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Molly K. Dorkin

[art consultant]

Paid adviser employed by collectors to recommend and facilitate the purchase of works of art. There is a long history of recruitment of art experts by wealthy patrons for advisery purposes. In the 18th century art historians such as Johann Joachim Winckelmann were actively advising leading collectors like Albani family §(2). In the early 20th century the English dealer Joseph Duveen earned a knighthood for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of British galleries. Enlisted by the so-called American Robber Barons for advice in forming collections, Duveen brokered the sale of many notable Old Masters from English aristocrats to American millionaires, including Henry Clay Frick, J. P. Morgan, Henry E. Huntington, and Andrew Mellon. Their collections ultimately formed the nuclei of many great American museums. Duveen’s contemporary Bernard Berenson was an American scholar and expert on Renaissance painting who turned his hand to art advising. Berenson assisted Isabella Stewart Gardner in forming her renowned collection of Renaissance art. His legacy as an academic is controversial thanks to his habit of accepting payment in exchange for favourable ...


Molly K. Dorkin

Prior to the 20th century, the attribution of works of art was not governed by rigid regulations, and art dealers and auctioneers assigned attributions based purely on aesthetic grounds. Works were attributed to the artist whose manner they most closely resembled, but they were not further distinguished on the basis of quality; as a result, many paintings purchased as Renaissance masterpieces in the 18th or 19th century have since been downgraded to studio works or even much later pastiches.

Historically, the patrons who commissioned Old Masters placed a premium on subject-matter rather than originality, and popular narratives were requested by multiple patrons, creating conditions in which the demand for copies could flourish (see Copy). Popular compositions were often reproduced many times: by the master himself, an apprentice in his workshop, or even a later follower or imitator. A master trained his apprentices to approximate his manner as closely as possible, and sold the finished work under his own name. In some cases a master would paint the most important part of a work (such as the faces of the central figures) before delegating the rest to apprentices. Through the 19th century, pupils at prestigious institutions were taught by making copies of works by acknowledged masters. Many pieces, particularly drawings (which for much of their history were working tools, rather than art objects), were unsigned. Damaged or incomplete works of art were subjected to extensive restoration or reworking by later artists, a process that can cloud the question of attribution....


Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodinò

(b Florence, Jan 15, 1689; d Rome, June 4, 1775).

Italian historian, collector and writer. His special interests were the literature of Tuscany during the 14th and 15th centuries, medieval and contemporary art, sacred archaeology and ecclesiastical history. As a scholar of art he brought out (in 1730) a new edition of Raffaele Borghini Il riposo … and wrote the Dialoghi sopra le tre arti del disegno, which was published some years later (Lucca, 1754). The artistic theories he expressed in these works owed something to L. A. Muratori and were influenced by a view of works of art as documents of their time. He exalted the classical traditions of Tuscan art in the early and high Renaissance, praised the classicism of the Carracci and bluntly opposed Mannerist and Baroque art. In the Dialoghi he demonstrated a practical interest, unusual for the period, in methods of restoring and conserving artefacts.

Bottari served the Corsini family from 1718, in Florence at first and then in Rome, where he was summoned in ...


Danielle Rice

[Tubières de Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, Anne-Claude-Philippe de]

(b Paris, Oct 31, 1692; d Paris, Sept 5, 1765).

French amateur engraver, antiquarian, patron and writer. Born into an old aristocratic family, he enjoyed all of the privileges of his class, including a large private income, free time, access to artists and collectors, and mobility. He entered the army and distinguished himself in battle at an early age. In 1714 he spent a year in Italy, where he developed a lifelong passion for the arts, especially for antiquities. After the death of Louis XIV in 1715, Caylus resigned his military post and shortly thereafter undertook a hazardous journey to Turkey. In pursuit of ancient sites rarely seen by European eyes at this time, he negotiated with the local bandit chieftain for safe passage to the ruins of Ephesos and Colophon.

In 1719 Caylus settled in Paris, where he remained with the exception of a brief trip to Holland and England in 1722. He began frequenting the weekly gatherings held by Pierre Crozat, a wealthy financier and collector. Crozat’s circle included many important artists as well as connoisseurs and aestheticians who met to study his extensive collection of Old Master paintings and drawings and to debate theories of art. In this lively company, Caylus developed his eye and learnt etching and engraving from the artist ...


