At Large  January 1, 2020  Chandra Noyes

Our Top 10 Stories of 2019

It’s been an exciting year for art on the whole, and for us here at Art & Object. From heists to buried treasure and record auction sales, every day is a new opportunity to learn about the past and better understand the present through stunning works of art. Thank you for joining us this year, we hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have. In case you missed them, here are our ten most popular stories of 2019.

RMN-GRAND PALAIS / ART RESOURCE, NY (CL.20672)

Jeweled brooch, from the Colmar Treasure, second-quarter 14th century. Gilded silver, sapphires, rubies, garnet, and pearls.

Hidden for 500 Years, the Colmar Treasure Recalls the Persecution of Medieval Jewish People by Allison C. Meier

The historical persecution and resiliency of the Jewish people is embodied in one stunning collection of treasure. On view for a few more weeks at the Met Cloisters, this once-hidden trove of artifacts gives a window into a lost history.

COURTESY SECRETS OF THE ICE, PHOTO: ESPEN FINSTAD, OPPLAND COUNTY COUNCIL

1500-year-old arrowhead discovered in the melting ice.

Melting Glaciers Reveal Stunning Archeological Finds by Chandra Noyes

In a year of bleak news about climate change, this story of ancient artifacts being recovered from melting glaciers struck a chord. As we look towards an unknown future, our changing planet is revealing fascinating details about the past.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900, Actors Ichimura Kakitsu IV as Asahina Tobei (R), Nakamura Shikan IV as Washi no Chokichi (C), and Sawamura Tossho II as Yume no Ichibei (L), 1868. Woodblock print; ink and colors on paper.

Skin Deep: The Art of Japanese Tattoos by Caterina Bellinetti

It may seem surprising that an art form with thousands of years of history would be more popular than ever in contemporary times. The Japanese tradition of tattooing has had and continues to have an impact on art around the world. To learn more about its current prevalence, we take a dive into the past.

© BNF

Offering Bowl with Bacchus, Hercules, and Coins. Roman, c. 210 CE.

The Greatest Ancient Silver Hoard Was Unearthed by a Farmer’s Plow by Allison C. Meier

A French farmer with enviable luck was working his fields when his plow struck literal gold. Buried in the dirt in Normandy, he discovered a glittering link to the past: a cache of treasure left behind by third-century Roman Gauls. The objects are stunning on their own and for the moment in history they represent.

PRIVATE COLLECTION

Elizabeth Siddal is the model in Ophelia by John Everett Millais, 1865-66.

The Women of Pre-Raphaelite Art by Angelica Frey

Often reduced to their roles as mere models for some of art history’s most romantic paintings, the women at the center of Pre-Raphaelite art were far more than just pretty faces. Get to know the complex women behind these works, who had lives, careers, and ambitions all their own.

© THE DOROTHEA LANGE COLLECTION, THE OAKLAND MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA, CITY OF OAKLAND, GIFT OF PAUL S. TAYLOR

Dorothea Lange. Crossroads General Store, Gordonton, North Carolina, 1939. Archival pigment print.

The Enduring Influence of Dorothea Lange by Karen Chernick

Some of the most iconic images of America were taken by Dorothea Lange, the intrepid photographer who created intimate portraits of inequality in America. Her masterful images show us the humanity of those often forgotten or ignored by mainstream media. Though she died in 1965, her lifework still has lessons to teach us.

Bibliothèque nationale de France

Abraham Cresque (1325–1387), Atlas of Maritime Charts (The Catalan Atlas) [detail of Mansa Musa], 1375, Mallorca. Parchment mounted on six wood panels, illuminated.

Africa’s Overlooked Role in Medieval Art History by Claire Voon

When we think of Medieval art history, Gothic cathedrals and Byzantine icons usually come to mind. But scholars are working diligently to expand this notion, highlighting the crucial role Northern African cultures played in this period. At a crossroads of trade, Saharan communities had extensive influence on their European and Middle Eastern trading partners and created their own masterpieces that deserve to be included in this canon.

airtype studios

Scott Avett in his studio, 2017.

Talking Caravaggio, not Chord Progressions, with Scott Avett by Amy Funderburk

Best known as one of the hugely popular Avett Brothers, Scott Avett doesn’t limit himself to music. To the delight of his fans, Avett’s first solo museum exhibition shows he is also a talented painter. Currently on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art, his paintings give us a glimpse into the homelife of a rockstar.

wikimedia commons

Ivan Aivazovsky, Wave, 1889.

Recovered Shipwreck Reveals Treasure Trove of Lost Paintings by Chandra Noyes

What could be more exciting than the drama and mystery of sunken treasure? Usually, this implies chests full of gold, but a shipwreck off the coast of Crimea being excavated this year revealed the lost paintings of a Russian master of the sea.

ESTATE OF ROBERT DE NIRO, SR., COURTESY, DC MOORE GALLERY, NEW YORK

Robert de Niro, Jr. and Robert De Niro, Sr., 1985.

The Other Robert De Niro by Karen Chernick

Most of us are familiar with the name Robert De Niro from his many memorable screen roles. But before his son became an acting legend, Robert De Niro, Sr. was forging his way in the 1960s New York art scene.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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