Restitution – African Heritage

Back in 2017, Emmanuel Macron called for a change in policy that could see the return of thousands of African artworks and treasures. There has been growing demand in Africa for their return, but as most European laws in Museum Policy forbids the ceding of objects, and of mass deaccession, this has proven quite a challenge. 

Back in 2017, President Emmanuel Macron proposed the restitution of objects of African cultural heritage that were either stolen or looted or taken during submission and war. 

Bénédicte Savoy (art historian) and Felwine Sarr (Senegalese writer) were asked by Macron to present a report on the matter, completed in November this year. They recommended that laws forbidding the restitution of objects should be amended and that this change should be applied particularly to works which were “transferred from their original territory during the French colonial period.” The only objects that could be excluded from restitution were ones that could be proven to have a legitimate acquisition history.

Macron must decide whether to implement their changes, and I wonder if he will, especially in the face of strong opposition expected from his Culture Ministry and the museums themselves. 

In an interview with French daily Libération, Felwine Sarr told them,

We propose changing heritage laws so that all types of cases can be taken into account, and the criteria of consent can be invoked.

Advocates of restitution welcomed the report regarding objects that were bought and/or bartered under subordination, or stolen.  

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Autumn in Art History

Now that Autumn is upon us I have been going on more walks on the Sussex Downs. This time of year always causes me to reflect, and to take a moment and appreciate the beautiful landscapes. Autumn is my favourite season for a number of reasons; it is the perfect weather for just a cardigan or jumper; the crunchy leaves; the fresh crisp air in the morning mist; cosying up in the evening with a blanket and cup of tea while it’s raining outside! Autumn has an atmosphere that is like no other season, in the urban environment as well as in nature.

What better way to celebrate the season than through art. I have chosen three images that I feel have captured the essence of Autumn. The melancholic and dark depiction of autumn is present in all of my choices, as is the transitional nature of decay and change that has inspired artists for centuries.

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Image of the Month – September 2018

This post has been a long time coming! Along with my dissertation, placement, and job applications, I haven’t had much time to do my ‘Image of the Month’ posts, however, I thought it was time to get my sh*t together and be more consistent with posting! 

Image of the Month – Romanticism & Death of Chatterton

Henry Wallis, Death of Chatterton, 1856, oil on canvas, 622 x 933 mm. Tate.

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MA Dissertation – Research

My MA dissertation is on the cultural legacies of slavery and the slave trade in the objects of National Trust collections. Many objects made in the 18th century began their lives being harvested and attained by slave labour, although this history is not often recognised. Continue reading →

Museum Internship: History Files & Object Handling

I am completing a four-month internship at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery in West Sussex. The first week of my internship was getting used to the collection by doing some research for the History Files, and working on CALM; a collections management system used for managing archives, records, and collections. Continue reading →

Avant-Garde: The Pre-Raphaelites

Charles Baudelaire

“Artists should look at the reality and brutality of modern life in all its colour, nature with all its imperfections – that should be the challenge to the modern painter not the didactic idealization of the past. The new generation should forge a new path.”

Ford_Madox_Brown_-_Work

Ford Madox Brown, Work, 1852-1863, oil on canvas, 137 x 197.3 cm, Manchester City Art Galleries. © Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB), founded by John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an artistic group that responded to modernity in England, especially the rapid urbanisation of suburbs and outskirts in 1850’s London. The PRP was original in that their works were not light-hearted or anecdotal compared to other subjects at exhibitions. Many artists portrayed contemporary life in the countryside where the effect of industrialization was less dramatic and impactful. Continue reading →

Exhibitions in 2018

There are so many exhibitions and events set for 2018, but I have picked out a few of my must see’s.

The National Gallery has ten exhibitions in 2018

800px-National_Gallery_in_September_2011

exhibitions

Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’ is an exhibition I will definitely be going to see. I have always loved the PRB, their variety of inspirations and ways of seeing and painting differ for each member, yet they all had one thing in common: the belief that precise representations of humble and everyday subjects was a form of high art and had a purpose in being represented. Continue reading →