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A Brief Look at Italian and English Renaissance Drama

Did yesterday’s blog post about Renaissance Faires whet your appetite for Renaissance Drama? Look no further than this thoughtfully assembled blog by Sarah Wingo, Subject Librarian for English Literature and Theatre.


When you hear the word Renaissance you may think of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine chapel and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, or you may think of Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare. In both cases you’d be right, but you may not be aware that you’re thinking of two fairy distinct (though overlapping) time periods. The European or Italian Renaissance spanned the 14th to the 17th century beginning nearly a century before the Renaissance would truly gain momentum in England in the late 15th century and extend to beginning of the 17th century.

The Renaissance period in Italy and England were both characterized by a “revival of the arts and high culture under the influence of classical models” (OED), but each also had traditions and art forms distinctly their own.

One area in which Italian arts and English arts diverged was theatre.

Taglia Cantoni and Fracasso

Two Pantaloons Dancing. Bello Sguardo, Couiello. Dances of Sfessania (Balli di Sfessania 1621) series by Jacques Callot, 1592 – 1635.

In Italy a form of theatre known as commedia dell’arte[i] was popularized between 1575 and1650. Performed in open spaces and at fair grounds commedia dell’arte was largely improvised versions of familiar tropes. Commedia stories relied upon stock characters which were divided into 3 categories the lovers, the masters, and the servants, with distinctive characters belonging to each category such as Pantalone a greedy Venetian merchant. These characters were easily recognized by their distinctive clothing and the masks that they wore, thus allowing audiences to immediately identify heroes and villains within any story being told.[ii]

Most people will be more familiar with the theatre of the English Renaissance due to the enduring popularity of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s earliest plays were likely performed in the mid-1580s. From 1594 onwards his works were performed by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a company of players of which he was part owner, who later became The King’s Men after being awarded a Royal Patent by King James I in 1603.

Shakespeare is the most well-known playwright from the English Renaissance at least in part due to the fact that more of his plays survive, thanks to their publication in the First Folio in 1623, than do the plays of most other playwrights from that era. Because plays were considered common entertainment rather than high art plays were not regularly published[iii], in fact of the 36 plays published in the Shakespeare’s First Folio only 16 existed in published form prior to the printing of the folio meaning that a full 20 of Shakespeare’s plays including Macbeth, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night would be unknown to us were it not for the printing of the First Folio. Likewise of the thousands of plays produced by numerous playwrights throughout the English Renaissance only a small percentage survive to this day.

Swan Theatre

The Swan Theatre: Arnoldus Buchelius (Aernout van Buchel) (1565-1641), after a drawing of Johannes de Witt (1566-1622). Utrecht, University Library, Ms. 842, fol. 132r.

Although there were some indoor performance spaces such as those at court and Blackfriars most theatres including The Globe where Shakespeare’s plays were performed from 1599 until it burnt down in 1613, were rounded open air structures with seating around the walls of the building and cheaper standing space in the center around the stage as can be seen in this image of The Swan Theatre, a contemporary of The Globe.

Theatre companies functioned as repertory, with a rotation of plays in performance, rarely performing the same play two days in a row. Theatre companies were also comprised entirely of men, female characters famously being played by “boy actors,” though the term “boy” may be misleading as it is believed that while the female roles were played by young men, they were not as was once believe played by children.

One reason that theatre from this period is so important is that it is really the first time that the Western World begins to see secular theatre performed in much the same way that modern theatre is performed today. The plays themselves also being very recognizable as modern theatre in stark contrast the highly stylized and religious liturgical dramas and morality plays which preceded the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. [iv]

[i] Katritzky, M A. The Art of Commedia: A Study in the Commedia Dell’Arte 1560-1620 With Special Reference to the Visual Records. Amsterdam ; New York: Rodopi, 2006.

[ii] Read more about Commedia dell’arte at the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

[iii] For more information about printing and publishing of plays during the English Renaissance see : Jowett, John. Shakespeare and Text. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007

[iv] Andrew Gurr has written prolifically on the topic of English Renaissance drama, and his books The Shakespearean stage, 1574-1642 and Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London would be of particular interest to anyone wishing to learn more on this subject.

 


SarahArticle by Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre.


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All new for 2015! Recommended Summer Reading from English Faculty

Hey, blog fans, have you discovered the wonderful blog published by the Villanova Department of English? Not only is it an informative site for events, and people news, it’s also a place for unexpected delights, such as first dibs on job and internship opportunities and cookies at the coffee breaks!  Be sure to check it out regularly!
Associate Professor and departmental chair Evan Radcliffe, PhD, has kindly granted permission to reprint one of our favorite posts of theirs –  a real book lover’s dream! Below you’ll find a first-class summer reading list compiled by Department of English professors, written in their own voices. Ranging from classics to books just under the radar, you can be sure that time spent with these picks will be worthwhile – and if you’re not careful, you just might learn something! We’ve reprinted their recommendations here, including links, when available, to their Falvey catalog information.

