Artemisia Gentileschi - Judith and Holofernes (1621)
Happy Birthday Michelangelo! Though the date cannot be secured, it is believed that the great painter, sculptor, and architect was born on this day in 1475 in Caprese. Regarded in his own day as il divino — the divine one — Michelangelo epitomizes the High Renaissance in Rome and was instrumental in the development of Mannerism as numerous younger artists drew inspiration from his designs. Michelangelo’s talent was evident from a young age and his creativity did not diminish over the long course of his
Pietà, marble, 1497-1500, St. Peter’s, Rome
Bruges Madonna, marble, 1503, Onze Lieve Vrouwe, Bruges
David, marble, 1501-4, Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence
Moses, marble, 1513-15, tomb of Julius II, S. Pietro in Vincoli, Rome
Creation of the Sun and Moon, 1511-12, fresco, Sistine Chapel, Rome
Last Judgment, fresco, 1536-41, Sistine Chapel, Rome
Studies for the Libyan Sibyl, red chalk, 1508-12, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1924
Vestibule of the Biblioteca Laurenziana, 1524–62, Florence
Campidoglio, 1544-61 as shown in etching by Etienne Dupérac
Women in Art from left to right:
Berthe Morisot, Kaethe Kollwitz, Amrita Sher-Gil;
Frida Kahlo, Zinaida Serebriakova, Yoko Ono;
Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun, Faith Ringgold, Cindy Sherman
Happy International Women’s Day! (March 8)
Bernardo Strozzi, Benerice (Detail), 17th Century
English Gothic Cathedrals
A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method by Sir Banister Fletcher
Portrait of Maria Salviati de’ Medici with Giulia de’ Medici, by Jacopo Pontormo. Italy, c. 1537.
To be honest, the history of art restoration is full of disgraceful erasures, and a lot of the works whose appearance we take for granted are actually the result of restorers messing up really, really badly.
Priceless portraits of Shakespeare were irreversibly “cleaned” of painted changes that were made during Shakespeare’s lifetime to reflect how he looked as he aged. It was also painted over and lightened in portions. There is no way to fix the changes made by modern restorers to these centuries-old images.
Another painting discovered relatively recently, the Tree of Fertility, “somehow” lost its 25 painted penises during the restoration process. The 750-year-old fresco was discovered in 1999, and the restorers just painted over the penises.
Michelangelo’s David was actually coated in wax and stripped with hydrochloric acid, which removed the statue’s original patina, in 1843. Of course, that didn’t stop them from cleaning it again in 2004, resulting in the resignations of several restorers and curators from its housing institution who maintained that under no circumstances should it be cleaned again.
So, yeah. You can probably imagine how many images have been altered in the centuries between when the paintings were made, and us viewing them now. So, to answer your question, if people are willing to just paint OVER mixed-race children, Shakespeare’s face, and a tree full of penises, pretty sure that obscuring and/or lightening European paintings of people of color has happened and may well continue to happen.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau: “The Difficult Lesson”
Portrait of Isotta Brembati - Giovanni Battista Moroni, Bergamo, Private Collection
Barind Cornelis Koekkoek | Portrait of a Young Woman | 1846 (detail)
The Hatch Family by Eastman Johnson (1870)
John William Waterhouse c. 1894
Lady of Shalott Looking at Lancelot