Opinion

Opinion pieces about art, art history, architecture, garden history or similar. If you would like to write something please contact David Marshall david@melbourneartnetwork.com.au We prefer you send a proposal before writing/submitting the full piece.

Opinion | Mark McDonald: From La Trobe University to the British Museum, and the slashing of Art History and the Humanities in Australia

From La Trobe University to the British Museum, and the slashing of Art History and the Humanities in Australia Mark McDonald Over the past months I have closely followed news of the proposed closure of the Art History programme at La Trobe University. It has given me cause to reflect on the history of the department—now a major associated with History, following an earlier downsizing—the scholars who have taught there, past and present, the many students who have passed though its doors and the many contributions they have made. These…

Review | Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists by David R. Marshall

de botton

Thoughts on Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists David R. Marshall Alain de Botton’s new book is of interest because it directly addresses an issue important for atheistic art historians: if religion is bad, why was the art it produced so good? The usual answer is either (a) that religion is irrelevant to what really matters in such art—it embodies the individuals that created it, rather than the institutions that sponsored it— or (b) it is all a matter of history and so the question is beside the point. The…

Opinion: On Facadism

Lonsdale House in 2010 before demolition

Opinion – David R. Marshall On Facadism The Myer’s Lonsdale Street Store is now a vast open building site, with the Lonsdale Street and Little Bourke Street facades propped up with a scaffolding of huge steel girders that occupy half of each street. Conspicuously absent is the façade of Lonsdale House, an Art Deco façade demolished in 2010, in spite of having a heritage overlay, in order to provide truck access to the site. According to a widely expressed view, facadism—the preserving of old facades while putting up a wholly…

Opinion: Thoughts on the NGV’s latest acquisition: Correggio’s Madonna and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist by David R. Marshall

Correggio_Madonna and Child

Opinion: Thoughts on the NGV’s latest acquisition: Correggio’s Madonna and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist by David R. Marshall The NGV today announced the purchase of a newly discovered painting by Correggio (Antonio Allegri) of the Madonna and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist at Sotheby’s 7 July sale. By chance I was shown this painting in late May when I was looking at something else, and had an interesting discussion about it with the people from Sotheby’s, including their conservator who was doing the…

MAN Opinion – David R. Marshall: Thoughts on the NGV’s Latest Acquisition

Francesco FRANCIA, Virgin and Child with the young Saint John in a garden of roses (c. 1515) see full caption below.

Opinion - David R. Marshall Thoughts on the NGV’s Latest Acquisition It was announced last week that the National Gallery of Victoria has acquired a new work: a late, and very Raphaelesque work, by Francesco Francia and his sons, Virgin and Child with the young Saint John in a garden of roses (c. 1515). We hope to hear more about this on the MAN website in due course, but here it may be worth noting the shabby treatment of the announcement in the Sunday Age. Over a picture of the director…

David R. Marshall – Scientists and the Perspective of View Painters

Image from Panini software from New Scientist (26 June 2010, p. 21) Click for larger image.

Opinion Scientists and the Perspective of View-painters New Scientist (26 June 2010, p. 21) has recently reported on a scientific study of the perspective used by eighteenth-century view painters (vedutisti). The team, headed by Thomas Sharpless, a retired software engineer in Philadelphia, picked 14 vedute of the interiors of buildings for which they had ground plans. ‘They identified 20 points in each painting and located them on the corresponding plan. They then used this information to create a mathematical projection function and incorporated it into a piece of software, called…