Recommended Summer Reading from English Faculty


CHIJI AKOMA

I’ve got two books to share! The first is We Need New Names, a novel by NoViolet Bulawayo. You should read it, if not for anything else, for the author’s arresting name! But, seriously, it’s a great story on migration and the different levels of displacement that attend to it when economic and racial pressures are applied. The young and sassy first person narrator Darling will reward you with shock, amusement, and much to think about for choosing to hang out with her this summer. If you are an English senior, Bulawayo is also on the reading list for my section of the senior seminar this fall.

The other novel is Bernardine Evaristo’s The Emperor’s Babe. I haven’t read it yet, but the blurb is intriguing. Having read Evaristo’s earlier work, Lara, a semi-autobiographical verse novel that deliciously presents the myriad diasporic roots of Evaristo, reaching to Ireland, Germany, Nigeria and Brazil, I am excited to read The Emperor’s Babe, which is also in verse form. But this is no turgid verse. It flows. The Emperor’s Babe is set in AD 211 London (or, Londinium as the Romans called it) and features Zuleika, the daughter of Sudanese immigrants who marries a Roman merchant. Evaristo likes taking poetic risks in language and I look forward to reading about romance and power play in third century London. By the way, Evaristo will be here at Villanova in spring 2016 as keynote speaker at the Cultural Studies Association conference. Not a bad idea to read one of her novels before she arrives.
New Names
Emperor's Babe

MICHAEL BERTHOLD

This summer I plan to read through the Library of America’s collection American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s. As Junot Díaz says, “These novels testify to the extraordinary range, profound intelligence, and indefatigable weirdness of ‘50s American science fiction. A must-have for anyone interested in one of the most vital periods of our literature and for anyone who wants a wild wild tumble down the rabbit hole.”

SciFI


CHARLES CHERRY

For a break from literature, I recommend Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (1997), a readable Pulitzer-Prize nonfiction winner. Many years ago, a New Guinean asked Diamond “why white people developed so much cargo [steel tools and other products of civilization] while we black people had little?” It took Diamond 25 years to answer that question. As Bill Gates notes: “this book lays a foundation for understanding human history.”

Guns

 

 


ALICE DAILEY

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day (1989). This is an exquisitely—even perfectly—crafted novel. The story is told as a series of post-World War II diary entries by an English butler, Mr. Stevens, who reflects on a career of dutiful service to his aristocratic employer even when it became clear that Lord Darlington was abetting the Nazis. The novel is a poignant, elegant, and subtle study of how moral will and personal fulfillment are effaced by the constraints of duty.

Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays (1970). This novel of Los Angeles makes me homesick and heartsick. It captures the rhythm and industrial beauty of the LA freeway system and offers an uncompromising depiction of the existential vacancy of Hollywood values: youth, beauty, celebrity, surface. In Didion’s long, distinguished career, Play It As It Lays remains a standout.

Remains

Play

 


TRAVIS FOSTER

Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs. The narrator of this slim novel, a writer, travels from Boston to coastal Maine for a summer of uninterrupted work. What she finds, however, is a concentrated lesson in the stages of friendship across difference: from the uneasy hesitations of initial meeting to the gradual accumulation of shared knowledge.

Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric. We’re maybe used to novels and even poems capturing something exceptional and, for that reason, noteworthy. In this book-length poem about being black in a white supremacist nation, Rankine makes the mundane noteworthy. If you’ve read Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” you’ll recognize the epic scale Rankine locates in everyday occurrences, where casual gestures and offhand remarks recall hundreds of years of history and the clash of competing hierarchies.

Tana French, The Secret Place. French writes smart murder mysteries set in contemporary Ireland. I love them all. This one, her most recent, deals with a murder on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school. The chapters oscillate between the procedural perspective of the adult police and the meandering perspective of teenagers, a structure that allows it to highlight adolescence in all its unknown and terrifying in-betweenness.

Adam Phillips, On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored: Psychoanalytic Essays on the Unexamined Life. One essay here begins with Phillips, a practicing psychotherapist, asking his patient, an anxious ten-year-old boy, to define “worries.” The boy thinks for a bit and then responds: “Worries are farts that don’t come out.” For most of you, that will be all the endorsement this volume needs. For the rest, let me add that Phillips is an enviably beautiful writer who will leave you smarter, more self-aware, and maybe even happier than you were before.

 Firs
Citizen
Secret-1
Kissing

HEATHER HICKS

The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker. It is a moving story of a young girl coming of age in a near future in which the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing–a phenomenon that is wreaking physical and social havoc across the globe.

