17th-century painting found again after 200 years


This 24 August 2016 Dutch video shows how five seventeenth century paintings, depicting local militia officers of Delft city, are brought together for the first time in over 200 years for an exhibition in the Prinsenhof museum in Delft, which will open to the public on Friday 26 August 2016.

Until recently, one of these five paintings was missing. It was the 1648 portrait by Jacob Delff II of the officers Willem Reyersz de Langue and Daniel Fransz van der Brugge. That work of art had disappeared at the end of the eighteenth century.

After more than 200 years, last year it suddenly turned up at an auction in Paris. The Prinsenhof museum was able to buy it. Then, they restored it.

This 24 August 2016 Dutch video shows the restoration of Jacob Delff II’s painting at the Prinsenhof museum.

This video shows that restoration as well.

British art on the ‘war on terror’


This video from Britain says about itself:

3 March 2013

Step behind the scenes and get a glimpse of the thinking motivating the digital world’s greatest artists, filmmakers, thinkers and doers with the Lighthouse Monthly Talks. Award winning artist, Edmund Clark, was our November 2012 speaker.

As part of our Brighton Photo Biennial 2012, we were extremely pleased to have BPB12 artist and 2012 Prix Pictet nominee, Edmund Clark speaking at Lighthouse. Clark discussed his practice, which explored modes of control, living under conditions of surveillance, censorship and representation. His latest work experiments with how multidisciplinary collaboration and new technology can further address these themes. Clark’s exhibition, Control Order House is on at the University of Brighton Gallery.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

An atrocity exhibition

Saturday 20th August 2016

A new show at the Imperial War Museum is a grim reminder of the consequences for those perceived to be a terrorist threat by increasingly authoritarian states

LONDON’S Imperial War Museum has an outstanding track record in staging hard-hitting exhibitions, with Peter Kennard’s photo-montages and Edward Barber’s documentary photographs being two very recent examples.

Added to the roster is this disturbing new show of work by award-winning artist Edmund Clark. War of Terror, which runs until August next year, focuses on the measures states take to counter perceived terrorist threats and the malign impact they have on all our lives and explores the experience of people in Britain suspected — but never convicted — of terrorist-related offences in the interminable “war on terror.”

Clark says: “A vital challenge for today’s visual artists and photographers is how to explore new and unseen processes of contemporary conflict.

“My work engages with state censorship and control to find new visual strategies to try and achieve this and to reconfigure subjects we normally see as distant or threatening stereotypes on our screens.”

His personal contribution to the debate around those issues is a series of photographs, film and documents, some never previously exhibited.

They explore hidden experiences of state control and address the issues of security, secrecy, legality and ethics which they raise.

Clark’s most recent work Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition, created in collaboration with counter-terrorism investigator Crofton Black, explores the experiences of those secretly detained and transferred without legal process to US custody for further detention and interrogation.

Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out offers an uneasy contrast between living spaces at Guantanamo and the homes of former British detainees who were released without charge, while Letters to Omar features reproductions of censored correspondence sent to Omar Deghayes, a British detainee at Guantanamo, and later made available to Clark.

Cards and letters sent to him by people from around the world, most of them strangers, were scanned and redacted by military censors.

When and in what form Deghayes received the correspondence was part of the control exercised over him. Created by the bureaucratic processes of Guantanamo, these fragmentary reproductions added to his sense of paranoia.

Equally disturbing is the installation Control Order House. In December 2011 and January 2012, Clark was given exclusive access to a suburban house in England in which a British man suspected of involvement in terrorist-related activity was living under the terms of a Home Office enforced control order — a form of detention without trial based on secret evidence.

The installation contains nearly 500 photographs of the house in the order in which he took them. Two video sequences, on display for the first time, convey the tension, claustrophobia and monotony of a controlled person’s life, while documents, architectural plans and photographs reveal further details of life under a control order.

As an exhibition exploring the complexities of modern asymmetric warfare and its implications for human rights, this is a must-see.

The exhibition is free and runs until August 28 2017, opening times: iwm.org.uk.

