Art Buzz April 15, 2012: Christie’s to unveil a very rare 15th century Renaissance Jewish prayer book in New York

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Christie’s to unveil a very rare 15th century Jewish prayer book in New York

Offered at auction for the first time, the manuscript is estimated at $540,000-800,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2012. 
On April 16-17, Christie’s New York will unveil a rare and splendid example of Renaissance Judaica, an illuminated manuscript Mahzor that will be included in the May 11, 2012 Books and Manuscripts auction at Christie’s Paris. Comprising over 400 pages, this illuminated manuscript on vellum is a festival prayer book written in Hebrew and was created in Tuscany, and probably Florence, circa 1490. Offered at auction for the first time, the manuscript is estimated at $540,000-800,000 (£360,000-530,000/€400,000-600,000).
The illuminating manuscript was purchased in Frankfurt before 1908 and was subsequently owned by Edmond Bicart-Sée. It has never been publicly exhibited and has remained in the possession of his descendants in Paris for over eighty years. This Mahzor, containing prayers for the entire liturgical year, is richly highlighted in gold with renaissance motifs and contains everyday customs, rituals and practices of Jewish life including daily prayers and blessings for Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth. The striking frontispiece of the Mahzor is in the characteristic style of Giovanni di Giuliano Boccardi, known as Boccardino il vecchio (1460-1529) – ‘one of the last representatives of the golden age of Florentine Renaissance Illumination.’ The Jewish community of Florence flourished in the 15th century, their position closely linked to the fortunes of the Medici. While there are other Hebrew manuscripts illuminated by Christian Florentines, this Mahzor is the only example we know illuminated by Boccardino. The coat-of-arms on the frontispiece is azure, a rampant lion or holding a flaming chalice and sun; the lion is flanked by a crescent moon and a sun or star, having some resemblance to the coat of arms of the Ambron family. Coats of arms used by Jewish families in Italy were inventions, often using traditional Jewish symbols and often variable, making certain identification difficult. The 16th century binding of the Mahzor has a central medallion with another coat-of-arms of two affronted rampant lions flanking a palm tree, combined elements featuring in the arms of a number of families in Italy, including the Tedesco/Tedeschi and Uzielli in Tuscany.
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Art Buzz April 13, 2012: ‘Offering of the Angels: Treasures from the Uffizi Gallery,’ Florence, Italy Exhibition at Michener Art Museum in Doylestown

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EXHIBITION NEWS & REVIEWS

Angelic host of paintings from Italy bound for Doylestown display

Source: Newsworks.org, 4-13-12
uffizi gallery


Ufizi gallery art at the Michener Museum
  

Bruce Katsiff, director of the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, is pleased to be bringing a Botticelli to Bucks County with “Offering of the Angels,” a selection of paintings and tapestries from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)

The Italians are coming to Doylestown.

Masterworks of the Italian Renaissance will be on view the Michener Museum in Doylestown for a limited run.

Forty-two paintings from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence — a museum with one of the largest and finest collections of Renaissance art in the world — have been culled for a traveling show. The James A. Michener Museum is one of four institutions in America to host the show, beginning April 21.

All the paintings in “Offering of the Angels: Treasures from the Uffizi,” as well as two tapestries and an illuminated manuscript, are from the 14th through 17th centuries. They depict events in the life of Jesus Christ.

“The association between art and the religious was very much the dominant relationship,” said Michener director Bruce Katsiff. “It’s only in the 18th, 19th, 20th centuries that there’s been a division between artists and religion. So much of art has been about service to religion.”

Just two years ago, the Michener Museum expanded its gallery space to handle large, traveling shows like this one. The Uffizi exhibition allows the Michener to prove itself on the international stage.

“These paintings are the mother’s milk of art history,” said Katsiff. “To have works of this caliber — we’re just a country museum. We aspire to behave as the best institutions in the country. It’s an important moment for the Michener.”

Many of the paintings have never been to America before; some have never been shown publicly, even in Italy.

Art Buzz March 13, 2012: Uncovering Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Battle of Anghiari’ will destroy one of the great legends of Renaissance art history.