Miracles


KAMRAN JAVADIZADEH

I seem to be in the habit of recommending books that are about poetry, or that are almost poetry, but that achieve this while remaining stubbornly free of line breaks. Here are two more for this summer, one short (that I’ve already read) and one long (that I’m reading right now):

1. 10:04, by Ben Lerner. This novel (by a poet) is set in New York City and bookended by two hurricanes, Irene and Sandy. It’s a slim book–quiet, ruminative–and reads like a dream. What’s it about? Too many things to name, but, chiefly, the porous line between life and art. Plus the best use (ok, the only use) of the film “Back to the Future” in any novel I’ve ever read!

2. James Merrill: Life and Art, by Langdon Hammer. Full disclosure: the author of this book, a biography of the poet James Merrill, was my dissertation adviser. Merrill was a fascinating figure, gifted beyond belief, and fully committed to a life in the service of art. And this biography again and again rises to the task of making its subject come alive, without sacrificing any of the subtlety of his art. I’m far from impartial, but totally taken by this book.

1004

Merrill

 


JAMES KIRSCHKE

Lucy Gayheart, by Willa Cather. This short novel is extremely well written. The plot is nicely constructed. The language, as almost always with Cather, is a perfect fit. And the ending is extremely powerful. A moving love story.

Gayheart

 

 


JOSEPH LENNON

I’d like to suggest the novels of Glenn Patterson, who will be our Heimbold Chair for 2016. He is a Belfast novelist, and I loved Lapsed Protestant and The Mill for Grinding Old People Young, which was selected as the One Book, One City for Belfast in 2012.

Lapsed
Mill

CRYSTAL LUCKY

I’ve got God Help the Child on my bedside table, waiting.  Nothing to say but, ‘It’s Morrison!’

Morrison

 

 


JEAN LUTES

First on my summer reading list is Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014), because it sounds big in the best possible way: epic, global, provocative. Its story roams from Kabul to London, New York, Islamabad, Oxford, and Princeton, and I’ve heard that it considers, in one way or another, many of the key challenges of our contemporary moment in history. I’m curious.

As a teacher of the modern American novel, my summer pick is The Professor’s House (1925) by Willa Cather. It’s complex, ambitious and atmospheric. Although it does feature a middle-aged college professor, at the novel’s center is the grand story of a young adventurer who stumbles upon the remnants of an ancient civilization in the Southwest.

Zia

 

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ROBERT O’NEIL

Redeployment by Phil Klay recently won the National Book Award. This collection of short stories highlights the brutal nature of war in Iraq and the haunting memories that follow soldiers home. By showing both the battle and home-front, Klay provides readers with a searing and unflinching look into the Iraq War that will ultimately change one’s perspective on soldiers and war as a whole. Excellent read!

Klay

 

 


MEGAN QUIGLEY

I have three books waiting to go for summer. First, My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. I’m desperate to start this book. The New York Times Magazine’s “Travels Through North America” can give you a sneak peek: click here. I’ve already started and am enjoying Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and since it just won the Pulitzer, I better finish and see why! Finally, I’ve been sucked in by the hype surrounding the reclusive Elena Ferrante and her trilogy, starting with My Brilliant Friend. I can’t wait to see what the excitement is about!

Knausgaard
Doerr
Brilliant

EVAN RADCLIFFE

I’m a fan of the archetypal film noir The Maltese Falcon (1941) starring Humphrey Bogart as the detective Sam Spade (as well as of “Tequila Mockingbird,” the episode of the TV show “Get Smart” that parodied it). But I’ve never read the original 1929 novel by Dashiell Hammett, which is a classic of noir crime fiction and the original “California noir” novel. I’m reading it this summer as a prelude to next summer, when Alan Drew’s own California noir novel, Santa Ana, will be published.

MalteseFalcon1930


LAUREN SHOHET

Orpheus Lost, by Janette Turner Hospital, adapts elements of the Orpheus legend in this engaging contemporary novel that takes its characters through the long-lived consequences of wars past and present.

Martin Blaser’s Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues is as interesting for changing how we think about boundaries of bodies, of selves and others, as it is for its pragmatic prescriptions.

Orpheus

Microbes

 

 


Some of the above titles are in the library collection, in which case you can click on the links provided. If the title isn’t linked, consider using the E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan services to request the book from another library.


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The Best of The Highlighter: Library Policies for DVDs

HIGHLIGHTER-PRO

Click here for the video about library policies for DVDs.


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Now on Display: Sinking of the Lusitania Special Collections Exhibit

vudl_400974_MEDIUM
The RMS Lusitania, designed to be the fastest ocean liner in service, was launched in Sept. 1907. Owned by the Cunard Line, Ltd., her maiden voyage was from Liverpool, England, to New York. Her 68,000 horse-power engines allowed the Lusitania to travel at an average speed of over 25 knots per hour (28.8 miles per hour). That same year the top speed for a Model T Ford was about 45 miles per hour; a Stutz Bearcat had a top speed of 85 miles per hour. For comparison, by 1969 the Queen Elizabeth, another large Cunard luxury liner, had a maximum sustained speed of 28.5 knots (32.8 miles per hour).

