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A rare surviving English medieval panel painting has been given a new lease of life after conservation at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge. Remarkably, new evidence found by conservators shows the painting owes its survival to recycling during the Protestant Reformation of the Church in England.

Now on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, The Kiss of Judas, is one of the rarest artworks of its type.

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A masterpiece by Nicolas Poussin, one of the greatest artists of the 17th century, will be displayed at the Walker Art Gallery from March 6 to June 7, 2015.

The painting is on tour from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, with the Walker Art Gallery providing the only opportunity to see the work in the north of England.

"Extreme Unction," or "final anointing," depicts a powerful and moving scene in which a family gathers at the bedside of a dying man as he is administered his last rites.

Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries, said: “The Walker Art Gallery is delighted to show our visitors this masterpiece. It is one of the most remarkable paintings Poussin ever produced. The picture’s composition, detail and its sensitive portrayal of such an intimate moment in life will enthral visitors.”

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Shopping today so often involves hardly lifting a finger, except to click a mouse to order a product — any product — online and have it shipped to your home.

But acquisition used to be an art, according to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, where people went out, surveyed things, discovered trends, and compared goods before taking them home.

Before industrial mass production, purchasing took much more skill and effort, and was often the result of complex negotiations between maker and shopper,” noted Dr Mary Laven, from the History Faculty of the University of Cambridge. “The most significant things in life were not bought and sold off the shelf, but were handcrafted in homes and workshops, customized for their owners.”

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As befits the man who, when he was director, undertook the £6m refurbishment and restoration of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, Tim Knox, now the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, has had the museum’s 1848 portico and railings restored.

The museum was designed by George Basevi (1794-1845), a pupil of Sir John Soane, and one of the leading neo-classical architectures of his generation.

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A cast of Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) Monument to the Burghers of Calais, which has stood in the gardens next to London’s House of Parliament for almost a century, will be moved to the gardens at Perry Green in Hertfordshire, England for the upcoming exhibition Moore Rodin. The show, which opens on March 29, 2013, will compare the works of Henry Moore (1898-1986) and Rodin, two major figures in modern sculpture.

Perry Green, which was Moore’s home for over 40 years until his death in 1986, now houses a gallery, 70 acres of gardens, and the Henry Moore Foundation. The Foundation is responsible for organizing the groundbreaking exhibition, which marks the first time another artist has been shown alongside Moore at Perry Green. Moore was an ardent admirer of Rodin’s work and considered Monument to the Burghers of Calais the greatest public sculpture in London.

Moore Rodin will include a number of loans from the Musée Rodin in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Musée Rodin is lending Adam (1881), the third maquette for the seminial The Gates of Hell (circa 1881-82), and Walking Man, Large Torso (1906) for the exhibition. The Musée Bourdelle in Paris will lend the Foundation Walking Man (1899), a cast of which Moore owned. In addition to the sculptures, the exhibition will include an extensive selection of drawings by both artists and photographs taken by Moore of his cast of Walking Man at Perry Green.

Moore Rodin will be on view through October 27, 2013.

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Tuesday, 19 February 2013 17:11

UK Receives Major Donation of Baroque Paintings

A remarkable collection of Italian Baroque paintings worth $155 million has been donated to galleries and museums across the UK. The works were previously part of the private collection of Sir Denis Mahon, a philanthropist and heir to the Guinness Mahon banking fortune who died in 2011 at the age of 100. Mahon, who began collecting in the 1930s, was an avid believer that admission to public museums should be free of charge. In keeping with his wishes, Mahon’s generous gift will be revoked if any institution charges the public to see them.

The Art Fund charity, which oversaw the exchange, announced that the transfer of 57 Italian Baroque paintings has been completed. The National Gallery has received 25 works; 12 paintings went to the Ashmolean in Oxford; 8 pieces are now in the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh; 6 works went to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge; the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery received 5 paintings; and one work was given to the Temple Newsam House in Leeds. The gift included works by Guercino (1591-1666), Guido Reni (1575-1642), Domenichino (1581-1641), and Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619).

In addition to the sizable donation, Mahon left $1.5 million to the Art Fund and 50 works associated with Guercino to the Ashmolean.  

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