Recent links of note: 

“The new Musée Carnavalet brings the history of Paris bang up to date”
Laura O’Brien, Apollo 

It is ironic that Baron George-Eugène Haussman, the government official selected by Napoleon III to carry out a radical architectural redesign of Paris between 1853 and 1870, purchased the seventeenth-century Hôtel Carnavalet to house a museum of Parisian history. Razing most of Paris’s medieval buildings to make way for grand boulevards (to the horror of Victor Hugo), Haussman in fact ignited a renewal of interest in the city’s history. Greco-Roman archaeology and displaced eighteenth-century interiors would be relocated to this Marais museum, which eventually accumulated artifacts such as a six-thousand-year-old canoe found near the Seine and the French Revolution–era collection of Alfred de Liesville, a nineteenth-century adjunct curator of the museum. Laura O’Brien writes a favorable review in Apollo of the Carnavalet, which has reopened after five years of renovations. The museum is now arranged chronologically and contains an immersive new gallery on the 1830s and 1840s that contains musical, theatrical, and literary souvenirs as well as political ephemera from the 1830 and 1848 revolutions.

“Brocades and bloody deeds: The dark side of the most famous of Renaissance patrons”
Lauro Martines, Times Literary Supplement

Federico da Montefeltro (1422–82), the Duke of Orbino and builder of the Palace of Urbino, was one of the most generous sponsors of Renaissance art—and also one of the most fearsome. The subject of a famous double portrait by Piero della Francesca, who captured his patron’s striking aquiline nose in profile, da Montefeltro was known as the “Light of Italy” for his support of humanist artists and scholars, such as the painter and mathematician Paolo Uccello. The classically educated duke’s tactics for gaining and maintaining power, however, were somewhat less enlightened. The Light of Italy by Jane Stevenson, reviewed by Lauro Martines in the Times Literary Supplement, reveals how da Montefeltro made his fortune as a warlord, likely going so far as to sanction the brutal murder his younger half-brother, the rightful heir to the Urbino lordship. In what appears to be a riveting character study, Stevenson also notes how each of the duke’s artistic commissions bore his insignia, from the smallest paintings to the grandest interiors, whether through emblems, devices, or his coat of arms.

Podcast:

“Music for a While #56: Welcome, Christmas.”Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.

Dispatch:

“Drift & flow” by Richard Hegelman. On “Tomie Ohtake: Visible Persistence” at Nara Roesler Gallery, New York. 

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