In 1913, with war clouds looming, the Lusitania was sent to dry dock to be fitted for government service: ammunition magazines and hidden gun mounts were installed on her decks.
On May 1, 1915, the Lusitania, captained by William Turner, left New York bound for Liverpool on what became her last voyage. Although the German embassy had placed advertisements in New York newspapers warning that any ship sailing into the “European War Zone” might be attacked by German submarines, the Lusitania nevertheless sailed, carrying 1,264 passengers, including 124 children and infants, and 693 crew members.

At 2:10 p.m. on May 7 a German submarine, U-20 captained by Walter Schwieger, torpedoed the Lusitania as she cruised eight miles off the coast of Ireland. After the torpedo hit, a second, larger explosion quickly followed, and within eighteen minutes the Lusitania sank. Schweiger said in his log, “… great confusion on board … they must have lost their heads.” (“The Lusitania.” HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2014. Web) One thousand one hundred ninety five of the 1,959 people aboard the Luisitania died, 123 Americans among them. Captain Turner survived although he had been washed overboard and spent over three hours in the sea.

Installing the Lusitania exhibit are  (l-r): Laura Bang, Alison Dolbier and Marjory Haines.

Installing the Lusitania exhibit are (l-r): Laura Bang, Alison Dolbier and Marjory Haines.

This event sets the stage for the current Special Collections exhibit, “‘Too Fast for Any Submarine’: The Last Voyage of the Lusitania,” curated by Allison Dolbier, a Digital Library intern. Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant; Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator; and Marjory Haines, intern, helped Dobier install the exhibit, which fills seven display cases. Joanne Quinn, graphic designer and Communication and Service Promotion team leader, created the graphics. The exhibit is multi-faceted, incorporating a wide variety of materials: newspapers, children’s books, two medals, photographs and more.

2015-05-05 17.11.22A large poster, “Dastardly Deed!” captures the eye and leads one to the beginning of the exhibit in the upright case; the dastardly deed is, of course, the German U-boat’s attack. On the top shelf is the curator’s introduction, “A Fateful Voyage.” And on the same shelf is a color postcard of the Lusitania, mailed in 1909. On the next shelf are a 1913 two-page advertisement for the Cunard Steamship Co. in The Fra: A Journal of Affirmation, “Are You a Citizen of the World? An Advertisement by Elbert Hubbard.” There is a newspaper from Panama City, May 9, 1915, with a prominent headline, “Death’s Toll of the Lusitania, 1346.” There are also a menu and tickets in a frame as well as a copy of an advertisement for the Lusitania with a “Notice” below warning travelers. The “Notice” is signed by the Imperial German Embassy.

On the bottom of this case is a bright red flag with a golden yellow lion, a Cunard Steamship Company flag on loan from Eugene L. DiOrio, a small bottle containing rust from the Lusitania and its certificate of authenticity, and Exploring the “Lusitania”: Probing the Mysteries of the Sinking That Changed History, 1995, by Robert D. Ballard and Spencer Dunmore. This book is open to show the Lusitania as it appears underwater today.

IMG_2146Flanking this cabinet is a large framed print, “The Cunard Line Steamships: Lusitania and Mauretania.”
There are six more cases, each labeled “Too fast for any submarine,” the claim made for the Lusitania. These cases contain a variety of materials such as books, a newspaper scrapbook open to a clipping with the headline. “U. S. Ship Torpedoed; American Lives Lost,” pamphlets from 1915 and ’17, two medals, and much more.

One case is dedicated to “The Irish advocate for Germany … and Independence,” and another case focuses on “German-Americans and the case for American neutrality.” These two cases remind viewers that the United States is and was a nation of immigrants and there were often conflicting opinions about the Great War, World War I.

IMG_2152

Highly informative and often visually appealing, this is an exhibit worth multiple visits to fully absorb its offerings. The exhibit will continue until mid-September.


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Upcoming Workshops for Chicago-Style Footnotes and Bibliographies

9780226103891_p0_v2_s260x420Are you confused by the different formats required by Chicago-style for footnotes and bibliographies? Are you unsure about how and when to use “ibid.”? — Answers to your questions are just around the corner.
Come to Falvey Memorial Library for a quick introduction to Chicago-style rules for footnotes and bibliography. Sessions will be held in Falvey 207 in the second-floor Learning Commons. For more information, contact history liaison librarian Jutta Seibert (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu).

Tuesday, April 14: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 22: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


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Jutta Seibert

Information provided by Jutta Seibert, team leader for Academic Integration and subject librarian for history.