Nigel Glendinning

(b Gijón, Asturias, 1749; d Madrid, Dec 3, 1829).

Spanish writer and collector. His early association with Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos was clearly of mutual benefit: Jovellanos learnt a great deal about art and collecting from Ceán, who was helped in his career as a minor civil servant by Jovellanos. As an amateur painter, Ceán acquired basic skills from Juan de Espinal (d 1783), director of an art school established in Seville by Ceán and his circle in 1770; he also had some guidance from Anton Raphael Mengs in Madrid, where he settled in 1778 and, presumably through Jovellanos, met Francisco de Goya c. 1778–80. At this time Goya was making his series of etchings after Diego Velázquez, and Ceán later owned most of Goya’s preliminary drawings for these. Goya painted and drew him several times (e.g. c. 1785; Madrid, Conde de Cienfuegos priv. col., see Gassier and Wilson, no. 222) and also painted a portrait of Ceán’s wife, Manuela Camas y Las Heras, normally identified with the ...


Catherine Monbeig Goguel

(b Florence, Jan 16, 1676; d Florence, 1742).

Italian art historian and collector. He was the son of the Florentine poet Odoardo Gabburri and of Virginia del Becuto. After receiving a good education in music, literature and languages, he studied painting under Onorio Marinari (1627–1715). In 1697 Gabburri married Camilla Bonacossi (d 1702), with whom he had three daughters. Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici entrusted him with several diplomatic missions, but he soon devoted all his time to collecting and the study of art history. Among contemporary artists to whom he gave encouragement was Agostino Cornacchini, who decorated his Palazzo Giuntini, Florence. Pierre-Jean Mariette’s visit to Florence in 1719 stimulated Gabburri to begin an ambitious encyclopedic dictionary of artists’ lives, from the primitives to his contemporaries. The entries in the Vite, modelled on those of Pellegrino Antonio Orlandi’s Abecedario pittorico (Bologna, 1704), have remained in manuscript form (Florence, Bib. N. Cent.). Gabburri belonged to a circle of distinguished European connoisseurs, which included the Comte de Caylus and Pierre Crozat. He corresponded frequently with Mariette and was a friend of Jonathan Richardson the elder, Padre Sebastiano Resta, Antonio Balestra and Anton Maria Zanetti the elder. Between ...


Pascal Griener

(b Aix-en-Provence, June 21, 1752; d Bouleau, Seine-et-Marne, Feb 13, 1830).

French sculptor and writer. He worked for a goldsmith in Paris before devoting himself to sculpture, in which he was self-taught. Thanks to an allowance from an uncle who had adopted him, he was able to study sculpture in Italy in the early 1780s; there he struck up a friendship with Jacques-Louis David. On his return he was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale in Paris in 1788, and was received (reçu) as a member in the following year. On coming into a fortune, he returned in 1790 to Italy, where he lived until 1793, chiefly in Florence, Rome and Naples. He brought back with him what was the richest collection in France of plaster casts after antique sculpture, which he exhibited to the public at his house in the Place Vendôme, Paris. When, in 1796, Napoleon plundered some of the best-known antique sculptures of Rome, Giraud protested about their removal....


Janet Southorn

(b Siena, March 1703; d Rome, Dec 15, 1769).

Italian businessman, collector and writer. He initially trained for the priesthood but rejected this career and instead married Vittoria Gandellini, the daughter of a merchant whose name and business he subsequently inherited. Business links with Germany, and especially with Augsburg, gave him the opportunity to pursue his interest in engraving. Over the years he acquired a notable collection and became a fine connoisseur of prints. He read extensively on the history of printmaking, including the writings of the 17th-century German artist and writer Joachim von Sandrart, and amassed much material on the lives of engravers. After his death his sons, Francesco and Pietro, decided that his notes should be published. Notizie istoriche degl’ intagliatori thus appeared in 1771. Gori Gandellini was not always a critical reader, and his work was less comprehensive and less reliable than the Dictionnaire des graveurs (Paris, 1767) by his French contemporary P. F. Basan, but both books marked an important step in the recognition of engraving as an art form with its own distinct history....


