Over the holidays, I’ve been trying to keep to a regular writing schedule. It helps to have a partner who is a full-time writer by trade. They never balk when you ask for “Moratorium Mornings”: a prohibition on any interaction for the first two hours of the day in order to write, then indulge in breakfast and other things.
For good behavior, a reward seems only fair. I become rather addicted to the group of art history reality television shows available via the BBC, YouTube, and Vimeo. They all deal with the visual world of the Renaissance in different ways. More interesting to me are the debates the crop up between expert interpretation (“connoisseurship”) and what the scientific and archival evidence actually makes available.
That, and I kind of adore everything about Amber Butchart.
- A Stitch in Time: Fashion Historian Butchart and historical tailor Ninya Mikhaila recreate clothes from Renaissance works, from Charles II’s pineapple reception to turning upside-down conventional wisdom about a famous van Eyck.
- Britain’s Lost Masterpieces: The charm of Emma Dabiri and Bendor Grosvenor almost steal the show from the ArtUK unattributed works they seek to to give a local habitation and a name. (Can’t wait for her book, Don’t Touch My Hair, due out later this year.)
- Curator’s Corner: This YouTube original follows curators of the British Museum as they describe themselves, their research, and what it’s like to work with some of the world’s oldest and most significant objects. (Ever heard of an ear spoon?)
- Fake or Fortune: Less altruistic than the others, Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce research and examine artworks of contested provenance. Favorites: “The Mystery of the Old Master” (4.3), “Édouard Vuillard” (3.1), and “Van Dyck: What Lies Beneath” (2.3).