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Women’s History Month: Power & Magic in the Kitchen

Historically speaking, the kitchen is a woman’s domain. Women were chained to their stoves for hours on end. Cooking skills were right up there with other desirable traits, such as purity, appearance, and obedience to men. As Laura Schenone puts it in her book, A thousand years over a hot stove, “cooking reveals itself as a source of power and magic, and, at the same time, a source of oppression in women’s lives.”

To paraphrase Schenone, what women learned and what they knew wouldn’t be found in a book. It was passed down in the oral tradition, shared with daughters and friends. Women shared information and found support for more than just cooking. They relied on each other to learn healing remedies, to craft utensils and containers, to secure moral support, and to learn survival skills.

When times made life difficult and challenged even the most experienced cook, women found ways to feed their families with what little food was available. They would pool their resources or come to the aid of a hungry family. Women created new recipes to stretch the limited types and quantities of food.

Not unlike other American households, during World War II, Eleanor Roosevelt’s housekeeper, Ms. Henrietta Nesbitt found ways to deal with meat rationing and developed “meat-stretcher” recipes. There is one such recipe in The Husbandman, an agricultural newspaper. This newspaper was published during America’s Gilded Age, a period when the women’s suffrage movement was strengthening in the United States.

The original recipe for scrap pie is below. My adaptation follows the image.

Scrap Pie – 1886

The husbandman, v. XIII, no. 640, Wednesday, November 24, 1886

Scrap Pie Women's History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrap Pie – 2015

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. white or red potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks

½ large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. chicken, beef, or vegetable broth

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp. butter

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare and assemble all ingredients.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain and set aside. Sauté onion and set aside. Use 1 tbsp. butter to coat the inside of a 9” pie plate. Cover the inside bottom of the pie plate with ground beef. Drizzle broth over beef. Layer the sautéed onion over the beef. Boil chopped potatoes in large pot of water until potatoes are tender. Turn off burner, drain and return potatoes to pot. Mash potatoes until smooth. Add the beaten egg, 1 tbsp. butter, salt, and pepper to the mashed potatoes. Whisk by hand or use an electric hand mixer until smooth. Cover the beef with the mashed potato mixture. Use a dinner fork to create a design on the potatoes. Use remaining 2 tbsp. of butter to dot the top of the potatoes.

beefbeef onionsbeef potato

 

 

 

 

 

Bake at 375° until top is browned, about 30 – 35 minutes.

Scrap Pie done

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes 4-6 servings. Serve with salad or cooked vegetables.

Below are links to books, articles and blogs for your reading, watching and listening pleasure.

A thousand years over a hot stove can be requested through E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan.

What we lose in losing Ladies’ Home Journal (Thanks to Laura Bang, Special Collections, for the link.)

The First Kitchen

Women’s History and Food History: New Ways of Seeing American Life

#FoodieFriday: 5 Kitchen Appliances and Food Creations that Transformed Women’s Lives in the 20th Century

Women’s History Month – Audio and Video

My thanks to Michael Foight, Special Collections, for sending me the link to our digitized copy of The Husbandman.


LuisaCywinski_headshot thumbnailMonthly food blog feature by Luisa Cywinski, writer, Communication & Service Promotion, and team leader, Access Services.


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‘Caturday Night News

Have you noticed that people don’t hold onto their old newspapers like they used to? We do. If you want to read more about Villanova Wildcats sports history, we’ve got digitized back issues of The Villanovan before they started publishing online editions.

NCAA 1985 Division I Mens Championship

NCAA 1985 Division 1 Men’s Championship Bracket, The Villanovan, March 22, 1985


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Art of Spring Break: Cabinets of Curiosities: Highlights from Special Collections

ARTOFSB
CABINETS

“Cabinets of Curiosity: Highlights from Special Collections,” a new exhibit on Falvey’s first floor, consists of six cabinets highlighting a variety of materials recently acquired by Falvey’s Special Collections. Photograph albums, a scrapbook, children’s books, adult novels, a tour book for California, a stereoscope and cards (double photographs that appear in three dimensions when viewed in a stereoscope), and a World War II Japanese portable volt-and-current meter are just some of the items in this exhibit.

METER.

Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, curated the exhibit. Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator, helped Bang install the exhibit. Joanne Quinn, Communication and Service Promotion team leader and graphic designer, created the graphics for “Cabinets of Curiosities.”

Bang introduces the exhibit saying, “This ‘highlights’ exhibit features a selection of recently acquired materials. Over the past two years, we have focused out collection efforts primarily in the areas of popular culture and materials and upcoming historic anniversaries, particularly the current centennial of the First World War.”

CHILDRENS-BOOKS

“I love these ‘hodge-podge’ exhibits,” she adds, “because they give us a chance to show some of the great stuff that doesn’t fit in our regular-themed exhibits, like the stereoscope viewer.”

