Recent links of note:

“Hidden Cupid resurfaces in one of Vermeer’s best-known works after two and a half centuries”

Catherine Hickley, The Art Newspaper

For decades, scholars believed that Vermeer painted over an image of Cupid in the upper-right section of his famous Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (ca. 1657), perhaps to make the scene appear more serene and introspective. But conservators have recently discovered that the layer of mystery was added much later: the Cupid, detected by X-ray forty years ago, was overpainted years after Vermeer’s death, Catherine Hickley reports. This finding “makes it a different painting,” says Uta Neidhardt, the senior conservator at Dresden’s Gemäldegalerie, which has been the painting’s home since the eighteenth century. Dresden’s painting restorer, Christoph Schölzel, has revealed half of the Cupid so far. Girl Reading a Letter will be displayed in its current state at the gallery until mid-June, after which the restoration will resume, to be completed sometime next year.

“Share the Wealth”
Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal

Large museums throughout the United States have thousands of artworks in their collections that never see the light of day. And millions of Americans who live far from big cities never have the chance to see any great art in person. The Terra Foundation for American Art and Art Bridges, an organization founded by the Walmart heiress Alice Walton, hopes to open up the vaults of the country’s museums by funding exhibitions of loans from major institutions to smaller ones, Teachout writes. Terra and Art Bridges recently helped the Philadelphia Museum of Art loan sixteen works to eight museums throughout Pennsylvania. It’s an admirable effort that could move art out of the storage room and into a more prominent place in American culture.

“Why is the Venice Biennale still so important?”
Jane Morris, The Art Newspaper

The 2019 Venice Biennale officially begins on Saturday. Jane Morris describes why it still matters at a time when it is no longer competing with a few other international “perennials,” but with hundreds. “Venice . . . is one of the few places that the art world visits en masse,” says Shwetal Ashvin Patel, who led a 2018 survey on global curation. “It combines historical importance, glamour, and one of the most beautiful cities in the world with huge egos and large amounts of money.” And amid all the madness, it still offers the “flashes of brilliance,” in Morris’s words, that make it all worth it.

From our pages
“Reading the Gaelic”
Stephen Schmalhofer

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