RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Carlo Cesare Malvasia’s Felsina pittrice: Lives of the Bolognese Painters (PDF 845KB) 
Volume 13, Lives of Domenichino and Francesco Gessi
Critical edition by Lorenzo Pericolo; translation by Anne Summerscale; essay by Elizabeth Cropper; historical notes by Anne Summerscale, Alexandra Hoare, Lorenzo Pericolo, and Elizabeth Cropper, 2013

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This critical edition and English translation of Malvasia’s lives of Domenichino and Francesco Gessi from his Felsina pittrice offer access to the life and work of two great masters of seventeenth-century Bologna. Domenichino’s life plays a seminal role in Malvasia’s definition of the "fourth age" of painting in Italy. From the very beginning, Malvasia pits against each other Guido Reni and Domenichino, the two champions of the vanguard style that emerged from the Carracci reform of painting. If Guido becomes the idol of the Lombard and Bolognese school, "more attuned to tenderness and audacity," Domenichino embodies an ideal of perfection more in keeping with the Florentine and Roman school, "fond of finish and diligence."

Malvasia reports that he did not know Domenichino, and his reconstruction of the career of the master as he moved among Rome, Naples, and Bologna stands in stark contrast to Giovan Pietro Bellori’s more sympathetic account, published in 1672. If, to redeem the supremacy of the Bolognese school, Malvasia downplays the problem of Domenichino’s "erudition" and "fertility" of invention, he does so with hesitation and among unresolvable contradictions. His assimilation of Domenichino’s art to the Roman and Tuscan canon is, then, profoundly polemical. In this light, Malvasia’s life of Domenichino can be defined as the most tormented and ultimately unsuccessful eulogy in the Felsina pittrice: a great piece of art-historical criticism about an artist whose greatness Malvasia could not deny.

Malvasia’s assessment of the artistic personality of Francesco Gessi turns upon the painter’s rivalry with his master, Guido Reni, whose perfection in painting nevertheless remains unmatchable. In relating how Domenichino snatched away the highly talented Giovan Battista Ruggeri from his previous master, Francesco Gessi, Malvasia turns the conflicts inherent in Domenichino’s life into a generational struggle between artistic factions. In the process, Malvasia provides important biographical information about Giovan Giacomo Sementi, another of Guido’s disciples and Gessi’s lifelong rival. Copublished by the National Gallery of Art and Harvey Miller Publishers. Publication announcement (PDF 845KB)

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This year the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts welcomed fellows from Switzerland, Poland, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Vietnam, and the United States. The topics of their research ranged from oil painting as a workshop secret to Aztec-adapted catechisms, from ancient Roman painting to contemporary outsider art and modern definitions of non-art, and from thirteenth-century Roman cosmology to the revival of period styles in twentieth-century China.

Carlo Cesare Malvasia’s Felsina pittrice: Lives of the Bolognese Painters  (PDF 845KB)
Volume 1, Early Bolognese Painting
Critical edition by Lorenzo Pericolo; introduction and translation by Elizabeth Cropper; bibliographical essay by Carlo Alberto Girotto; historical notes by Elizabeth Cropper, Lorenzo Pericolo, Giancarla Periti, and Jessica Richardson, assisted by Alexandra Hoare, 2012

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Count Carlo Cesare Malvasia's Felsina pittrice, or Lives of the Bolognese Painters, first published in two volumes in Bologna in 1678, is one of the most important sources for the history and criticism of painting in Italy. This richly illustrated volume provides a translation and critical edition of the opening part of the Felsina pittrice, which focuses on the art of late medieval Bologna. The text is unusual in the context of the Felsina pittrice as a whole in that it seeks to record what survives in the city, rather than focusing on individual artists. In response to Vasari’s account of the Renaissance of painting in Florence, Malvasia offers a colorful and valuable portrait of Trecento painting in Bologna, noting the location and condition of destroyed or whitewashed frescoes, dismantled polyptychs, and paintings for which no other record survives. Malvasia provides crucial information on works by important fourteenth-century painters such as Lippo di Dalmasio, Simone dei Crocefissi, and Vitale da Bologna. Included in the volume are historical notes to the text and to the transcriptions of Malvasia’s preparatory notes, the Scritti originali, published here in their entirety for the first time. The notes enrich our understanding of individual works and identify the sources Malvasia used. Elizabeth Cropper’s introductory essay serves to establish the significance of Malvasia as a historian of art, while Carlo Alberto Girotto’s bibliographical essay analyzes the production and reception of the Felsina pittrice as a whole. Copublished by the National Gallery of Art and Harvey Miller Publishers. Publication announcement (PDF 845KB)

Rediscovering the Ancient World on the Bay of Naples, 1710–1890
Studies in the History of Art, Volume 79
Edited by Carol C. Mattusch, 2013

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In the 1730s excavations near Naples began to uncover the buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Unlike works that focus on the archaeological objects and their documentation, this volume views the discoveries from the standpoint of the immense interest they attracted in Europe and across the Atlantic in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when they were a focus of international scholarship, cultural diplomacy, and privileged tourism. Thirteen essays examine the involvement of kings, statesmen, scholars, and archaeologists in the exploitation of the ancient sites and the imaginative responses of artists, architects, designers, writers, and tourists. The lavish publications that recorded the archaeological finds and the works of art, luxury objects, and popular imagery inspired by them are extensively illustrated. Published by the National Gallery of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

Orsanmichele and the History and Preservation of the Civic Monument
Studies in the History of Art, Volume 76
Edited by Carl Brandon Strehlke, 2012

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This far-ranging collection of essays—the first book-length scholarly exploration of Orsanmichele since 1996—marks the conclusion of a decades-long campaign to restore the magnificent medieval church and its art, most notably Orsanmichele's celebrated niche sculptures. Originally commissioned by Florence's trade guilds acting in competition with one another, the sculptures represent work by some of the greatest artists of the day—including Donatello, Filippo Brunelleschi, Andrea Pisano, Nanni di Banco, Lorenzo Ghiberti, and Andrea del Verrocchio—and are among the finest examples of Renaissance art in the world.

In twenty-two original essays by leading scholars working across disciplines, Orsanmichele and the History and Preservation of the Civic Monument makes important new information about the history and restoration of the church available for the first time, and examines the monument in its broadest context as a civic and religious center from the Middle Ages to the present day, revealing the historic building's evolving role as repository of history and living institution. Published by the National Gallery of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.