Andrea M. Kluxen

(b Hamburg, Feb 14, 1712; d Dresden, Jan 25, 1780).

German diplomat, theorist, collector and etcher. The brother of the poet Friedrich von Hagedorn (1708–54), from 1735 he served in the Saxon diplomatic service. Travelling through Germany and Austria, he met and corresponded with several artists and art theorists, including Johann Joachim Winckelmann, J. G. Sulzer and Salomon Gessner. His collection of paintings and drawings—primarily Dutch and German 17th- and 18th-century work, especially landscapes—became famous, and his advice on art matters was widely appreciated. In 1764 he became director of the Saxon art collections and art schools in Dresden.

Hagedorn’s Lettre à un amateur de la peinture avec des éclairissements historiques … (Dresden, 1755), combining a description of his collection with biographies of 18th-century artists, was, according to its author, a continuation of the Teutsche Academie by Joachim von Sandrart; it remains an important source for art history. The Betrachtungen über die Mahlerey (Leipzig, 1762) and numerous essays that appeared in the ...


Petra Schniewind-Michel

(b Lübeck, Dec 24, 1707; d Alt-Döbern [Niederlausitz], nr Dresden, Jan 23, 1791).

German art scholar and collector. At school in Lübeck he became acquainted with the ideas of Leibniz and Christian Wolff; from 1724 he studied law and literature in Leipzig. There he developed an interest in the Enlightenment thinking of Johann Christoph Gottsched and in art, particularly the many private collections. In 1730 he became a private tutor in the Dresden house of the elector’s court poet Johann Ulrich König. Two years later he published a treatise on morality, Die wahren Absichten des Menschen. Heinecken then became steward at the house of the minister, Graf Sulkowsky. After Sulkowsky’s fall Graf Heinrich von Brühl, the most powerful man at the Saxon court, took on Heinecken as librarian and private secretary. In 1737 he translated Longinus’ On the Sublime from the Greek. In this work Heinecken pointed to the importance of ancient art theory long before Winckelmann, attracting much attention and the enmity of Gottsched. Under Brühl’s protection Heinecken, who was without wealth, was knighted, awarded the Alt-Döbern estate and managed Brühl’s estates, factories and finances. He was promoted to Oberamtsrat at the Saxon court; his unusual expertise in art and his clear judgement caused the king, ...


David Rodgers

(b Wormsley Grange, Hereford & Worcs, Feb 11, 1751; d London, April 23, 1824).

English writer, connoisseur and collector (see fig.). He was the son of a clergyman from a wealthy dynasty of iron-masters. His father died in 1764, and shortly afterwards he inherited a considerable estate from his uncle, which ensured his financial independence. He was a sickly child and was educated at home, becoming well versed in Classical history, Latin and Greek. In 1772 he travelled in France and Italy and was abroad again in 1776, touring Switzerland with the landscape painter John Robert Cozens. The following year he travelled to Sicily on an archaeological expedition taking with him the painters Philipp Hackert and his pupil, the amateur artist Charles Gore (1729–1807). Knight kept a detailed journal (Weimar, Goethe- & Schiller-Archv) illustrated by his companions and on his return to England commissioned Cozens and Thomas Hearne to paint watercolours (London, BM) from Hackert’s and Gore’s sketches (London, BM). It seems probable that the journal was intended for publication and that the expedition may have had an entrepreneurial aspect, as archaeology was a fashionable subject and the Sicilian sites largely unexplored....


Stéphane Loire

(b ?1655; d ?1712).

French writer. Little is known about his life; he described himself as a painter and sculptor, but none of his works has survived. He is now remembered only as the author of the Cabinet des singularitez d’architecture, peinture, sculpture et graveure (Paris, 1699–1700). This work, which was dedicated to Jules Hardouin Mansart, the Surintendant des Bâtiments du Roi, relies heavily on the publications of André Félibien and Roger de Piles, and on the works of various Classical and foreign authors. It was intended to be a complete history of art, combining history, biographical detail and information on technique. The most original sections of Le Comte’s work are his catalogues of the works of the engravers Jean Marot, Robert Nanteuil, Claude Mellan, Antonio Tempesta, Jacques Callot and Stefano della Bella; it was, in fact, the earliest published manual for the print-collector. Also valuable is the information on artistic creativity and art collections in Paris at the end of the 17th century, such as the description of the Mays of Notre-Dame, and the Salon of ...