Two recent donations—Irish-themed books given by Patrick Moss, and a World War II collection from the family of James D. Reap, Jr.—are featured in the “Cabinets of Curiosities.”

The “Cabinets of Curiosities” will remain on display until mid to late March, followed by an Easter exhibit.


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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Art of Spring Break: Ruspoli and Droutzkoy Art Collections Will Be Reunited and Displayed

ARTOFSB

KRISTEN W PAINTING

Villanova owns a number of paintings donated by Princess Eugenia Ruspoli; her adopted daughter, Princess Maria Theresa Droutzkoy; and her daughter’s husband, Prince Alexis Droutzkoy. Who are these donors and what did they collect? The massive painting, “Triumph of David,” by Pietro da Cortona, which is currently undergoing conservation in Falvey Hall’s Reading Room, is only one of a number of paintings donated by the two families although it is certainly the largest.

Princess Eugenia Ruspoli, donor of “The Triumph of David,” was born Jennie Enfield Berry in Alabama in either 1861 or 1869 (date varies according to the source consulted), the oldest daughter of a Confederate army colonel and plantation owner, Thomas Berry, and his wife, Frances Margaret Rhea. Before her first marriage, young Jennie Berry had traveled and studied in Europe. On May 7, 1889, Berry married a wealthy, older man, Henry Bruton, head of the American Snuff Company. Bruton died in 1892, making Jennie Berry Bruton a wealthy, childless widow who soon resumed her European travels.

eugenia_ruspoli-108x150In March 1901 Jennie Berry Bruton married the 23-year-old Prince Enrico Ruspoli whom she had met in her travels. Prince Ruspoli, with a title but little fortune, had followed Jennie to Georgia where he proposed. They were married in Washington, D.C., by the Papal Nuncio and the couple took up residence in a palazzo in Rome. After her marriage, Jennie Ruspoli changed her first name to Eugenia, derived from the Greek “eugenes,” meaning “well-born.”

Castello Ruspoli, Vignanello, Italy

Castello Ruspoli

With funds provided by Eugenia, she and Enrico Ruspoli purchased the Castle Nemi, parts of which date to the 10th century. The castle, still standing, is 20 miles south of Rome and near the papal summer palace, Castel Gandolfo. She provided the cash; he provided a title to support their aristocratic Italian lifestyle. Prince Enrico Ruspoli died in 1909 only eight years after their marriage. Despite a verbal agreement with his wife, Prince Enrico Ruspoli wrote a will in which he left the castle and most of his property to his own Ruspoli family.

Princess Eugenia Ruspoli challenged the will and, after years of litigation, she received the title to the castle and whatever personal property it contained. Presumably, this personal property included the grand “Triumph of David” donated by Princess Ruspoli to Villanova University in 1950. Were the other paintings she eventually donated to Villanova part of the contents of Nemi Castle when she and her husband purchased it, or did they, with her funds, collect additional works of art? And did she continue to collect after the prince died?

After becoming a widow for the second time, Princess Eugenia Ruspoli frequently traveled between Italy and the United States and eventually made her home in New York City. After the outbreak of World War II she shipped some of her art and furniture from the castle to the United States, a wise choice because the castle was later damaged by a bomb, leaving “The Triumph of David” exposed to the weather. After the war, Nemi Castle was inhabited by families of Italian squatters who had little respect for the historic property. This and the war-time damages led to additional litigation which continued even after Princess Eugenia Ruspoli’s death.

In 1929 Princess Ruspoli adopted her six-year-old niece, Maria Theresa, who later married Prince Alexis Droutzkoy, a white Russian from St. Petersburg. Droutzkoy came to the United States in 1926 as a journalist, attended Columbia University, became a naturalized citizen and editor of Bachelor magazine and later editor of American Helicopter magazine. He and his wife were active socially. Prince Alexis Droutzkoy died in 1976.

His wife, Maria Theresa Ruspoli was born in Norwich, England, in 1923. She became an American citizen in 1945; by this time she was married and well-traveled. Additional information about Princess Maria Theresa Droutzkoy is sparse except in reports of various society events in New York and elsewhere. We do know that the Droutzkoys were Princess Eugenia Ruspoli’s heirs.

Radan and Cannuli

Radan and Cannuli

Now for their art collections: from information provided by the Rev. Richard G. Cannuli, OSA, and in the Villanova University Art Collection: A Guide (1986) by George T. Radan and Father Cannuli, we can get a sense of their tastes as collectors. With only two exceptions, the paintings in both collections are Old Masters. These paintings are either Italian or Flemish works created from the 1500s through the 1700s.

