EVCS | Anne McComish ‘Myths and Reality: Mosaics from the Vatican Studio, 1900-32’

Anne McComish

Myths and Reality: Mosaics from the Vatican Studio, 1900-32

The Vatican Mosaic Studio has been producing mosaic artworks of the highest quality since 1727. Some of its finest works take pride of place in the decorative-arts collections of the world’s major galleries, while others are regularly offered for sale by the world’s leading auction houses. Naturally, the finest works are the most valuable, and it is frequently also assumed that the finest works are necessarily the oldest. However, are all of the works on display or offered for sale as old as their gallery labels or sales catalogues suggest? And how many of them are from the Vatican Mosaic Studio at all?

Attribution and dating are among the most challenging tasks for any art historian but in the case of mosaics from the Vatican Mosaic Studio the task is aided by the exceptional historical documentation preserved in the Vatican Archives. This paper draws upon this archival material to show that the dating and attribution of many mosaic works are surprisingly inaccurate. Not every fine mosaic is a product of the Vatican Mosaic Studio; and many works of the highest quality are, in reality, decades younger than they are claimed to be.

Date: Monday 23 September 2013, 6:30pm

Venue: Room 205, Old Arts Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville campus.

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All Welcome

The EVCS is brought to you by the Melbourne Art Network with the support of the Art History Program at the University of Melbourne.

Forthcoming Papers:

Monday 28 October, 6:30pm
Felicity Harley-McGowan, Being Blunt: The Art History ‘Revolution’ in 1940s London.

Monday 25 November, 6:30pm
Angelo Lo Conte, Landscapes and Garlands of Flowers: An example of naturalistic Lombard devotion.