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Arts, Volume 10, Issue 3 (September 2021) – 28 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This article brings to light a painted altarpiece from the church of San Francesco delle Scale in Ancona, which had been considered lost since the 18th century and was only known from written sources. From a series of surviving contracts, it appears that the altarpiece was commissioned in 1490 by the nobleman Francesco Scottivoli from Ancona and was executed in 1508 by a painter of Greek origin residing in the city. Based on the discovery of unpublished archival and visual material and the re-evaluation of previously published sources, this article aims to rediscover the long-missing Scottivoli altarpiece and determine the identity of its heretofore unknown creator. View this paper
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Article
Remembering Thomas Becket in Saint-Lô
Arts 2021, 10(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030067 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1173
Abstract
France numbered second only to England in its veneration of the martyred archbishop of Canterbury. Nowhere in France was that veneration more widespread than Normandy, where churches and chapels devoted to Saint Thomas, many embellished with sculptures, paintings, and stained-glass windows, appeared throughout [...] Read more.
France numbered second only to England in its veneration of the martyred archbishop of Canterbury. Nowhere in France was that veneration more widespread than Normandy, where churches and chapels devoted to Saint Thomas, many embellished with sculptures, paintings, and stained-glass windows, appeared throughout the Middle Ages. A nineteenth-century resurgence of interest in the martyred archbishop of Canterbury gave rise to a new wave of artistic production dedicated to him. A number of these modern commissions appear in the same sites and thus in direct visual dialogue with their medieval counterparts. This essay examines the long legacy of artistic dedications to Saint-Thomas in the town of Saint-Lô. It considers the medieval and modern contexts underpinning the creation of these works and what they reveal about Thomas Becket’s enduring import across nine centuries of Saint-Lô’s history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue St. Thomas Becket in Art: Image, Patronage and Propaganda)
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Article
Cutting Edges: Professional Hierarchy vs. Creative Identity in Nicolas de Launay’s Fine Art Prints
Arts 2021, 10(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030066 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1089
Abstract
In 1783, Nicolas De Launay copied Les Baignets by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, stating it was made “by his very humble and very obedient servant”, an evidence of the hierarchical tensions between painters and printmakers during the eighteenth-century. However, De Launay’s loyalty is not absolute, [...] Read more.
In 1783, Nicolas De Launay copied Les Baignets by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, stating it was made “by his very humble and very obedient servant”, an evidence of the hierarchical tensions between painters and printmakers during the eighteenth-century. However, De Launay’s loyalty is not absolute, since a critical artistic statement is found at the edge: an illusory oval frame heavily adorned with leaves and fruits of Squash, Hazelnuts, and Oak. This paper wishes to acknowledge this meticulously engraved frame, and many more added to copies throughout De Launay’s successful career, as highly relevant in examining his ‘obedience’ and ‘humbleness’. With regard to eighteenth-century writings on botany and authenticity, and to current studies on the print market, I offer a new perspective in which engravers are appreciated as active commercial artists establishing an individual signature style. In their conceptual and physical marginality these decorations allow creative freedom which challenges concepts of art appropriation and reproduction, highly relevant then and today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Marketing in the Works of the Artists)
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Article
A Hundred Years of Yiddish Song Mobility
Arts 2021, 10(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030065 - 10 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1017
Abstract
The article surveys continuities in the Yiddish song world from 1920–2020 despite the radical disjunctures of eastern European Ashkenazic Jewish life, profiling singers born nearly 100 years apart. The approach is synchronic, a useful method for music and mobility studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migratory Musics)
Article
Innovative Carpentry and Hybrid Joints in Contemporary Wooden Architecture
Arts 2021, 10(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030064 - 07 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1407
Abstract
Timber frame structures have a long and rich tradition. In addition to their functional and structural value, they are important elements of the cultural landscape. At the turn of the 21st century, concern for nature, resulting from the threat of environmental degradation, contributed [...] Read more.