Feminist Sylvia Pankhurst’s statue in London


This 2012 video from Britain is called Mark Steel on Sylvia Pankhurst.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Heroine given pride of place

Saturday 20th August 2016

THE Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Committee joined the Marx Memorial Library (MML) on Thursday to unveil the maquette of Ian Walters’s statue of Sylvia Pankhurst in the library’s reading room.

The memorial committee is currently campaigning to find the full-size statue a permanent home on Clerkenwell Green. Committee member Professor Mary Davis underlined the importance of Ms Pankhurst in feminist and labour movement history.

MML archivist Meirian Jump said that the library was in full support of campaign and hoped that the statue on the Green would underline Clerkenwell’s radical history.

Visitors to the MML can see the maquette in the reading room during opening hours and at twice weekly guided tours Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1pm. More on the campaign can be found at:

www.sylviapankhurst.gn.apc.org/ and information on the library: www.marx-memorial-library.org.uk/.

Refugee Olympic athletes honoured with mural


This video from Brazil says about itself:

Rio 2016: Refugee athletes honoured with mural

17 August 2016

Refugees competing at the Olympic Games have been honoured with a gigantic mural on Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Boulevard.

Two street artists painted the 10 athletes in the refugee team. This is the first time a refugee team has been represented at the Games.

This video from Brazil says about itself:

Refugees living in Brazil cheer fellow refugees in Olympics

14 August 2016

Several members of the Congolese refugee community in Rio gathered to watch their compatriots compete in the Olympics as part of the first ever refugee team to take part in the games. The fans watched Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika in jubilation as they competed in judo. The refugees community broke into song and dance as their compatriots took to the stage.

Ancient Mexican manuscript, new research


This video says about itself:

Lord KingsboroughThe Antiquities of Mexico Volume III – Updated

Antiquities of Mexico: comprising fac-similes of Ancient Mexican Paintings and Hierogliphics, preserved in the Royal Libraries of Paris, Berlin and Dresden; in the Imperial Library of Vienna; in the Vatican Library; in the Borgian Museum at Rome; in the Library of the Institute al Bologna, and in the Bodleian Library at Oxford; together with the Monuments of New Spain by M. Dupaix; the whole illustrated with many valuables inedit Manuscripts by Lord Kingsborough; the drawings on stone by A. Aglio

Vol. I. Copy of the Collection of Mendoza, preserved in the Selden Collection of Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford (73 pág.); Copy of the Codex Telleriano-Remensis, preserved in the Royal Library at Paris (93 pág.); Fac-simile of the original Mexican Hieroglyphic Painting, from the Collection of Boturini (23 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting in the Collection of Sir Thomas Bodley in the Bodleian Library at Oxford (40 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Hieroglyphic Painting, preserved in the Selden Collection of Manuscripsts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

Vol. II. Copy of a Mexican Manuscripts, preserved in the Library of the Vatican (149 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican painting given to the University of Oxford by Archbishop Laud, and preserved in the Bodleian Library (46 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting, preserved in the Library of the Institute at Bologna (24 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting, preserved in the Imperial Library at Vienna (66 pág.); Fac-similes of original Mexican Paintings deposited in the Royal Library at Berlin by the Baron de Humboldt, and of Mexican Bas-relief preserved in the Royal Cabinet of Antiques.

Vol. III. Fac-simile of an original Mexican painting, preserved in the Borgian Museums, at College of Propaganda in Rome (76 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting, preserved in the Royal Library at Dresden (74 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting in the possession of M. de Fejérváry, at Pess in Hungary (44 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting, preserved in the Library of the Vatican (96 pág.).

Vol. IV. Monuments of New Spain by M. Dupaix, from the original drawings executed by order of the King of Spain Specimens of Mexican Sculpture, in the possession of M. Latour Allard in Paris; Specimens of Mexican preserved in the British Museum; Plates copied from the Giro del Mondo of Gemelli Careri: with an engraving of a Mexican Cycle, from a painting formerly in the possession of Boturini; Specimen of Peruvian Quipis, with plates representing a carved Peruvian box containing a collection of supposed Peruvian Quipus.

