This study proposes to explain the puzzling identities of the six figures standing on Nicola's pulpit through a fresh survey of the whole monument. Reasons are offered to show that the Presentation in the Temple, the center scene of the five, is the theme on which the whole focuses. Its unique double image of Simeon refers to his two speeches, about Christ's recent birth and future redemption of man, and the six statues support these references. The unique hexagonal pulpit claims importance for the Baptistery as another temple where we enter the church.
This essay considers the unusual variety of ways in which Rogier van der Weyden conceived text as a lively agent of pictorial meaning. It represents a new approach not only to the problem of interpreting this artist's work (which has most often been analyzed for matters of style, attribution, and patronage), but also to fundamental dynamics of text and image in fifteenth-century panel painting. Among these exceptionally pliable manipulations of text both in form and content, which are compared selectively to Eyckian counterparts, there emerges a distinctive impulse toward cultivating an observer's role in the creation of meaning.
A broad overview sums up the personality and artistic evolution of Abraham Bloemaert, comparing and contrasting him with Cornel is van Haarlem, the brilliant competitor and at times model of his early maturity, and with Bloemaert's foremost pupil Honthorst, on both of whom monographs have recently appeared. A dozen unknown or little known paintings are discussed: Cupid and Psyche, tentatively ascribed to Bloemaert as his probable earliest known work, several characteristic mannerist works from the 1590s (two Bacchus, Cain Slaying Abel), Moses Striking the Rock of 1611, two landscapes of nearly the same date, and a late masterpiece of the early 1630s, Angelica and Medoro.
Jean Pillement is generally regarded as the heir to Watteau and Boucher in the field of rococo chinoiseries. He went further, to become a leading exponent of the genre, the most prolific and successful designer of patterns for the decorative arts of his times whose ornaments were adopted by countless artistic manufactories. The reasons for his remarkable popularity were twofold. The first was his talent as an artist of unbridled fantasy, imagination and spirit which breathed into his ebullient microcosm of would-be Orientals. The second was his extensive propagation of published engravings in the eighteenth century, thanks to which Pillement's designs could potentially reach any artist or craftsman in need of a model. This two-part essay describes and illustrates Pillement's distinguishing imprint upon representative fields of applied arts.
Few examples of modern painting provoke as many passionate discussions and disputes as Rembrandt's Lisowczyk, which is known under the title "The Polish Rider" and with such a label exhibited in the Frick Gallery in New York. In 1944 Julius S. Held, outstanding American art scholar published his treatise in Art Bulletin in which he admitted Rembrandt's authorship of the painting but refused to perceive the rider as Polish. He saw the rider as an allegorical figure of the Christian knight (Miles Christianus). Zdzisław Żygulski, Jr., Cracow art historian contested this opinion. He carried out a detailed analysis of the costume,arms and riding style of the youth and came to the conclusion that Rembrandt could not base his work on any iconographic material, e.g. della Bella's etching, but around the year 1655 must have had a real Polish rider for a model. In the subsequent years there was published a number of different articles by Dutch, English, American, German and Polish scholars. They recognized the Polish character of the rider but reflected on his identity, pondering whether he was a portrait of a real or imaginary Pole or an allegorical figure. The critical moment came in 1984 when Joshua Bruyn, member of the Rembrandt Research Project, which was formed to redefine Rembrandt's oeuvre, called in question Rembrandt's authorship of the painting, suggesting that it should be ascribed to Willem Drost. His opinion was shocking and it sparked off a serious objection, most strongly expressed in Anthony Bailey's book "Responses to Rembrandt. Who painted the Polish Rider?" (New York, 1993). The painting was examined again. This time the RRP team was headed by Ernst van de Wetering, the Project's chairman. As a result of this research Rembrandt's authorship was confirmed and a suggestion was made that the painting bore traces of later additions painted by someone else's hand. The former identification of the rider as a Pole was recognized by the team. And so it was by Julius S. Held in the interview that Bailey had with him. The painting has always been a source of inspiration for Polish artists, e.g. Juliusz Kossak in the 19th c. and Jan Lebenstein in the 20th c.
The study of 17th-century Dutch art in America is remarkable for its variety and abundance. This reflects the nature of American universities and museums. Interest in the subject, however, is much older, going back to the American Revolution when analogies between America and the Dutch republic were drawn. In the 19th century many American writers compared the supposedly Protestant democracy of Holland with that of the United States. Dutch art was collected steadily from about 1800 onward and often served as models for American painters. The author reviews the most influential scholars of Dutch art in America and cites numerous publications and other contributions to the field.