Timber frame structures have a long and rich tradition. In addition to their functional and structural value, they are important elements of the cultural landscape. At the turn of the 21st century, concern for nature, resulting from the threat of environmental degradation, contributed to a growing interest in wooden constructions. For these reasons, we have observed the erection of buildings with wooden frame structures in many countries around the world. This trend contributed to the rapid development of wooden structures, new technologies, and innovative architectural solutions. The conducted research mainly focused on the joints used in their construction, as well as their perception. From among many examples, some original and innovative solutions were selected and analyzed. Their creators are famous architects: Renzo Piano, Imre Makovecz, Jürgen Meyer, Kengo Kuma, and Shigeru Ban. The objects presented in this article are distinguished by the originality of their form and by the fact that they are clearly inspired by vernacular architecture. Crucial elements of these objects, such as wooden, steel, and hybrid connections, are analyzed in this article. Because they are intentionally exposed, they play an important aesthetic role in addition to a structural one. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A 10-Year Journey of Arts)
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Article
The Last Mosque in Tel Aviv, and Other Stories of Disjuncture
Arts 2021, 10(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030063 - 31 Aug 2021
Viewed by 838
Abstract
Ruins serve as a poignant reminder of loss and destruction. Yet, ruins are not always physical, and they are not always best understood through visual language—the sense memory of loss extends for displaced people far beyond crumbling monuments. Exploring the sonic element of [...] Read more.
Ruins serve as a poignant reminder of loss and destruction. Yet, ruins are not always physical, and they are not always best understood through visual language—the sense memory of loss extends for displaced people far beyond crumbling monuments. Exploring the sonic element of loss and displacement is key to understanding the way people relate to the spaces they have to leave. This article explores the particular disjuncture of staging and commemorating Arabness in Tel Aviv, the “Hebrew City.” The disjuncture of being Arab in Tel Aviv is apparent to any visitor who walks down the beach promenade, and this article examines the main sites of Arab contestation on the border with Jaffa. Most apparent to a visitor is the Hassan Bek Mosque, the most visible Islamic symbol in Tel Aviv; I describe the process of gaining admission as a non-Muslim, and of discussing the painful and indelible memory of 1948 with worshipers. Delving deeper into the affective staging of ruin, I trace Umm Kulthum’s famous concert in Jaffa (officially Palestine at the time), and examine the way her imprint has moved across the troubled urban border of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. A ruins-based analysis of the urban sites of disjuncture in Tel Aviv, therefore, offers a glimpse into underground sonic subcultures that hide in plain sight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migratory Musics)
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Article
Visualizing Superman: Artistic Strategizing in Early Representations of the Archetypal Man in Comic Books
Arts 2021, 10(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030062 - 31 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1264
Abstract
In 1933, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two Jewish teenagers from Ohio, fashioned an ideal personality called Superman and a narrative of his marvelous deeds. Little did they suspect that several years after conceptualizing the figure and their many vain attempts to sell [...] Read more.
In 1933, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two Jewish teenagers from Ohio, fashioned an ideal personality called Superman and a narrative of his marvelous deeds. Little did they suspect that several years after conceptualizing the figure and their many vain attempts to sell the story to various comic book publishers, their creation would give rise to the iconic genre of comic book superheroes. There is no doubt that the Superman character and the accompanying narrative led to Siegel and Shuster, the writer and artist, respectively, becoming famous. However, was it only the appealing character and compelling narrative that accounted for the story’s enormous popularity, which turned its creators into such a celebrated pair, or did the visual design play a major part in that phenomenal success? Recent years have seen a burgeoning interest in the comic book medium in several disciplines, including history, philosophy, and literature. However, little has been written about its visual aspect, and comic book art has not yet been accorded much recognition among art historians. Since the integration of storyline and art is what allow the comic book medium to be unique and interesting, I contend that there should be a focus on the art as well as on the narrative of works in comic books. In the present study, I explore the significance of the visual image in the prototype of the Superman figure that Siegel and Schuster sold to DC Comics and its first appearance in the series American Comic Books. I argue that although the popularity of Superman’s first appearance was due to the conceptual ideals that the character embodied, the visual design of the ideal man was also an essential factor in its success. Accordingly, through a discussion of the first published Superman storyline, I emphasize the artistic-visual value of the figure of this protagonist in particular and the comic book medium in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Marketing in the Works of the Artists)
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Article
Facing the Pandemic: A Perspective on Patachitra Artists of West Bengal
Arts 2021, 10(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030061 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 946
