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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Palpable GRIEF

Funeral

For weeks this image has haunted me.  I first saw it on the day of their funeral.  It is, in fact, a photograph of their funeral, and I can’t get it out of my mind.

On March 4th an Orthodox Jewish couple from Brooklyn was killed in a car accident on their way to the hospital.  They were both 21, and they were 7 months pregnant with their first child.  Doctors delivered the baby by Caesarean section, and he died the following day.

I weep for them.  I will remember them forever.  And I’m further saddened that absolute hearbreak can create such a beautiful image.

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Something I saw last month during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee caught my attention.  During her Thanksgiving Service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Queen Elizabeth wore a stunning diamond brooch containing two stones cut from the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever discovered:  the legendary Cullinan Diamond.

Found in 1905 in the South African Premier Diamond Mine, the 3,106 carat — yes 3,106 carat — Cullinan Diamond is named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the mine’s owner.  It was purchased by the Transvaal government (a former Boer and British colony located in northern South Africa) and presented to King Edward VII (Queen Elizabeth’s great grandfather) on his birthday.

The largest polished gem cut from the stone is 530.4 carats and mounted on the Scepter of the Cross.

The 2nd largest stone cut from the Cullinan Diamond (317 carats) is in the Imperial State Crown.


And, the 3rd and 4th largest stones (94.4 and 63.6 carats) were beautifully worn by Queen Elizabeth on her Diamond Jubilee.

So, if you are King Edward VII, how do you transport your 3,106 carat diamond from South Africa to London in an era before airplanes?  You put a fake diamond on a steam ship with lots of decoy security, and you ship the real diamond via parcel post.  (Yep, that’s how they did it.)

And how do you have your beyond-priceless diamond cut by hand decades before computer technology was even envisioned?  You hire the world’s best diamond cutter, from Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam.  (160 years old, The Royal Asscher Diamond Company is still cutting the world’s most valuable stones.)  You listen to the experts who tell you your diamond will break in half through a defective spot, and you authorize an incision cut into the stone to allow it to be cleanly split with one heavy blow.  And in a brilliant move, you order a doctor and nurse to stand by.  And why do you do this?  Because you will correctly anticipate that even though all will go exactly as planned, when the rock splits perfectly in half, your poor diamond cutter will faint stone dead.

The nine largest stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond.

I’m so glad this brooch belongs to the Queen.  Seeing ostentatious bling on Kim Kardashian, Russian trophy wives and New York city society matrons makes me gag.  But seeing it on the Queen makes me smile: all seems right with the world.

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PROVENANCE: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art. 

I just read this book and highly recommend it.  It’s a fast, fun extremely interesting read.  And what is the wackiest twist to this wild story?  First take a look at the publisher’s description of the book, and then I’ll tell you. 

Filled with extraordinary characters and told at breakneck speed, Provenance reads like a well-plotted thriller. But this is most certainly not fiction. It is the astonishing narrative of one of the most far-reaching and elaborate cons in the history of art forgery. Stretching from London to Paris to New York, investigative reporters Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo recount the tale of infamous con man and unforgettable villain John Drewe and his accomplice, the affable artist John Myatt. Together they exploited the archives of British art institutions to irrevocably legitimize the hundreds of pieces they forged, many of which are still considered genuine and hang in prominent museums and private collections today.

Okay, sounds good, right?  But what’s the wacky twist?  Years after the story in the book ends, the forger John Myatt, was asked by the Scotland Yard detective who investigated him to paint a family portrait.  The men are now close friends, and Myatt has become a highly successful painter of “legitimate fakes” — admitted forgeries signed with his own name.

Check out his site www.johnmyatt.com, and read the book.  It’s quite a page turner!

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PRINCESS BRIDE

Have you ever gone shopping on Etsy.com? If not, you are missing out.  It’s a fabulous site.

In celebration of that intimate little family affair we will all be attending on April 29th, I have created a “Princess Bride” Etsy treasury. Take a peek, and if you like what you see, leave a comment (or add a treasure to your shopping cart).

 

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We should all be so lucky to have an Italian Palazzo with 25,000 works of art stashed in a vault.  Where an art historian discovers a Raphael “copy” that turns out to be real.  And worth $30 million dollars.

(Above) The newly re-discovered real Raphael.  Thought to be a study for The Holy Family (or The Pearl), c. 1518 (below), located in the Prado Museum, Madrid

Read the full story about the discovery.

Michelangelo (a near contemporary) was jealous of Raphael’s talent and considered him to be an artistic rival.  As Michelangelo was creating his masterpiece for Pope Julius II on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Raphael was painting his series of masterpiece murals in four rooms of the Pope’s apartments.  Together, with Michelangelo’s ceiling, these apartment frescos define the artistic style of the High Renaissance.

Raphael (Rafaello Sanzio) Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, 1509-1510.  Located in the Vatican library of Pope Julius II.  A monumental 25 feet wide by 15 feet high.

The School of Athens, 1509.  Also located in the library of Pope Julius II, on the wall opposite of The Disputation, and it is also a monumental 25 feet wide by 15 feet high.

I would like to share one final painting:  Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, 1513-1514.  Located in Old Masters Picture Gallery, Dresden, and in a Lisa Confetti necklace.

Raphael, Sistine Madonna, 1513-1514.

    

Front and back of same reversible necklace.  MARY WITH ANGELS by Lisa Confetti with details of Sistine Madonna by Raphael.

SOURCES

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, Ross King, 2003.  Penguin Books, Ltd.

‘Fake’ Raphael turns out to be worth 25 million euro, Nick Squires, May 7, 2010.  Telegraph.co.uk.

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Last weekend in Lisa Confetti’s sunny home town.
 
The annual Loews Coronado Bay Beach Resort Surf Dog Competition to benefit the San Diego Police Department canine unit.
 

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