Thursday, April 28, 2011

YCBA Visiting Scholar Award

I'm a regular visitor to the Yale Center for British Art, and I haven't had a chance to report until now on some exciting news about them and me. Stay tuned for that below. Yesterday afternoon I took a train ride up to New Haven, CT with Peter Trippi (editor of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine and co-curator of the recent John William Waterhouse exhibition). We were on our way to the YCBA to hear Elizabeth Prettejohn give the last of a series of public lectures on Victorian art that she had been doing all month. I had hoped to attend more of them, but I was actually in Europe at the time. Regular bklynbiblio readers know that Prettejohn's name makes appearances here from time to time. I admit it: I'm a fan. In her talk she focused on the idea of Giorgione (ca. 1477/8-1510), specifically how his work was an influence on Victorian painters such as Edward Burne-Jones and art critics such as Walter Pater. Almost no works are safely attributed to Giorgione. For instance, the ca. 1509 work above, Le Concert champĂȘtre (MusĂ©e du Louvre), was attributed to Giorgione but it is now said to have been by Titian. Even in the 19th-century very few works were definitively attributed to Giorgione. Prettejohn argued that this obfuscation charmed Aesthetic painters into borrowing on his Venetian style so as to create pictures about beauty without subject or moral virtue. The talk was interesting, and there was a wine reception afterwards, with opportunities for networking. I was invited to join a group for dinner as well, which was very generous of them. I always find myself feeling a bit self-conscious interacting with all the bigwigs of Victorian art criticism (including Tim Barringer, Martina Droth, and Jason Rosenfeld), but it was a pleasant evening overall and well worth the trip. By the time I got the train and subway home, it was after 1am.

Now for the news. I've been selected to participate in a 1-week seminar that will be taught by Martina Droth (Head of Research and Curator of Sculpture, YCBA) and Mark Hallett (Prof. of the History of Art, York University) at YCBA this June. The topic of the seminar is "The Artist's Studio in Britain, 1700-1900" and will be of great use to me in my dissertation research on the sculptor John Gibson. But the even BIGGER news is that the YCBA also has awarded me a 1-month Visiting Scholar Award. Much like the fellowship I received to the Henry Moore Institute last year, this award will provide me with housing, a per diem stipend, research facilities, and access to their fantastic collection and all the Yale University Libraries. I'll be there from November to December. I'm really looking forward to it.

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