Vol. V. Extrait de l’ouvrage de M. de Humboldt sur Les Monuments de l’Amerique; Esplicación [sic.] de la Colección de Mendoza; Explicación del Codez Telleriano-Remensis; Codice Mexicano che si conserva nella Biblioteca Vaticana; Viages [sic.] de Guillermo Dupaix sobre Antigüedades Mexicanas; Libro sexto de la Retórica y Filosofía Moral y Teológica de la gente mexicana donde hay cosas muy curiosas tocantes a los primores de la lengua y cosas muy delicadas tocantes a las virtudes morales / por…Bernardino de Sahagún.

Vol. VI. Historia Universal de las cosas de la Nueva España / por…Bernardino de Sahagún. — Vol.VII. Appendix: the interpretatione of the Hieroglyphical Paintings of the Collection of Mendoza; The explanation of the Hieroglyphical Paintings of the Codex Telleriano-Remensis; The traslation of the explanation of the Mexican Paintings of the Codex Vaticanus; The monuments of the New Spain by M. Dupaix

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

High-tech imaging reveals rare precolonial Mexican manuscript hidden from view for 500 years

Published on 16 August 2016

Researchers from the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries and from universities in the Netherlands have used high-tech imaging to uncover the details of a rare Mexican codex dating from before the colonisation of America.

The newly-revealed codex, or book, has been hidden from view for almost 500 years, concealed beneath a layer of plaster and chalk on the back of a later manuscript known as the Codex Selden, which is housed at the Bodleian Libraries. Scientists have used hyperspectral imaging to reveal pictographic scenes from this remarkable document and have published their findings in the Journal of Archaeology: Reports.

Ancient Mexican codices are some of the most important artefacts of early Mexican culture and they are particularly rare. Codex Selden, also known as Codex Añute, dates from around 1560 and is one of less than 20 known Mexican codices to have survived the colonisation of America. Of those, it is one of only five surviving manuscripts from the Mixtec area, now known as Oaxaca in Mexico. These codices use a complex system of pictures, symbols and bright colours to narrate centuries of conquering dynasties and genealogies as well as wars and the history of ancient cities. In essence these codices provide the best insight into the history and culture of early Mexico.

Since the 1950s, scholars have suspected that Codex Selden is a palimpsest: an older document that has been covered up and reused to make the manuscript that is currently visible. Codex Selden consists of a 5-metre-long strip of deer hide that has been covered with white plaster made from gypsum and chalk, and folded in a concertina format into a 20-page document. The manuscript underwent a series of invasive tests in the 1950s when one page was scraped, uncovering a vague image that hinted at the possibility that an earlier Mexican codex is hidden beneath.

Until now, no other technique has been able to unveil the concealed narrative in a non-invasive way. The organic paint that was used to create the vibrant images on early Mexican codices does not absorb x-rays, which rules out x-ray analysis that is commonly used to study later works of art.

‘After 4 or 5 years of trying different techniques, we’ve been able to reveal an abundance of images without damaging this extremely vulnerable item. We can confirm that Codex Selden is indeed a palimpsest,’ said Ludo Snijders from Leiden University, who conducted the research with David Howell from the Bodleian Libraries and Tim Zaman from the University of Delft. This is the first time an early Mexican codex has been proven to be a palimpsest.

‘What’s interesting is that the text we’ve found doesn’t match that of other early Mixtec manuscripts. The genealogy we see appears to be unique, which means it may prove invaluable for the interpretation of archaeological remains from southern Mexico,’ Snjiders said.

Some pages feature more than 20 characters sitting or standing in the same direction. Similar scenes have been found on other Mixtec manuscripts, representing a King and his council. But the analysis of this particular text shows that the characters are both male and female, raising interesting questions about what the scene represents.

