter, copyist and art curator. He was an extremely versatile artist known for his prolific output.
In the era of social distancing, Italians in Florence have revived the custom of serving wine through pint-size windows in centuries-old buildings.
Year 2020: The covid-19 pandemic arrives. Italy is under lockdown starting March 8th. Everyone is confined to home for two months and then the government permits a gradual reopening. During this time, some enterprising Florentine Wine Window owners have turned back the clock and are using their Wine Windows to dispense glasses of wine, cups of coffee, drinks, sandwiches and ice cream—all germ-free, contactless!
Year 1634: The Black Death or Plague has passed through the city of Florence, leaving death and havoc in its wake. The Florentine scholar, Francesco Rondinelli, writes a report about disease contagion and describes the use of the abundant Wine Windows in the city for the safe sale of wine, without direct contact between client and seller. Diletta Corsini describes this important document regarding Wine Windows and their uses almost 400 years ago.
The concept of kolonihave, a blissful combination of an allotment and a summer house, has shaped Danish cities since the late 17th century. Today, avid growers convene in these colonies to find a peaceful place to commune with nature as well as a community of diverse characters.
Hosted in the Andito degli Angiolini space at Palazzo Pitti, “The Immensity of the Universe in the Art of Giovanna Garzoni” exhibition encompasses 100 floral compositions, still lives and miniatures by the Baroque, Marche-born painter friend of Artemisia Gentileschi.
The show has been curated by Sheila Barker of The Medici Archive Project and the Advancing Women Artists foundation is running a challenge to inspire the creation of contemporary art based on Garzoni’s oeuvre. While her role in the evolution of scientific illustration is widely acknowledged, Giovanna Garzoni is less familiar as an illustrator of geographical fantasy in the age of the Baroque.
In harmonic and often relatively small compositions, the painter combines exotic objects of extremely varied provenance such as Chinese porcelain, Pacific nautili, Mexican marrows and flowers, South American plants and English lapdogs, in an effort both to astonish and to amuse.
Turning her back on the conventional role reserved for women in her day, Garzoni travelled in Italy, and possibly also in France, gaining access to the most important collections of curios of her era. The exhibition showcases her works collected by the Medici and still owned by the Gallerie degli Uffizi, alongside targeted loans illustrating the artist’s field of action and her prowess as a portraitist.
On the basis of a previously untapped inventory, a section of the exhibition reconstructs Vittoria della Rovere’s Wunderkammer, once hosted in the Sala dell’Aurora in the villa of Poggio Imperiale, thus indirectly shedding light also on a leading member of the grand ducal family.
Peter Paul Rubens was among the most influential artists in 17th-century Europe. Despite a childhood marred by a scandal that landed his father in prison, Rubens rose to become not only a prominent court painter in the Spanish Netherlands but also a lauded diplomat who worked across Western Europe.
With countless biographies written about the artist and exhibitions of his work continuing into the present day, the legacy of this Flemish Baroque artist is hard to overstate.
In this episode, Getty curator Anne Woollett discusses the life of Rubens through 17th-century biographies by three authors: Giovanni Baglione, Joachim von Sandrart, and Roger de Piles.
Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish artist and diplomat. He is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens’s highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history.
Octavian Report “Rostrum” spoke with him about a major theme in Shakespeare’s work and life: disease. Specifically, pandemic plagues, which ravaged London repeatedly throughout Shakespeare’s career, shuttering the theaters, and which appear (obliquely and otherwise) in some of his greatest plays.
The latest episode of the Rostrum’s coronavirus series features James Shapiro, the Larry Miller professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, and a leading expert on Shakespeare. Shapiro has published widely on this subject, most recently Shakespeare in a Divided America. He is also an advisor to the Royal Shakespeare Company and to the Public Theater.
James S. Shapiro (born 1955) is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University who specialises in Shakespeare and the Early Modern period. Shapiro has served on the faculty at Columbia University since 1985, teaching Shakespeare and other topics, and he has published widely on Shakespeare and Elizabethan culture.