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensely impacted art production and the art market all around the world. This is dramatically visible inside the Patua or Patachitra communities in Medinipur, West Bengal, where Patachitras’ scrolls characterise the economy of folk-art communities in the so-called villages [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensely impacted art production and the art market all around the world. This is dramatically visible inside the Patua or Patachitra communities in Medinipur, West Bengal, where Patachitras’ scrolls characterise the economy of folk-art communities in the so-called villages of painters. Patachitras’ singing pictures belong to an ancestral tradition of storytelling and performing art. For centuries, new themes have been embodied inside the Patuas’ repertoire, creating a living heritage that has always reflected the political, religious, cultural, and social main events and, ultimately, COVID-19. Resilience has always been an important component of this heritage, as social changes and new kinds of entertainment have changed the audience addressed and the performances’ function. In the last few decades, the role of travelling artists has resisted and been readapted to the global art market by approaching art fairs and festivals both inside and outside the villages. Now, the impact of COVID-19 on the economy of these artists has been severe, as art fairs and exhibitions have been cancelled, and lockdown orders have stopped tourism and travels, significantly reducing their income. Thus, new approaches and virtual spaces of exhibiting are being experimented with to support the survival of these artists and keep the performances’ essence alive. This article aims to address how the pandemic has affected Patuas’ art market and production both from an economic and social perspective. The difficulties encountered due to the restrictive measures and the impossibility of performing will be analysed through an empirical approach. Based on telephonic interviews conducted with 30 hereditary Patuas from Naya between April 2020 to April 2021 as part of the project “Folk Artists in the Time of Coronavirus”, the article hopes to shed light on the impact of the pandemic on hereditary, performing castes in India, which might mirror the experiences of similar groups in the rest of South Asia. The article will also try to outline the future perspectives for the art market of these folk artists. The article consists of two parts: the first traces the transformative journey of Patachitra and Patachitrakars, and the second focuses on the impact of the pandemic through deploying the concepts of precarity, precariousness, and resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Article
Colors Inspired by Nature Analyzed in Two Residential Buildings Designed by Victor Horta
Arts 2021, 10(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030060 - 31 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1076
Abstract
The aim of the article is to present the results of research on colors carried out in two residential buildings in Brussels, designed by Victor Horta: The Tassel House (1893–1894) and The Horta House (1898–1901), representing the Art Nouveau style for which the [...] Read more.
The aim of the article is to present the results of research on colors carried out in two residential buildings in Brussels, designed by Victor Horta: The Tassel House (1893–1894) and The Horta House (1898–1901), representing the Art Nouveau style for which the main source of inspiration was nature. The purpose of the research was to check whether the selection of colors in the buildings was also inspired by nature. The investigation applied methods of archive studies, literature review, field survey and comparative analysis of 251 color samples taken in the interiors and façades of the two houses, compared to the 307 color samples collected in the natural environment within the radius of 700 m from the two locations. The samples were described using the Natural Colour System® chart. The research results revealed that the value of the color-matching indicator for the comparison of the color samples collected in the two examined buildings and the samples of predominant colors observed in the natural environment was determined at the average level of 92.5%. The conclusions from the study confirmed the significance of drawing inspiration from nature in the field of colors selection in the two analyzed buildings designed by Victor Horta. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Color in Architecture: Theory and Practice)
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Article
Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19: A Case Study on the United Arab Emirates
Arts 2021, 10(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030059 - 30 Aug 2021
Viewed by 968
Abstract
How has COVID-19 affected the global art market? This virus interrupted 2020 in unforeseen ways globally, including the cancellation of the most important art events of the year. Through a close chronological study of the Emirati art scene’s response, both in commercial and [...] Read more.
How has COVID-19 affected the global art market? This virus interrupted 2020 in unforeseen ways globally, including the cancellation of the most important art events of the year. Through a close chronological study of the Emirati art scene’s response, both in commercial and noncommercial venues, this essay explains how, and why, the UAE’s art scene was able to react quickly and perhaps more effectively than that of other nations, and what that means for its future. Based on fieldwork and press articles, this article posits that the Emirati art scene evolved from being virtually non-existent to a thriving contemporary art hub in a matter of decades because it has always had to adapt to challenges such as nonexistent art infrastructure or the 2008 financial crisis. By studying the UAE, we find examples of exhibitions that quickly moved from being in situ to online, a rare instance of galleries and art auction house collaborating, government and institutional structures stepping up to support artists and galleries, and the renaissance of Art Dubai taking place in person in 2021 after being abruptly cancelled in 2020. This knowledge provides insight into how the global art market is changing to face the consequences of COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Article
The Lunette with St. Thomas Becket at the Sacro Speco in Subiaco: An Unexpected Presence?
