Three items of noteworthy art history news for the week:
with a new academic year upon us, what better time to discuss the merits of studying art history? Matt Lodder, an art historian at the University of Essex, asks what would one "do" with a degree in art history. His answer: anything you want. He explains:
We live in a visual world, and the ability to process, analyse and conceptualise complex primary and secondary sources into coherent narratives; to confidently and clearly synthesise and re-present ideas; to assess the quality and reliability of information; and to have a grasp of several centuries of human success and failure through the media of their artistic and cultural endeavours are increasingly invaluable.
His rationale for studying art history is brilliant. And worth sharing.
the theft of seven famous paintings from the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam last October stays in art history news due to yet another odd turn.
After the mother of the alleged mastermind, Rado Dogaru, claimed she burnt the paintings to protect her son, authorities found evidence in her stove ashes of three canvases and of nails used before the end of the 19th century. The mother has since recanted, and now Dogaru is offering five paintings in exchange for moving the trial from Romania to the Netherlands.
At the time of the theft, art experts valued the works -including those by Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Gauguin and Lucian Freud - at roughly $100 million, while prosecutors claimed a value of $42 million.
In either case, this is one of the most bizarre art heists ever.
the Getty announces that 4,600 images are now "free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose". This is the initial step in its Open Content Program, which will ultimately provide access to all public domain artworks held by the Getty. Browse here to see available artwork images.
All three paintings shown are among the seven stolen and missing.
Top left: Henri Matisse. La Liseuse en blanc et jaune.
Right: Pablo Picasso, Tete d’Arlequin.
Bottom: Paul Gauguin. Femme devant une fenetre ouverte.