The two exceptions are an undated work by an English artist, Samuel Prout (1783-1852), “Interior of a Cathedral Scene,” an oil painting on canvas, and an undated “Church Choir Boys,” oil on canvas, by C. De Antonio. The only C. De Antonio I discovered is Cristobal de Antonio, a Spanish artist (c.1862-after 1905). The subject of each of these paintings is the interior of a Gothic style cathedral or church, much like the paintings by the Dutch Baroque master, Saenredam. These paintings are listed in the Villanova University Art Collection: A Guide as gifts from the Droutzkoys, but are not in the recent inventory mentioned below.

According to the current inventory created by the University Art Gallery director, Princess Ruspoli donated seven paintings (including Cortona’s “Triumph of David”) and the Droutzkoys donated an additional seventeen paintings. The older list in the Villanova University Art Collection: A Guide says Princess Ruspoli donated six paintings (the Cortona included) and the Droutzkoys gave eight.

All paintings in the current inventory have been conserved with one exception. The works were brought from off-campus storage and locations on campus and briefly housed in the Reading Room last fall so that the conservators working on “The Triumph of David” could study them. I was able to visit this collection several times – a truly fascinating experience. Not all of the works are by famous masters, but they are all wonderful representations of their art historical periods. All feature religious subjects, including a “St. Thomas of Villanova Giving Alms” by Jacob Jordaens (Flemish, 1593-1678, attributed to or workshop of).

Paintings fr Ruspoli and Droutzkoy

Radan and Cannuli (Villanova University Art Collection, p. xv) say, “ …[T]he authorship supplied by the donors has been accepted by the curators of the collection.” And that leads to an interesting question: is there another painting by Pietro da Cortona in the University’s collection? Listed as a 1952 donation by Princess Alexis Droutzkoy is an oil painting, “Adoration of the Magi” by Pietro Berretini. Pietro Berretini is the birth name of Pietro da Cortona, the artist of the large painting undergoing conservation in the Reading Room.

Princess Ruspoli made her gifts in 1949 and 1950. The Droutzkoys gave the bulk of their gifts from 1952 through 1957 plus a “Resurrection” painted by an anonymous 16th century Italian which was donated by Princess Droutzkoy in 1973. Two large paintings, “Madonna of the Rosary” by Cosimo Daddi, donated by Eugenia Ruspoli, and a 1614 Nativity triptych (a three-paneled work) by an anonymous Flemish master donated by the Droutzkoys are especially impressive.

When the conservation of Cortona’s “Triumph of David” is completed, the works donated by Princess Eugenia Ruspoli and the Prince and Princess Droutzkoy will be united once more. “The Triumph of David” will be hung on the wall and the other paintings will be placed behind glass in the niches that once held books in the Reading Room. The huge windows which provide the room with wonderful daylight will be treated to filter the harmful sunlight so that all these beautiful, conserved paintings will not deteriorate as did “The Triumph of David.”

fatherfalveyAnd true to the wishes of the Rev. Daniel P. Falvey (1906-1962), the former library director for whom Falvey Memorial Library is named, the Library will once more display an art collection. “… [H]e wanted the objects of his collection to be permanently housed in the Library of Villanova College. The aesthetic pleasure of viewing the paintings would enhance any student’s visits to do research. … Not only did he himself place the objects strategically at various locations in the Old Library, but he also secured donations (such as those of the Droutzkoys) to improve the scope of his garden.” (Villanova University Art Collection, p. xiv).

How inspiring to be able to study in such a vast, high ceilinged space surrounded by Old Master paintings.


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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Art of Spring Break: See Rare Illustrations that Complement Cortona Painting—A Conservation Update

ARTOFSB
What is the latest news about the conservation of “The Triumph of David,” the large painting attributed to Pietro da Cortona, located in the Reading Room of Falvey Hall (aka Old Falvey)?

Conservation is well under way. The painting has been cleaned, areas where paint is missing have been filled (these are the reddish brown areas visible), the painting has been varnished several times and the conservator,

deGhetaldi

deGhetaldi

Kristin deGhetaldi, and her interns are now in-painting (filling in with color the areas where paint was lost). This in-painting is a slow process, using very soft, fine pointed brushes to make tiny strokes. Thus, you are not likely to see dramatic changes day to day or even week to week.

However, one very obvious change to the room is the addition of a small exhibit housed in two cases, one on each side of the gated entrance to the painting. This exhibit, designed by Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, will remain on display until the conservation of “The Triumph of David” is completed.

In her introduction to the exhibit, Bang explains, “Princess Ruspoli’s adopted daughter, Maria Theresa Droutzkoy, also a princess after marrying a Russian prince in 1945, provided funds for the framing and conservation of “The Triumph of David” in the 1950s. [The painting itself was donated to Villanova University by Princess Ruspoli.] She and her husband, Prince Alexis Droutzkoy, donated some other art to the University at the same time, as well as four books that were donated to the Library’s Special Collections, on display in these cases.”