Arts 2021, 10(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030058 - 30 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 806
Abstract
The painting with St. Thomas Becket, St. Stephen and St. Nicholas of Bari that decorates one of the lunettes in the so-called lower church at the Sacro Speco in Subiaco is an enigma from an art-historical point of view, for two reasons. First, [...] Read more.
The painting with St. Thomas Becket, St. Stephen and St. Nicholas of Bari that decorates one of the lunettes in the so-called lower church at the Sacro Speco in Subiaco is an enigma from an art-historical point of view, for two reasons. First, on an iconographical level, the lunette interrupts the flow of the story of Benedict’s life unfolding systematically on all the walls of the lower church. Second, from the formal point of view, the fresco clearly presents more archaic features than the surrounding Stories of St. Benedict, dating to the end of the thirteenth/beginning of the fourteenth century, and was therefore probably executed in a phase prior to the cycle of Benedict. In the paper, therefore, I will analyse the motivations that led to the preservation of this painting when the hall was renovated and later redecorated in the late thirteenth century, and discuss the hypotheses surrounding patronage. Both aspects will help to better contextualize the reasons for the presence of the image of St. Thomas Becket in a pre-eminent position in the sanctuary of Benedict in Subiaco, a papal bulwark on the borders of the Kingdom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue St. Thomas Becket in Art: Image, Patronage and Propaganda)
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Article
Materializing the Invisible: Landscape Painting in Viceregal Peru as Visionary Painting
Arts 2021, 10(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030057 - 26 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1096
Abstract
Landscape painting in Peru typically does not receive much attention from critical dis-course, even though the adoption of the Flemish landscape by Andean viceregal painters became a distinctive feature of Peruvian painting of the second half of the 17th century. Considered a consequence [...] Read more.
Landscape painting in Peru typically does not receive much attention from critical dis-course, even though the adoption of the Flemish landscape by Andean viceregal painters became a distinctive feature of Peruvian painting of the second half of the 17th century. Considered a consequence of a change in the artistic taste of viceregal society, the landscape was perceived as a secondary element of the composition. In this article, we will analyze the inclusion of the Flemish landscape in Andean religious painting from another critical perspective that takes into account different spiritual processes that colonial religiosity goes through. We analyze how the influence of the Franciscan and Jesuit mysticism created a fertile ground where landscape painting could develop in Peru. The Andean viceregal painters found in the landscape an effective way to visualize suprasensible spiritual experiences and an important device for the development in Peru of a painting with visionary characteristics. Full article
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Article
The Threshold between the Material and Immaterial Light. Notes on Luminescence and Dark Environments
Arts 2021, 10(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030056 - 20 Aug 2021
Viewed by 941
Abstract
This article discusses the phenomenon of luminescence in the production and visualization of images from an art-practice standpoint. The theoretical argument is developed through an analysis of artistic work that explores, inserts, expands, articulates, and interrogates the internal contradictions of UV light and [...] Read more.
This article discusses the phenomenon of luminescence in the production and visualization of images from an art-practice standpoint. The theoretical argument is developed through an analysis of artistic work that explores, inserts, expands, articulates, and interrogates the internal contradictions of UV light and the transitivity of light-sensitive materials in installation contexts. This investigation explores complexities in the encounter of antagonistic concepts: the threshold phenomena between materiality and immateriality, visibility and invisibility, light and darkness, disclosure and concealment. It aims to articulate a new perspective on contemporary debates on physiological, psychological, and environmental effects of light and darkness, articulated through aesthetic experience and artistic practice. Methods for engaging in the sensation of light and darkness will be introduced and how it unfolds as experiential qualities within installation projects will be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A 10-Year Journey of Arts)
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Article
Marketing and Self-Promotion in Early Modern Painting: The Case of Guercino
Arts 2021, 10(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030055 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 849
Abstract
This article focuses on Guercino’s Return of the Prodigal Son, commissioned in the name of Cardinal Alessandro Ludovisi and on his marketing choices. This is a case study in terms of self-promotion tactics employed by an ambitious artist. My argument is that [...] Read more.
