Art News – weekly round-up

  • 9 January 2015

A new National Portrait Director is appointed, the Vatican lends marbles to the British Museum and a Constable sketch is mis-sold – we round up the top art stories of the week.

John Constable's sketch of Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows © Sotheby's

John Constable's sketch of Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows

NPG appoints a new director

Less than three years after leaving Tate to become the curator of Modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Nicholas Cullinan is heading back to London to run the National Portrait Gallery. The Times reports that he actually worked at the NPG 12 years ago, as a front of house assistant.

Authenticated Constable goes back on sale

A painting that was recently sold by Christie’s on behalf of Lady Hambleden for £3,500 could be resold by rivals Sotheby’s for £2 million after the piece was authenticated as a Constable. According to the Daily Mail a collector suspected the original artwork had actually been painted over. Restorers were called in to remove the added brushstrokes, and to the new owner's delight the oil painting was confirmed by scholars to be an original work.

The Vatican loans marbles to British Museum

The sculpture that inspired Michelangelo’s painting The Creation of Adam is to travel to the UK for the first time for a forthcoming major British Museum exhibition  ‘Defining Beauty: The Body In Ancient Greek Art’. The Independent states that the Vatican Museum has agreed to lend the Belvedere Torso which Neil Macgregor refers to as ‘one of the great sculptures of antiquity that shaped how people thought about the human body’.

Fig-2 launches at ICA studio

A selection of works shown in a series of weekly exhibitions which started on Monday are due to be donated to public institutions across the UK, the Art Newspaper has revealed. Fig-2 will result in 50 exhibitions over 50 weeks, overseen by Art Fund curator Fatos Ustek. The project opened with artist Laura Eldret, who will also be the featured artist in the 50th week.

And finally...

A fundraising drive to create a life-sized bronze sculpture of Julian Assange — backed by Assange himself via a tweet to followers of the WikiLeaks feed — has failed to reach its £100,000 target, hitting only £32,000 before the weekend’s deadline, reports the Times.