ANN: Emerging from the Shadows – The Curious History of a Forgotten Painting by Nicolas Poussin. Lecture by Prof. dr. Jelena Todorović (Collecting & Display / online – 19 Feb 2024, 18:00 GMT)

When Nicolas Poussin created the sensual image inspired by the myth of Venus and Adonis in 1627/28, he produced it in several identical replicas, of which three have been recognised by European scholarship. The most researched, presumably confirmed as the autograph version, is in the Kimbel Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. However, an equally interesting and rather accomplished image, has formed part of the State Art Collection of the Kingdom, later Republic of Yugoslavia ( 48/01) since the 1930s. And it has fallen into oblivion ever since. 

The aim of this lecture is to shed more light on the history of this painting by Nicolas Poussin, to delve deeper into the forms of artistic production in Baroque Rome, as well as to trace its journey through Roman collections of the late seicento and early settecento. Through archival documents, as well as sales records of the 19th and 20th centuries, we will strive to reconstruct its exciting passage from early 17th century Rome to Belgrade in the 1930s.

Along this journey we shall encounter a gallery of unique characters who all left a significant mark on its history – from the prosperous dealer of Baroque Rome, Giovanni Stefano Roccatagliata and Poussin’s first patron Cassiano Dal Pozzo (1588-1657), to renowned collectors in late 18th and early 19th century London. The travels of this painting from Rome to London and through the collections of William Ponsonby, 2nd Earl of Bessborough (1704-1793), a great collector of antiquities and a notable member of the Society of Dilettanti, as well as that of Admiral William Waldegrave, 1st Baron Radstock (1753-1825), who had the Waldegrave islands named after him and possessed one of the finest collections in the London of his day will be discussed. Ultimately it will bring us, in the 1830s, to Delamere house in Cheshire and the Wilbraham family, in whose collections it would remain for almost a century. In the twentieth century, the painting made its final voyage to Belgrade and this will introduce us to another notable figure, a refined connoisseur and collector, Prince Paul Kradjordjevic of Yugoslavia (1893-1976), who acquired it for the royal residences. Remaining in the state residences, the painting became a silent witness to the calamitous twentieth century that left it miraculously unscathed, but forgotten for almost a century.

Prof. dr. Jelena Todorović  ( received her BA in the History of Art at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, followed by an MA (1998) and PhD (2004) at University College London, where she also did an assistantship for 5 years. Since 2005 she has been teaching early modern art history at the University of the Arts in Belgrade where she presently works as a Full Professor. Since 2006 she has been a leader of the project for researching the State Art Collection in Belgrade, for which she received a European Union Award for cultural heritage in 2018 (Europa Nostra). She has published extensively on the subjects of early modern festival culture, concepts of space and time in the Baroque age, the history of collecting and the history of Trieste in the 19th century. Her latest book, which came out in 2023, is The Concept of Fluidity in the Baroque Age: Liquid Mirrors, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Susan Bracken   Andrea M. Gáldy   Adriana Turpin

This session will take place on Zoom only. All welcome- but booking is required!

To book your place, please register via the following link
Bookings for this session will close 24 hours in advance with the meeting link being distributed by seminar convenors the morning of the seminar. You will be sent the zoom link upon registering and we will send a reminder a few hours before the seminar begins on Monday.

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