Valeria Farinati

(b Venice, 1729; d Venice, Jan 27, 1793

Italian politician, patron and theorist. He came from a noble family and received a traditional and formal education from his uncle Andrea Memmo (1670–1754), which was later augmented by encounters with major intellectual figures of the age. Memmo was particularly influenced by the teaching of the monk Carlo Lodoli, from whom he acquired his passion for architecture. As governor of Padua (1775–6), Memmo initiated a series of projects for the urban reorganization of the city and for the functional and spatial redesign of its public buildings. This also affected the private building sector: as well as promoting repairs and reconstruction of roads and bridges and the repainting of porticos, façades, windows and balconies, he sponsored the new Civic Hospital (1776–98), which was designed by Domenico Cerato. Most importantly, he was responsible for the creation of the great Prato della Valle, a new monumental centre for fairs and commerce, which was also built by Cerato. This involved draining a vast uncultivated marshy area by digging an elliptical ditch crossed by four bridges, and adorned with 88 statues of famous men, including one of ...


Giovanna Perini

(b Bologna, Dec 27, 1714; d Bologna, Jan 27, 1787).

Italian writer, dilettante, collector, amateur painter and engraver. Oretti is best known for his 14 volumes of Bolognese art, Notizie de’ professori del disegno, cioè pittori, scultori ed architetti bolognesi e de’ forestieri di sua scuola. Although still in manuscript form (Baglioni’s attempts to publish the volumes in Venice in 1769 were thwarted by the bankruptcy of Marcello’s brother and the publication in Rome the same year of Luigi Crespi’s Felsina pittrice: Tomo terzo), the collection, including some 40 other writings, has been continually consulted since Luigi Lanzi and Pietro Zani first referred to it in the 1790s.

Oretti was an honorary member of the art academies in Bologna, Verona and Florence. He travelled extensively throughout Italy and from these tours made numerous drawings and copies in oil after Bolognese and Venetian paintings, particularly the work of Paolo Veronese. Although most of these have disappeared, the few extant examples reveal a sometimes awkward co-existence of the opposing styles of his two teachers, ...


Philip Sohm

(b Perugia, May 3, 1674; d Rome, July 30, 1744).

Italian lawyer, economist, collector and writer. His activity as a collector is known primarily from an inventory of his collection listing 281 paintings, mostly from the mid-17th to the early 18th centuries and ranging from works by the followers of Caravaggio to the late ones of Guido Reni. However, he had an overwhelming preference for the Roman school (including Sassoferrato, Pier Francesco Mola, Andrea Sacchi, Ciro Ferri and Giovanni Battista Gaulli) probably because he resided in Rome for the last 35 years of his life. His taste as a collector is perfectly reflected in his most important book on art, the Vite de’ pittori, scultori ed architetti moderni (1730–36), which focuses on modern painting of widely divergent styles. It shows his acceptance of the traditional boundaries of modernity, as his contemporaries understood it, by beginning painting and sculpture in the first decade of the 17th century and excluding living artists. The 88 biographies, arranged roughly in chronological order, have no notable omissions except that of Bernini. While trying to follow a method of archival and other documentary verification that had been popularized by Conte Carlo Malvasia, Girolamo Baruffaldi and others, some errors were, nevertheless, introduced by his casual reliance on secondary sources, especially the works of Giovanni Battista Passeri, Bellori and Baldinucci. Caprice, modernity and genius are praised in the first volume of the ...


Robert Enggass


(b Rome, 1677; d Rome, after 1733).

