Painting

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Khayamiya or Egyptian Tentmaker Applique provides a memorable introduction to Islamic art. Photo by Timothy Crutchett Charles Sturt University

The invisibility of Islamic art in Australia

Islamic art in Australia is inaccessible and largely overlooked. It is rarely taught as a dedicated subject in Australian universities, and almost never seen beyond state capitals. Why?
2015 Archibald Prize winner Nigel Milsom - Judo House Part 6 (The White Bird), oil on linen. © Nigel Milsom, photgraph courtesy of AGNSW, Mim Sterling

Nigel Milsom wins the Archibald, our ‘most fun’ festival of faces

Nigel Milsom has won the 2015 Archibald Prize for his portrait of barrister Charles Waterstreet. It's clear the regime of the Archibald Prize is quickly, and positively, shifting.
Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 (commonly known as Whistler’s Mother), by James McNeill Whistler (1871). Wikimedia Commons

The extraordinary life of Whistler’s mother

The famous portrait, usually resident in France, is on a rare tour in the US. From looking at it, one might assume its subject had a tranquil, even monotonous, life. But one would be wrong.
A 1893 self-portrait of the French artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). Wikimedia Commons

How computer science was used to reveal Gauguin’s printmaking techniques

Artist Paul Gauguin is perhaps most famous for his colorful paintings of Tahitian life. But for years, art historians puzzled over his lesser-known prints: how did he form, layer and transfer images from one medium to another?
Painter Mark Rothko directs the installation of his murals in Harvard’s Holyoke Center in 1963. Artwork: © 2009 Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Elizabeth H. Jones, © President and Fellows of Harvard College

How we restored Harvard’s Rothko murals – without touching them

In 1989, I was a conservation student at the Courtauld Institute in London. During a class on varnish removal, my professor, Gerry Hedley, demonstrated how shining blue light on a picture with yellowed…
Frederic Bazille’s Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine (left) and Norman Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barber Shop (right). The computer was able to detect similarities in the composition of both paintings. Yellow circles indicate similar objects, red lines indicate composition, and the blue square represents similar structural elements.

Computer science can only help – not hurt – art historians

I was the lead of a team of computer scientists at Rutgers that published a paper this past August titled, “Toward Automated Discovery of Artistic Influence.” In that paper we reported on our research…
Rising costs, the growing difficulty of securing loans, and a lack of curating talent have made the blockbuster exhibition a hazardous enterprise. Barney Livingston/Flickr

What happened to the blockbuster art exhibition?

A blockbuster art exhibition can double the annual attendance of an art museum and pull in significant amounts of money. Bring Vermeer’s The Girl with a Pearl Earring to the Frick Collection in New York…
A view of the atrium from the Calderwood Courtyard. Zak Jensen

A preview of Harvard’s $350 million art museum renovation

After ten years of planning and six years of construction the Harvard Art Museums opens its doors to the public on November 16. The $350 million renovation combines the collections of three distinct museums…
BP Portrait Award 2014 Shortlisted entries, L to R: Richard Twose, Jean Woods 2013; Thomas Ganter, Man with a Plaid Blanket, 2013; David Jon Kassan, Letter to my Mom, 2013. National Portrait Gallery

Portraits are a fine art, so let’s embrace the selfie

The BP Portrait Award 2014, which opens at the National Portrait Gallery this week, might seem to some like the celebration of a dying art. In our digital age, portraiture might seem to be less and less…
George W Bush has retired from politics and is now painting portraits of world leaders. But why? EPA/LARRY SMITH

The artist formerly known as President George W Bush

“George Bush’s paintings”? Three words, so unexpectedly and yet intimately and possessively arranged. This week the former US president unveiled an exhibition of 24 portraits of world leaders and spoke…
‘Nope, definitely not a Caravaggio.’ International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

What Cold War nuclear weapons can tell us about art fraud

The identification of fakes and forgeries is a basic issue that has always raised controversy. This is unsurprising, of course – the enormous sums garnered by top paintings would turn to dust as soon as…
Early prototype of Skippy. Kangaroo Private Collection Courtesy of Nevill Keating Pictures Ltd

It’s Australia v England, in battle over Stubbs masterpieces

Not for the first time Britain and Australia are at loggerheads over cultural heritage. At issue this time are two images of genuine historical significance to both countries: Kongouro from New Holland…
Famous for his urban landscape paintings, Australian artist Jeffrey Smart has passed away at the age of 91. AAP/Supplied

Vale Jeffrey Smart: a friendly painter of alien space

Death has a special significance in the history of art. Whenever artists die, a kind of art dies with them. Painting will survive Jeffrey Smart (1921–2013) but the kind of picture that he produced is impossible…

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