This article focuses on Guercino’s Return of the Prodigal Son, commissioned in the name of Cardinal Alessandro Ludovisi and on his marketing choices. This is a case study in terms of self-promotion tactics employed by an ambitious artist. My argument is that one finds in the painting a secondary and more sophisticated level of interpretation, which relates to the relationship between the painter and his patron. To the most traditional iconography of the scene, Guercino added musicians and spectators, thus positioning the entire composition in the theatre. One of the musicians is depicted in a way that casts him as a representative of the painter. The patron understood Guercino’s intentions and commissioned what became Guercino’s most important artworks. It was Guercino’s ability of shifting the attention of a given iconography and deliver current political meaning that is discernible in his Roman works commissioned by the same Cardinal Ludovisi who was elected Pope Gregory XV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Marketing in the Works of the Artists)
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Review
Thomas Becket: Murder and the Making of a Saint, British Museum, 20 May–22 August 2021
Arts 2021, 10(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030054 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1395
Abstract
This review considers the British Museum’s exhibition, Thomas Becket: Murder and the Making of a Saint, curated by Lloyd de Beer and Naomi Speakman. Following a brief description of the show and its relationship to current art-historical scholarship, I offer a detailed [...] Read more.
This review considers the British Museum’s exhibition, Thomas Becket: Murder and the Making of a Saint, curated by Lloyd de Beer and Naomi Speakman. Following a brief description of the show and its relationship to current art-historical scholarship, I offer a detailed study of one exhibit, a late-twelfth-century font from Lyngsjö in Sweden, and briefly sketch the significance of Becket for the historiography of medieval art in Britain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue St. Thomas Becket in Art: Image, Patronage and Propaganda)
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Article
“The Show Must Go On”. Ethnography of the Art Market Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic
Arts 2021, 10(3), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030053 - 03 Aug 2021
Viewed by 982
Abstract
This paper aims at understanding, from the inside, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying restrictive administrative measures on the art market. It is based on the interviews and ethnographic surveys made by graduate students from the Ecole du Louvre, from [...] Read more.
This paper aims at understanding, from the inside, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying restrictive administrative measures on the art market. It is based on the interviews and ethnographic surveys made by graduate students from the Ecole du Louvre, from September 2020 to May 2021. This methodology makes it possible to demonstrate that, during the crisis, art market professionals were driven by the motto “the show must go on”. On the one hand, they wished to keep a straight face and remain silent on their individual difficulties, preferring to talk about their vocation and the positive effects of the crisis. On the other hand, the commercial activity continued despite everything; if the pandemic accelerated the digital turn of the art market, the physical contact with the works and the collectors remained primordial. The art market thus remained physical but accelerated its digital turn. The proportion of each interactional framework—physical and digital—is still uncertain, difficult to measure today and to predict in the long run. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
Article
TikTok as a New Player in the Contemporary Arts Market: A Study with Special Consideration of Feminist Artists and a New Generation of Art Collectors
Arts 2021, 10(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030052 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2219
Abstract
How do social-media platforms such as TikTok function as a neutralising factor in the gatekeeping process in times of COVID-19 restrictions? How does TikTok change the experience culture in arts, and how does this impact how artists frame their working process alongside primary [...] Read more.
How do social-media platforms such as TikTok function as a neutralising factor in the gatekeeping process in times of COVID-19 restrictions? How does TikTok change the experience culture in arts, and how does this impact how artists frame their working process alongside primary gatekeepers? During the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok attracted many artists, who used the platform to take their practice, and thereby their self-marketing, into their own hands. At the same time, a new generation of collectors use TikTok to discover art under popular hashtag #feministartists. When artists label their work with #feministartists, they insert themselves into the gatekeeping process, and use opportunities and restrictions bounded to that specific hashtag. The study examines this process of professional self-positioning by using interviews with contemporary artists, curators, and observations on TikTok, artist talks, and secondary interviews with artists on online platforms. The findings suggest a variation in how one trades in or trades on “feminist artist”, accessing resources, and gaining exposure. A focus on “feminist artists” is restrictive for consolidating artists’ efforts to pursue specific professional, social, political, and economic agendas through art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Article
Portable Prototypes: Canterbury Badges and the Thomasaltar in Hamburg
Arts 2021, 10(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030051 - 27 Jul 2021
Viewed by 675
Abstract
Pilgrims’ badges often depicted works of art located at a cult center, and these cheap, small images frequently imitated monumental works. Was this relationship ever reversed? In late medieval Hamburg, a painted altarpiece from a Hanseatic guild narrates the life of Thomas Becket [...] Read more.
