Nicholas Hilliard is generally regarded as the first great British artist. Painting in the 16th and 17th centuries, he was first the court painter for Elizabeth l and subsequently for James I. His works are held in the collections of some of the most prestigious institutions across the world.
Born circa 1547 in Exeter, England, he was a goldsmith and a limner. While his father taught him the trade of gold smithing, it is believed he studied limning under Levina Teerlinc (1510-1576). Hilliard’s portrait miniatures were generally in oval form. At times he would also create lockets for them, using his skills as a goldsmith. He is also believed to have painted two quite famous full-size portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. Regarded as the central artistic figure of the Elizabethan age, he is “the only English painter whose work reflects, in its delicate microcosm, the world of Shakespeare's earlier plays." (Waterhouse, 1969)
His works were not only likenesses they were, “often designed as private keepsakes for lovers. These objects of desire were part of a world of hidden social codes and romantic games.” (BBC, 2014)
Hilliard died on January 3, 1619 and while his body is buried in St Martins-in-the-Fields Westminster, England, his works are scattered across the globe in collections waiting to be viewed. Today the romanticism attached to these miniatures can only be imagined, but the masterful quality of the work and the historic importance of Hilliard’s contributions to the English art landscape will forever be admired.
To view some works by Nicholas Hilliard visit any of the below institutions.
Waterhouse, E.(1969). Painting in Britain 1530 to 1790 (Vol. 1).(Harmondsworth): Penguin.
Nicholas Hilliard's miniature portraits of Renaissance Britain. (2014, March 28). Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/0/26776597
New York: World-renowned Asia Week New York celebrates a milestone when the curtain goes up on March 13th for its 10 days of whirlwind activities. It also marks the occasion's 10th anniversary. For a decade now, Asia Week New York has commanded a role as the most influential Asian art market event in North America.
"Asia Week New York has lots of reasons to kick up its heels-and so much to be proud of," notes Asia Week Chair Christina Prescott-Walker, Senior Vice President, Division Director Asian Art and Decorative Arts at Sotheby's. "Asia Week New York is without a doubt firmly established as a must-attend destination for curators and discerning private collectors alike. And the global response just keeps building and building year after year, which is thrilling!"
This year, 48 international galleries, 6 auction houses and 16 cultural institutions will be part of Asia Week New York's 10 full days of nonstop open galleries, auction sales, lectures and exhibitions. Underlining the importance of Asia Week is the committed attendance by so many curators from the nation's most prestigious museums. Among those revered institutions that have already purchased works of art from Asia Week New York galleries are: Chazen Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Asian Art Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Minneapolis Museum of Fine Arts, Ringling Museum, Indianapolis Museum, Dallas Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Newark Museum, Portland Art Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Freer Gallery of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, St. Louis Museum of Art, University of Utah, Norton Museum, Oberlin Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Harvard University Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Princeton University Art Museum, H.J. Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University.
Prescott-Walker also revealed that a private ceremony will take place prior to the annual reception Asia Week New York co-hosts with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they will honor ten distinguished professionals from museums and galleries, as well as collectors, each of whom, have advanced Asian art in North America. The honorees include Diane and Arthur Abbey, Dr. Julia and John Curtis, Lillie and Ned Johnson, Maxwell "Mike" D. Hearn, James Lally, Soyoung Lee, Stephen Little, Joan B. Mirviss, Amy Poster, and Shelley and Donald Rubin.
Of course, the big draw to Asia Week New York are the numerous eye-alluring exhibitions-always free and open to the public-featuring the rarest and finest examples of Asian porcelain, jewelry, textiles, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, bronzes, prints, photographs and jades from every quarter of and period in Asia. Organized by category, here are some of the spectacular highlights to be found at the participating galleries.