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Leonardo Da Vinci: nothing to find but disappointment

Uncovering Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Battle of Anghiari’ will destroy one of the great legends of Renaissance art history.

Source: Telegraph UK, 3-13-12

 'Proof' that long lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece lies behind Florence painting

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National Geographic Fellow Maurizio Seracini (foreground) and his team view footage captured by the endoscope behind the Vasari wall Photo: Dave Yoder
'Proof' that long lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece lies behind Florence painting

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A banner showing the painting which might be hidden Photo: DARIO THUBURN/AFP/Getty Images
 'Proof' that long lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece lies behind Florence painting

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The endoscope and sampling tool used to investigate the air gap behind the Vasari mural in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio Photo: Dave Yoder

It is one of the most influential paintings that never quite were. Commissioned for the Hall of the Five Hundred, the gigantic meeting room of Florence’s governing body in the city’s Palazzo Vecchio in 1504, Leonardo’s ‘Battle of Anghiari’ was to have been his largest painting, a vast fresco that was for centuries a watchword among artists for the portrayal of heroic muscular effort.

Depicting a battle of 1440, in which the papal forces, led by Florence, defeated those of Leonardo’s home city Milan, it centred on a murderous struggle between four horsemen for the possession of a standard. Their snorting steeds writhing and rolling as the knights grapple, the scene couldn’t be further from the transcendant serenity that characterised the National Gallery’s recent Leonardo blockbuster.

Yet it’s a work that changed the way artists approached the problems of movement and physical struggle. Or that is what we’ve been led to understand, for no one has set eyes on the painting for over 450 years.

Its great rival in this category of non-existent exemplar was commissioned to hang on the wall opposite: Michelangelo’s ‘Battle of Cascina’. This was to have been the place where the two giants, and the great artistic rivals, of that extraordinary period came face to face across the political fulcrum of the most important city of the Renaissance.

In fact, the whole thing was a fiasco from first to last. The two artists had as little to do with each other as possible. Leonardo, who had had problems with fresco – tempera on wet plaster – while working on the ‘Last Supper’, took the unprecedented step of applying oil paint directly onto the wall. A thunderstorm created excessive humidity, causing the colours to drip and merge into each other. Discouraged, he abandoned the project….READ MORE

Art Buzz March 13, 2012: Maurizio Seracini: Has Lost Leonardo Da Vinci the Battle of Anghiari Been Found? Mona Lisa Paint Found Behind Wall in Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio Lends Clue

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ART NEWS

Lost Da Vinci Found? Mona Lisa Paint Lends Clue

The search for a Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece reveals intriguing traces of paint that was also used in the Mona Lisa.

Source: Discovery News, 3-13-12

THE GIST

  • Art experts have drilled a hole through a 14th-century frescoed wall and recovered traces of a paint once used by Da Vinci in the Mona Lisa.
  • The researchers believe this may be evidence that a long lost Da Vinci masterpiece has been hidden behind the wall.
  • The work is a painting called the “Battle of Anghiari” and its recovery would be a huge discovery.
Rubens copy of Leonardo's Battle of Anghiari

Peter Paul Rubens’ copy of Leonardo’s “The Battle of Anghiari.” Click to enlarge this image.
Wikimedia Commons

Researchers struggling to solve a longstanding Leonardo da Vinci mystery — the fate of a lost masterpiece known as the “Battle of Anghiari — have found intriguing traces of paint hidden behind a 5-inch-thick frescoed wall in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s 14th-century city hall.

The color is consistent with that used by the Renaissance creator of the Mona Lisa, suggesting that Leonardo’s artwork has remained hidden behind that frescoed wall for more than 500 years.

Known as the “Battle of Marciano,” the mural was painted by the renowned 15th-century painter, architect and writer Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) in the imposing Hall of the Five Hundred. The hall was a room built at the end of the 15th century to accommodate the meetings of the Florentine Council.

PHOTOS: The Face of Da Vinci: An Enduring Mystery

Right behind that wall could lie one of the biggest discoveries in the history of art, according to art diagnostic expert Maurizio Seracini, director of the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology at the University of California, San Diego, who has been searching for the lost masterpiece since the 1970s….READ MORE