Pilgrims’ badges often depicted works of art located at a cult center, and these cheap, small images frequently imitated monumental works. Was this relationship ever reversed? In late medieval Hamburg, a painted altarpiece from a Hanseatic guild narrates the life of Thomas Becket in four scenes, two of which survive. In 1932, Tancred Borenius declared this altarpiece to be the first monumental expression of Becket’s narrative in northern Germany. Since then, little scholarship has investigated the links between this work and the Becket cult elsewhere. With so much visual art from the medieval period lost, it is impossible to trace the transmission of imagery with any certainty. Nevertheless, this discussion considers badges as a means of disseminating imagery for subsequent copying. This altarpiece and the pilgrims’ badges that it closely resembles may provide an example of a major work of art borrowing a composition from an inexpensive pilgrim’s badge and of the monumental imitating the miniature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue St. Thomas Becket in Art: Image, Patronage and Propaganda)
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Article
Why COVID-19 Will Not Change the Global Art Market
Arts 2021, 10(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030050 - 27 Jul 2021
Viewed by 2466
Abstract
This article investigates the valuation of artworks during the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines how art market participants employ fictional expectations of the future to stabilize valuations during uncertain times. A total of 86 forecasts originating from both the center and periphery of the [...] Read more.
This article investigates the valuation of artworks during the COVID-19 pandemic. It examines how art market participants employ fictional expectations of the future to stabilize valuations during uncertain times. A total of 86 forecasts originating from both the center and periphery of the global art market were analyzed. Taking a meta-analytic approach, focus was placed on what each analysis predicts, how it constructs the future it purports to know, and how the expected value of artworks and methods for their purchase are justified. This uncovered the paradoxical reality of art market forecasts—their authors are convinced that the power of crisis could reformulate the art market, but their conclusions do not assume the possibility of real change. Further, the argument is made that speculation about the future is at the core of today’s art economy. Therefore, in a crisis, market participants conservatively orient themselves toward artworks that already have established value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
Article
A Barber-Surgeon’s Instrument Case: Seeing the Iconography of Thomas Becket through a Netherlandish Lens
Arts 2021, 10(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030049 - 26 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1084
Abstract
The triple anniversary in 2020 of Thomas Becket’s birth, death and translation has been an occasion to review and revisit many of the artefacts associated with the saint and his cult in England and across Europe. Many of these are items directly associated [...] Read more.
The triple anniversary in 2020 of Thomas Becket’s birth, death and translation has been an occasion to review and revisit many of the artefacts associated with the saint and his cult in England and across Europe. Many of these are items directly associated with his veneration in churches or in private devotions, but one object which served in neither capacity is an instrument case currently in the collection of the Worshipful Company of Barbers in London. This unusual object has been studied for its fine silver work, and possible royal associations, but little academic attention has so far been paid to the some of the iconography, particularly that of the scene of the murder of Thomas Becket depicted on the back of the box, the side to be worn against the body. In this article, we show how seemingly unusual elements in the iconography draw on particularly Flemish representations of Becket’s murder that, to date, have received little attention in Anglophone scholarship. From this, we discuss this scene and its significance in understanding the role the iconography may have been intended to serve, and the interplay between the decorative schema and what the surgeon thought about his own role with regard to the use of the case and its tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue St. Thomas Becket in Art: Image, Patronage and Propaganda)
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Article
Art Galleries in Transformation: Is COVID-19 Driving Digitisation?
Arts 2021, 10(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030048 - 23 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1427
Abstract
Compared to other consumer goods markets, art galleries have long been reluctant to innovate through digitisation. However, the global outbreak of COVID-19 forces art galleries to reconsider the role of digital channels. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the art [...] Read more.
Compared to other consumer goods markets, art galleries have long been reluctant to innovate through digitisation. However, the global outbreak of COVID-19 forces art galleries to reconsider the role of digital channels. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the art gallery business model and its related difficulties of integrating digital channels into marketing, communication, and sales. Twenty interviews with gallery owners and managers in Vienna and Salzburg were conducted. They were asked about their attitudes towards, opinions on, and experiences with digital channels, and how they reacted to the restrictions caused by COVID-19. The findings verify that COVID-19 has led galleries of any type to reconsider their digital strategy. We identified limitations with respect to digital channels: plain presentation of information online; lacking or distanced personal interaction; online anonymity that disconnects from the social art environment; increased information and price transparency; a more commercial appearance; limited resources for digital adaptations. Galleries striving to integrate digital channels into their business model should pay attention to ensuring that analogue, as well as digital, channels are integrated into a coherent system where personal contact and the physical location remain the core of the business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
Article
External Shocks in the Art Markets: How Did the Portuguese, the Spanish and the Brazilian Art Markets React to COVID-19 Global Pandemic? Data Analysis and Strategies to Overcome the Crisis
Arts 2021, 10(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030047 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1364
Abstract
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, and the restrictions imposed by the social distance and the enforced confinement, are having an impact on the art markets globally. The aim of this article is to evaluate the impact of an external shock in [...] Read more.