The imaging has also revealed a prominent individual who appears repeatedly on the document and is represented by a large glyph consisting of a twisted chord and a flint knife. The name seems to resemble a character found in other Mexican codices: the Codex Bodley (in the Bodleian’s collection) and Codex Zouche-Nuttall (in the British Museum).That character is an important ancestor of two lineages connected to the important archaeological sites of Zaachila and Teozacualco in Mexico. However, further analysis is needed to confirm that it is the same individual.

The researchers analysed seven pages of the codex for this study and revealed other images including people walking with sticks and spears, women with red hair or headdresses and place signs containing the glyphs for rivers. They are continuing to scan the remainder of the document with the aim of reconstructing the entire hidden imagery, allowing the text to be interpreted more fully.

‘Hyperspectral imaging has shown great promise in helping us to begin to reconstruct the story of the hidden codex and ultimately to recover new information about Mixtec history and archaeology,’ said David Howell, Head of Heritage Science at the Bodleian Libraries. ‘This is very much a new technique, and we’ve learned valuable lessons about how to use hyperspectral imaging in the future both for this very fragile manuscript and for countless others like it.’

Painter Hieronymus Bosch’s fantastic animals


Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch, detail

This photo shows a detail of the painting The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch.

As I blogged before, on 8 July 2016 we were in the natural history museum in Tilburg, the Netherlands, for the exhibition about animals in the paintings by Hieronymus Bosch.

Many animals in Bosch’ age were used as symbols, eg of sinful or good human qualities: eg, peacocks for vanity. The catalogue of the exhibition says that many of these late medieval-early Renaissance symbolic meanings have become lost and are unclear now. We don’t know whether Bosch interpreted animals as symbols 100% like some contemporaries did. There are doves in Bosch’ paintings. Symbols of peace? Or symbols of prostitution, which they also used to be sometimes? We cannot be sure.

There are four types of animals in Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings. First, autochthonous west European animals which Bosch knew well. Like little owls: in The Garden of Earthly Delights, in The Wayfarer, and in St. Jerome at Prayer.

Or like the great tit in The Wayfarer.

Or like the magpie in The Wayfarer. According to the exhibition organisation, the magpie used to be a symbol of a soul liberated from sin. Also to Bosch? We cannot be completely sure.

The second category in Bosch’s work are exotic animals new for west Europeans; like giraffes. In his The Garden of Earthly Delights, in its left panel, Bosch depicted a giraffe. He very probably never had seen a living giraffe. The animal looks much like a picture from a book by fifteenth century Italian humanist Cyriacus of Ancona.

Cyriacus, according to a biography:

was not a religious man – not in the manner of most of his contemporaries.

Cyriacus’ ideas about science were at variance with Catholic Church doctrine. Much of his work got lost. That Bosch knew it and referred to it may be another sign of him being critical of religious (and secular) authority, besides other signs of that in his art.

Camel, by Hieronymus Bosch

Camels were then also considered exotic, like this one in the Garden of Earthly Delights.

In Bosch’s work there are also two kinds of fantasy animals. Animals which traditionally were supposed to exist, like unicorns and griffons. And animals which were products of Bosch’s own imagination; often half one animal species, half another animal species or object. Like the half spoonbill half ship in the Triptych of the Temptation of St. Anthony. In this blog post we will now discuss mainly the last two categories, especially in the Garden of Earthly Delights.

Unicorn and birds

This detail of the painting shows, eg, a unicorn; a bird with three heads; a bird with an arrow-like tongue and a bird vaguely looking like a hummingbird.

The Tilburg exhibition also includes work by twenty-first century artists like Neige, inspired by Bosch’s fantasy animals.

Bird by Hieronymus Bosch

Here are two other birds in which Bosch used his imagination. One standing; one drinking.

Bird drinking, by Hieronymus Bosch

Birds by Hieronymus Bosch

And many more birds here; some may be real, some imaginary.

Griffon and deer by Hieronymus Bosch

In this detail are people riding not only on a horse, but also on a wild boar, on a deer with a surrealist kind of antlers, and on a griffon.

Griffon and deer and wild boar, by Hieronymus Bosch