Napoléon : images de transfiguration, images de « démystification »

Autour des expositions Napoléon n’est plus et Napoléon ? Encore !  Au Musée de l’Armée, Paris, 2021 A l’occasion du bicentenaire de la mort de Napoléon, à qui sont consacrées plusieurs expositions, il n’est pas inintéressant de réfléchir à son image : comment elle a été construite de son vivant puis dans le siècle qui a suivi sa…

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Contemporary stained-glass windows : the glory of Nevers

One of the most exciting contemporary achievements in the art of stained-glass can be found on the windows of the cathedral Saint Cyr et Sainte Julitte of Nevers, now a sleepy small town in the centre of France. Stained-glass is an often-neglected art form, probably because it is intimately linked to the universe of religious…

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The art of collecting art : a Keynesian “beauty contest game” ?

In his masterpiece, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), John Maynard Keynes wrote the following: “Professional investment may be likened to those newspaper competitions in which the competitors have to pick out the six prettiest faces from a hundred photographs, the prize being awarded to the competitor whose choice most nearly corresponds…

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The Countess of Castiglione and the “spirit of the selfie”

(Article in French here-below / Article en français ci-dessous) Museo del Risorgimento, Torino Are selfies an art form by themselves, part of the wider realm of photography, or a mere manifestation of narcissism and self-consciousness mostly of interest to psychoanalysis ? This question is not going to be answered here. Although a clue may be…

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The crime of Mr Adolf Loos…

…and the rebellion against the straight line Exhibition curated by Alistair Hicks, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp, 16 March – 25 May 2019 The idea of the exhibition is particularly interesting, and to some degree provocative as the title suggests. The well-know 1908 essay of Adolf Loos, “Ornament and crime”, identified simplicity, “purity”, as the key…

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Soap Bubbles, from Vanitas to Utopia

Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, Perugia, 16 March – 9 June 2019 The National Gallery of Umbria presents an original exhibition on the iconology of soap bubbles, a hitherto rather neglected topic of art history. The first meaning of the soap bubble is that of a vanitas, a symbol of the frailty of life and constant proximity…

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The face of robots

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, 2019 The ambition of the exhibition is contained in the museum’s statement: “From early mechanised human forms to today’s cutting-edge technology, this major exhibition reveals our 500-year quest to make machines human.” There is more to this than it appears: why on earth should robots be human-like, if their purpose…

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