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, and the restrictions imposed by the social distance and the enforced confinement, are having an impact on the art markets globally. The aim of this article is to evaluate the impact of an external shock in the primary art market, using three countries as a case study: Portugal, Spain, and Brazil. These geographies have in common being at the margins in the art market’s main art hubs. It is intended to analyze how agents are responding to the new context, according to the data gathered within the gallery sector. The methods applied in the research are a combination of surveys carried out by the authors, field-based observation, along with an academic literature review, complemented by international and national reports analysis. The study’s main findings allow us to characterize the art market as a very resilient sector that energetically responded to the crisis, able to adapt and overcome challenges imposed by the new pandemic situation. Contemporary art galleries expanded digital activities, kept participating in art fairs hybrid models, continued to focus on internationalization, and pointed to the strengthening of public policies towards the sector and partnerships as key strategies to overcome the crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Art Market in the Aftermath of COVID-19)
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Editorial
Interview: Acclaimed Game Designer Ryan Kaufman Discusses Telltale Games, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and How Video Games Can Transform Us
Arts 2021, 10(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030046 - 08 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 813
Abstract
Ryan Kaufman—whose rich body of work often centers on video games adapted from movies or TV shows—has had a profound impact on video game designers, writers, and players alike [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
Article
A Spatial History of Independent Art Spaces in Krakow from the 1970s to 2019
Arts 2021, 10(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030045 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1052
Abstract
Independent art spaces not only play an important role in exploring frontiers in the visual arts but are often also pioneers discovering new artistic territories within cities. Due to their subordinate position in the field of art, they often occupy marginal spaces in [...] Read more.
Independent art spaces not only play an important role in exploring frontiers in the visual arts but are often also pioneers discovering new artistic territories within cities. Due to their subordinate position in the field of art, they often occupy marginal spaces in terms of their location within the urban structure and/or in terms of their physical visibility within the built environment. Their location outside the established artistic cores reflects, at the same time, their weaker economic standing and wish to distinguish themselves from previous generations of cultural producers. Post-socialist cities offer the opportunity to study the spatial history of independent art spaces under different political and economic systems. In this paper, I have used a detailed database of private art galleries in the period from the 1970s to 2019 and content analysis of press and internet texts about them to uncover the stages of development of independent art venues in Krakow, Poland, an example of a post-socialist city with a rich cultural heritage. They included periods of dispersion within the wider inner-city followed by cycles of concentration in rather neglected quarters that were emerging as epicentres of alternative artistic life only to dissipate due to unfavourable economic conditions and the appearance of the next generations of artists who wanted to mark their distinctive presence both in the art world and in the urban space. I also discuss how independent art spaces were using their usually marginal, temporary and fluid sites in their artistic practices and the accumulation of symbolic capital in the field of art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Visual Arts)
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Article
A ‘Lost’ Panel and a Missing Link: Angelos Bitzamanos and the Case of the Scottivoli Altarpiece for the Church of San Francesco Delle Scale in Ancona
Arts 2021, 10(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030044 - 01 Jul 2021
Viewed by 867
Abstract
In his will, dating from 1490, the nobleman Francesco Scottivoli from Ancona ordered his heirs to erect a chapel in his memory at the church of San Francesco delle Scale, and have it adorned with a painted altarpiece, executed in 1508 by a [...] Read more.