Italian collector and writer. He assembled a large and important collection of prints and drawings dating from the 15th century to his own time. He consequently developed an interest in the lives of the artists whose graphic work he had collected. In 1714–15 he commissioned a series of portrait drawings, which were to have been made into prints to accompany the text of the lives of no less than 225 artists that he wrote between c. 1718–19 and 1724. Too poor to have the book published, he died in obscurity having been forced to sell off all his prints and drawings, which must have comprised in total some 50 volumes.

Twelve volumes of portrait drawings were bought by the famous French collector and connoisseur Pierre Crozat, from whose sale they were purchased by the Swedish nobleman and connoisseur C. G. Tessin (now Stockholm, Nmus.). The bulk of the rest of the collection, in 34 volumes, was acquired in the mid-1920s by the Italian government (now ...


(b Weesp, Jan 4, 1726; d Amsterdam, Dec 20, 1798).

Dutch timber merchant, collector, printmaker, print publisher, draughtsman and art theorist. He was one of the most important Dutch dilettanti of the 18th century. His interest in art began at an early age, and from the age of 12 he was taught drawing by Norbert van Bloemen (1670–1746). Two years later he began to learn the timber trade with Johannes Bontekoning, in whose firm, Bontekoning and Aukes, he became a partner in 1756. Ploos’s first mezzotint dates from that year. He made drawings throughout his life, in a technically skilled rather than original style, and designed book illustrations. In 1758 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Cornelis Troost.

In the meantime Ploos van Amstel assembled a fabulous collection of drawings (he possessed over 7000 when he died), prints (including many topographical prints of Amsterdam), paintings, sculptures, enamels, medals, coins, scientific instruments and optical tools, and manuscripts and printed books. His special interest in drawings, particularly those by Dutch artists from the 17th and 18th centuries, is reflected in his ...


Werner Wilhelm Schnabel

(b Dresden, Nov 3, 1744; d Dresden, April 10, 1818).

German courtier, composer, collector and writer. He served from 1761 in the army of Frederick-Augustus II, Elector of Saxony, and subsequently occupied various positions at the Saxon court. As Directeur des Plaisirs he was in charge of the orchestra and theatre at Dresden. He was also a member of various learned societies, including the Akademie der Künste und mechanischen Wissenschaften in Berlin. As a courtier enjoying the special favour of the elector, Racknitz wielded great influence in promoting musical and artistic life in Dresden. His own activities included musical composition and the natural sciences, but he was especially interested in mineralogy and mechanics, and he established a renowned collection of minerals and plants. In addition to this he published several books on the history of civilization and art. Early works are concerned with general themes, but in his later years he was particularly interested in painting in Saxony. In his varied interests, Racknitz viewed questions from a practical as well as a theoretical point of view. He was thus a typical representative of the versatile late Enlightenment and the ‘age of Goethe’....


British, 18th century, male.

Born 16 July 1723, in Plympton (Devon); died 23 February 1792, in London.

Painter, draughtsman, art theorist, art critic, collector. History painting, allegorical subjects, mythological subjects, portraits fancy pictures.

Royal Academy of Arts.

Joshua Reynolds was educated at Plympton Grammar School in Devon, where his clergyman father, Samuel Reynolds, was a master. It was intended that Joshua would study medicine, but eventually he moved to London in 1740 to work for the then fashionable (and conventional) portraitist Thomas Hudson....


David Mannings

(b Plympton, Devon, July 16, 1723; d London, Feb 23, 1792).

English painter, collector and writer. The foremost portrait painter in England in the 18th century, he transformed early Georgian portraiture by greatly enlarging its range. His poses, frequently based on the Old Masters or antique sculpture, were intended to invoke classical values and to enhance the dignity of his sitters. His rich colour, strong lighting and free handling of paint greatly influenced the generation of Thomas Lawrence and Henry Raeburn. His history and fancy pictures explored dramatic and emotional themes that became increasingly popular with both artists and collectors in the Romantic period. As first president of the Royal Academy in London, he did more than anyone to raise the status of art and artists in Britain. His Discourses on Art, delivered to the students and members of the Academy between 1769 and 1790, are the most eloquent and widely respected body of art criticism by any English writer.

Although Reynolds’s father, a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and master of Plympton Grammar School, had intended that his son train as an apothecary, Joshua chose instead to seek fame as a painter. In ...