The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris


In 1889, Paris hosted the most celebrated Exposition Universelle. We have just acquired a very rare painting showing an almost finished Eiffel tower, the dome of Les Invalides, the now destroyed Pavillons of the Exposition Universelle, and the surrounding countryside. It is a very interesting document of the time painted in a magnificent impressionist style by Emile Barau, a pupil of Jean-Léon Gérôme.

A scandalous yellow bottom: an omage to Caravaggio?


In 1601 Caravaggio puts an enormous yellow bottom on center stage in his Crucifixion of St. Peter in the Cerasi chappel of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, a revolutionary and scandalous perspective that challenged the artistic Staus Quo of the time. We have discovered a little sketch (oil on canvas, 23x29 cm) that we attribute to Giovanni Gioseffo dal Sole (1655-1719) representing Christ crucifixion with the Virgin Mary, St. John and Mary Magdalene. A very popular subject painted a million times during centuries of Christian art. Nevertheless, this painting is unique in the way it depicts Mary Magdalen kneeling in front and not behind or on the side of the cross, as usual. The Magdalene is pictured in a position very similar to the one of the man lifting St. Peter cross in Caravaggio's painting. As a result, the Magdalene ostentatiously shows her bottom to the viewer. To make it worse, her vest marks the contour of the buttocks and the yellow color highlights and brings Magdalene's bottom closer to the eye of the viewer as in Caravaggio's painting. G.G. dal Sole worked in Rome, in Lorenzo Pasinelli's studio, from 1672 and likely saw Caravaggio's work. Probably influenced by Caravaggio's Crucifixion of St. Peter, G.G. dal Sole dared even more by putting a female bottom on center stage. This painting could be a station of the cross or a preparatory sketch for a larger version (which I wonder if it has ever been painted...). This canvas is currently under study at RCgallery. Please let us know if you know a similar iconography of Mary Magdalene.

A voyage from Florence to Rome.


An album of 31 drawings, now in the Getty collection, records Giulio Parigi's journey from Florence to Rome in 1616.

Can Guercino become Batoni?


Guercino on the left and Pompeo Batoni on the right? It is actually the same painting before and after restoration. It is a copy of the Ecce Homo by Guercino in the Galleria Corsini in Rome. Before being retsored, the painting fooled quite a few experts on Emilian Baroque art who thought it could be by Guercino or by his school. Restoration revealed a 18th century painting, now attributed to Pompeo Batoni. Which one do you prefer?

Giulio Parigi at the Library of Congress

Giulio Parigi

The Library of Congress (Washington, DC, USA) has digitalized the "Sketchbook on military art, including geometry, fortifications, artillery, mechanics, and pyrotechnics" (from the Lessing J. Rosenwald collection). Written between 1592 and 1608, the sketchbook is probably by the hand of Giulio Parigi (Florence 1571-1631) and it represents a unique insight into his mathematical and artistic skills. Remarkably, it marks the birth of the practical use of the matrix analysis of risks in the management of systems.