The two books in the left case are both open to show illustrations. The first book is Catalogue of Paintings Forming the Private Collection of P. A. B. Widener: Ashbourne, Near Philadelphia, written by Aliene Ivers Robinson and published in Paris in 1885. The large black and white illustration shows a man with two horses in an expansive landscape. At the time this catalog was published, it was not possible to print photographs in books, so what is shown is a black and white engraving of the painting.

P.A.B. Widener

P.A.B. Widener

P. A. B. Widener, Peter Arrell Brown Widener (1834-1915), was a wealthy Philadelphia businessman, an art collector and a former Philadelphia city treasurer. His collection included works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Edouard Manet and Auguste Renoir. Ashbourne, the residence named in the book’s title, still stands in Elkins Park although it is now called Lynnewood Hall. In 1940 P. A. B. Widener’s sole surviving son, Joseph, donated over 2,000 items from his father’s collection—sculptures, paintings and decorative arts—to the National Gallery of Art.

The Catalogue of Paintings itself was donated to Special Collections in 1961. It is number 17 of an edition of 250. Widener gave this signed book to Aliene Ivers Robinson. One wonders how it made its way into the possession of the Droutzkoys.

plate2
In the same case is volume three of the 12 volume set of Cérmonies Et Coutumes Religieuses De Tous Les Peuples Du Monde: Représentées Par Des Figures Dessinées De La Main De Bernard Picart [Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World: Illustrated by Hand Drawn Pictures by Bernard Picart]. The text, in French, is by Jean Frederick Bernard of Amsterdam; the engraved illustrations, as noted in the title, are the work of Bernard Picart. This large volume was published in Paris in 1807.

Picard and Bernard intended to document the rituals and ceremonies of all the religions known at the time. Cérmonies Et Coutumes Religieuses …, volume three, discusses the Greeks and Protestants. It is opened to show text on the right and three illustrations on the left page. Two of the illustrations show ceremonies on Pentecost in The Hague (Netherlands) and Schmerhorn (Germany); the third illustration is titled “The Kings’ Star Carried (or on Parade) through Amsterdam[Netherlands].” The three Kings are likely the Magi. Falvey’s Digital Library has all 12 volumes of this edition digitized.

The series of Cérmonies Et Coutumes was first published between 1723 and 1737. Picart was a famous 18th century engraver. Cérmonies Et Coutumes is the first work undertake such a broad view of the known religions, and it was reprinted several times. Falvey’s set is a later reprint. For the significance of Cérmonies Et Coutumes, see The Book That Changed Europe.

The second case holds two additional books donated by the Droutzkoys: Shelley and Keats As They Struck Their Contemporaries: Notes Partly From Manuscript Sources by Edmund Blunden, and an untitled photograph album. Shelley and Keats … was published as an edition of 310 copies in London in 1925. Falvey’s copy is number five, and it is signed by Blunden, the editor; by the designer, Wyndham Payne; and by the publisher, binder and typographer, Cyril W. Beaumont. Payne also designed the cover, a wallpaper-like pattern, as well as the decoration of the title page. Prince Droutzkoy donated this book in 1960.

The most fascinating book in this small exhibit, for this writer, is the photograph album. Bang says, “This appears to be a photograph album containing original photographs of the city of Florence.” The album is opened to two photographs, one of the Piazza Santa Croce and the other of the cloister of the church of Santa Croce and the Pazzi Chapel designed by Brunelleschi. In the lower left margin of each photograph is “Edizione Brogi.” The photographs seem to be albumen prints.

A bit of research provided additional information: Giacomo Brogi (1822-1881), an Italian photographer, founded a company in Florence which published photographs. In the late 1800s the company employed 85 people. Brogi photographed not only Florence but also other sites in Italy, and he traveled to the Middle East in 1868. Giacomo Brogi had shops in Florence, Naples and Rome.

Carlo Brogi, retrieved from http://www.giacomobrogi.it

Carlo Brogi, http://www.giacomobrogi.it

His son, Carlo Brogi (1850-1920), continued the business after his father died. Carlo Brogi sold both his own and his father’s photographs under the label “Edizione Brogi Firenze.” This writer speculates that the photographs on display date from the 1880s and that the album may have been purchased as a souvenir of someone’s trip in a time, very unlike ours, when few people owned cameras.

One wonders where and when Prince and Princess Droutzkoy acquired these books. And did they purchase them as collector’s items, or did they enjoy them for their aesthetic appeal?

The exhibit will remain on display for the duration of the conservation of “The Triumph of David.” Small though it is, the display is fascinating and well worth a very detailed examination. And if the conservators are working on “The Triumph of David” during your visit, feel free to enter the fenced area for a closer look and to ask questions. The conservators are very gracious about sharing their knowledge.


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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Last Modified: March 3, 2015