In his will, dating from 1490, the nobleman Francesco Scottivoli from Ancona ordered his heirs to erect a chapel in his memory at the church of San Francesco delle Scale, and have it adorned with a painted altarpiece, executed in 1508 by a painter of Greek origin residing in Ancona. In the late 18th-century a full-scale renovation of the church resulted to the dissolution of the Scottivoli chapel and the removal of the painted altarpiece, which was subsequently lost and has been considered missing ever since. This article aims to identify the long-missing Scottivoli altarpiece and determine the identity of its creator based on the re-evaluation of previously published sources and the discovery of unpublished archival and visual material. In light of this new information, this study interprets the Scottivoli altarpiece within the context of the intense cross-cultural transfer that took place in the multicultural contact zone of the early modern Eastern Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A 10-Year Journey of Arts)
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Editorial
Arts Special Issue “The Contemporary Art Market”
Arts 2021, 10(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030043 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1040
Abstract
When setting out to organize this Special Issue of Arts, I began with the goal to survey the emerging field of art market studies but also to expand the notion of the market to include alternatives, such as art collectives and festivals, [...] Read more.
When setting out to organize this Special Issue of Arts, I began with the goal to survey the emerging field of art market studies but also to expand the notion of the market to include alternatives, such as art collectives and festivals, that challenge the dominance of the market as the pre-eminent arbiter of cultural value [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
From Novels to Video Games: Romantic Love and Narrative Form in Japanese Visual Novels and Romance Adventure Games
Arts 2021, 10(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030042 - 25 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1776
Abstract
Video games are powerful narrative media that continue to evolve. Romance games in Japan, which began as text-based adventure games and are today known as bishōjo games and otome games, form a powerful textual corpus for literary and media studies. They adopt conventional [...] Read more.
Video games are powerful narrative media that continue to evolve. Romance games in Japan, which began as text-based adventure games and are today known as bishōjo games and otome games, form a powerful textual corpus for literary and media studies. They adopt conventional literary narrative strategies and explore new narrative forms formulated by an interface with computer-generated texts and audiovisual fetishism, thereby challenging the assumptions about the modern textual values of storytelling. The article first examines differences between visual novels that feature female characters for a male audience and romance adventure games that feature male characters for a female audience. Through the comparison, the article investigates how notions of romantic love and relationship have transformed from the modern identity politics based on freedom and the autonomous self to the decentered model of mediation and interaction in the contemporary era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A 10-Year Journey of Arts)
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Article
The Horse and the Lion in Achaemenid Persia: Representations of a Duality
Arts 2021, 10(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030041 - 23 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1269
Abstract
This paper explores the ambiguous Persian Achaemenid attitude towards the horse and the lion. It examines the way these animals appear in imperial official presentations, local artifacts throughout the empire and Greek textual representations. In the case of the stallion, it looks at [...] Read more.
This paper explores the ambiguous Persian Achaemenid attitude towards the horse and the lion. It examines the way these animals appear in imperial official presentations, local artifacts throughout the empire and Greek textual representations. In the case of the stallion, it looks at the imagery of horse riding or the place of the horse in society and religion alongside the employment of steeds in chariots. Images of the lion are addressed in instances where it appears to be respected as having a significant protective power and as the prey of the chase. This paper attempts to show that this ambiguity corresponds roughly to the dual image of the Persians as both pre-imperial/nomad and imperial/sedentary (and hence allegedly luxurious), a schism that is manifest in both the self-presentation of the Achaemenids and in the Greek texts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 1))
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Article
Animals in Human Situations in Ancient Egyptian Ostraca and Papyri
Arts 2021, 10(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10030040 - 22 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1836
Abstract
It has been said that the ancient Egyptians were raised to tolerate all kinds of toil and hardship; they nevertheless also liked to amuse themselves with comic relief in their everyday life. For example, ancient Egyptian drawing can be quite accurate and at [...] Read more.
It has been said that the ancient Egyptians were raised to tolerate all kinds of toil and hardship; they nevertheless also liked to amuse themselves with comic relief in their everyday life. For example, ancient Egyptian drawing can be quite accurate and at times even spirited. What scholars have described as caricatures are as informative and artistic as supposed serious works of art. Ancient Egyptians have left countless images representing religious, political, economic, and/or social aspects of their life. Scenes in Egyptian tombs could be imitated on ostraca (potsherds) that portray animals as characters performing what would normally be human roles, behaviors, or occupations. These scenes reveal the artists’ sense of comedy and humor and demonstrate their freedom of thought and expression to reproduce such lighthearted imitations of religious or funeral scenes. This paper will focus on a selection of drawings on ostraca as well as three papyri that show animals—often dressed in human garb and posing with human gestures—performing parodies of human pursuits (such as scribes, servants, musicians, dancers, leaders, and herdsmen). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2))
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