Chinese Works of Art & Contemporary
Representing the finest quality in form and decoration from the Kangxi period (late 17th century), this blue and white porcelain Chinese baluster vase is the highlight of Spring Exhibition of Chinese Art mounted by R.M. Chait Galleries. The 18-inch-tall vase shows military figures conversing on the draped terrace of a palace, with a court lady waiting nearby. 16 East 52nd Street, 10th floor
In The Golden Gate Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain and New Acquisitions, Cohen & Cohen is unveiling an extremely rare pair of porcelain "nodding head" figures of reclining maidens, each holding a book and each apparently pregnant-a very unusual depiction that illustrates a Chinese metaphor: reading a book nourishes the growth of ideas in the mind like a child developing in the womb. The figures are from the Qianlong period (circa 1750) and are each 9 inches in length. Traum Safe, 1078 Madison Avenue
In his 1983 painting Les Tulipes Jaunes, Le Pho depicts a typical scene from his Findlay Period, which started in 1964 and continued until his death in 2001. During this period, the artist was exclusively represented by the gallery and adopted a much brighter color palette. This oil painting features two figures at a table admiring a lush bouquet of vibrant flowers in a traditional blue and white Chinese porcelain vase, and it is one of the most alluring in Le Pho: A Retrospective, mounted by Findlay Galleries. 724 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor
Although black duan stone was the preferred material for making inkstones at least since the Song dynasty (960-1279), Chinese decorative objects made from white duan stone stand out and are exceedingly rare. Therefore, don't miss the brush rest in this material that MD Flacks Ltd. is presenting in its exhibition Inside the Box: Small Chinese Wonders. The objet is from the Ming dynasty (16th century) and has a beautiful calligraphic inscription. Howard Greenberg Gallery, 41 East 57th Street, 14th Floor
An 18th-century square ink cake molded with a scene from the poem "Ode to the Ink" by the Qianlong emperor takes center stage at Nicholas Grindley's exhibition, March 2019: Chinese Scholar's Objects. This enchanting, nearly square ink cake shows two figures in what appears to be deep discussion seated on drum stools in a pavilion surrounded by trees and rocks enclosed by a fence. 17 East 76th Street, 2nd Floor
Among the most important Chinese ink artists working today, 65-year-old Zeng Xiaojun draws his inspirations from the aesthetic traditions of Chinese scholarly literary culture. Poetic Pattern of Song Ware II, an ink-and-color-on-paper depiction of jiaotai, a type of porcelain ware made by mixing clays of various colors into spontaneously swirled patterns is featured in Four Impressions in Ink that the Beijing-based INK Studio is debuting at J.J. Lally & Co. 41 East 57th Street, 14th floor
In Chinese Art: The Szekeres Collection, the exhibition at J. J. Lally & Co., one of the highlights is a white marble sculpture of a demure young courtesan seated on an hourglass shaped stool. It is a rare and beautiful image carved in the Tang dynasty (618-907), as part of the eternal retinue for a royal burial. 41 East 57th Street, 14th Floor
Forgotten Scriptures, one of the works by Justin FitzGerald featured in Reflected Traditions: Ink and Ceramic Painting at Kai Gallery, combines Eastern and Western philosophies, which are aesthetically unified through the traditional Chinese medium of porcelain. FitzGerald fuses traditional porcelain production methods with modern aesthetics and concepts. Kai Gallery, 78 Grand Street
An exquisite ceramic dish decorated with a design of snow-covered bamboo by Nin'ami Dōhachi (1783-1855) is a must-see at Kaikodo LLC'sexhibition, titled Migration. The handled vessel presents a flawless re-enactment of a famous dish by the legendary ceramic maestro Kenzan, but with greater reserve and elegance. 74 East 79th Street, Suite 14B
Alan Kennedy shines a spotlight on a 15th-century Ming dynasty ink and colors on silk painting of a boy in Mongol dress riding a goat, surrounded by more than 60 more goats and rams, in his exhibition Chinese and Japanese Paintings, Costumes and Textiles. Traditionally, a boy riding the goat represents a wish for male children. James Goodman Gallery, 41 East 57th Street, 8th Floor
A rare glazed stoneware sancai lion pillow from the important Sze Yuan Tang Collection, one of the best examples of animal pillows to have survived from the Tang dynasty (8thcentury), deserves special attention in Treasures from China's Past, the exhibition on view at Littleton & Hennessy Asian Art. The pillow powerfully captures the vitality and ferociousness of a hunting lion devouring its prey. Daniel Crouch Rare Books, 24 East 64th Street, 2nd Floor
From Priestley & Ferraro comes the exhibition Chinese and Korean Ceramics & Works of Art, and their star attraction is a Dingyao carved lotus-pattern dish from the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127). It is a superb example of its kind, with a characteristic ivory-colored glaze. 3 East 66th Street, Apartment 8B
Wang Huaiqing, a 75-year-old artist renowned for his large-scale abstract oil paintings of deconstructed Chinese furniture, has recently created several limited series of etchings, and the latest will make their debut at M. Sutherland Fine Art in Chinese Contemporary Art, Featuring Etchings by Wang Huaiqing. Particularly striking is Peace, a 2012 etching on rag paper with a rich black silhouette against a deep cinnabar background. 7 East 74th Street, 3rd Floor
Chinese and Vietnamese Ceramics Featuring Highlights from the John R. Menke Collection at Zetterquist Galleries will present a rare Dingyao stoneware ewer of a lobed melon. Standing on a neatly carved straight-foot rim and surmounted by a curved spout with the original bronze mount, it dates from the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127 A.D.) and is six-and-a-half inches tall. 3 East 66th Street, No. 1B
To read more highlights, click here.
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