What to read to feed your art history appetite

While general history seems to repeat itself all the time, the course of art evolution is a whole ‘nother story.

Not that I’m saying that no one ever tried to imitate the successful inventions of their predecessors — artists are no different to any one of us here.

It’s that the repetition in art doesn’t make it into history.


My own Experience of Art Provenance Research and Discovery

Anton Bertzik, MarinaViatkina.com
Anton Bertzik, MarinaViatkina.com

You may have read my numerous Art Collecting Guide stories on how to safely buy an Old Master [including examining the painting surface, the frame, and the back of the picture]. Here I follow precisely the steps I covered in those elaborate articles you could use in the art research and discovery process of your own.

I bought this intriguing female portrait by an unknown painter more than three years ago. “England, 19th century” — that’s basically all the details a provincial German auction house has included in the lot information space.

The painting had a rather modest estimate which…


To appreciate art, you don’t have to be physically near it

Smart Art — Art History Escape app

Well, at least to set your foot on this path of enjoying art and learning more about it. Especially in the post-COVID era [are we already post or rather still in though?].

In this article, I won’t go into just simply numbering the commonly known resources like Wikipedia or WikiArt (which is always good to find some initial information and visuals if you know exactly what you are looking for).

Instead, I’d rather show you some resources I use myself — the ones that feed my own art passion and keep me in the loop of that’s going on the…


Behind-the-scenes of Smart Art

A little more than half-a-year has passed since the day I launched my experimental Smart Art group on Facebook in early December 2019.

Don’t get me wrong with this tricky word experimental. Back then I simply didn’t know almost anything of how to manage the community or what to do to make it growing, and, most importantly, engaged.


Art detective investigation during the #StayAtHome

This is the second part of the Mysterious Portrait series of articles from the Hidden Gem blog where I capture my journey of researching the identity of the sitter of this remarkable portrait by one of the most important French painters of the 18th century Carle van Loo (1705–1765).

In the Part I of this story I challenged the existing suggestion that has been around for centuries and some of my initial ideas on the way to rule out the unlikely candidates that may seem appropriate at first sight.

Read it first if you haven’t and welcome to Part II…


Art detective investigation during the #StayAtHome

This amazing portrait caught my eye back in 2018. I was looking through my insane art-only Instagram feed and stumbled upon the detailed close-up details of the rich and juicy fabric of the sitter’s nightgown.

Looking forward to finding this piece in a high-resolution somewhere online I searched for the artist’s name and the painting title and found nothing, but the suggestion it was painted by Carle van Loo (1705–1765).

In this two-part series of the Hidden Gem blog articles I’ll try to capture my journey of researching the identity of the sitter of this remarkable portrait and take him…


Art that heals and courage that inspires

This post was inspired by a recent sale of the notable The Pohl-Ströher Collection of Portrait Miniatures that happened on Sotheby’s couple of weeks ago.

A skillful self-portrait of not-a-household-name artist was estimated at quite an ambitious sum for this type of art [while portrait miniatures are usually still well under-estimated] — £ 1,200–1,800.

This was a miniature self-portrait before her easel by Sarah Biffin (or Biffen), later Mrs Wright, from circa…


Forthcoming Old Master sale highlights, Part II

This is my second list of Old Master sale highlights this December, this time coming from Christie’s Evening Sale that is about to happen in London, 3 Dec 2019.

See the Part I of this mini-series here.

I would like to share with you my selection of the forthcoming winter sales with my short commentary on side. …


Forthcoming Old Master sale highlights, Part I

End of the year is a time when we all love to receive gifts and indulge ourselves with some pleasures we treasure. For those in love with art there is always a tradition to look through the forthcoming Old Master weeks at the grand auctions in the sourse of inspiration.

As an art collector myself I am always interested to see what’s on. If not to buy, then at least to “train the eye” — to see the best examples of art…


Rare picture in dispute between collector and the state

Photo credit: RIA Novosti

European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has recently communicated quite an extraordinary case concerning a rather rare and important 19th century painting. This longstanding lawsuit against Russia was initiated by art collectors Alexander and Irina Pevzner whose oil painting of Christ in the Tomb by Karl Bryullov was misappropriated back in 2003 and has been kept imprisoned in the State Russian Museum ever since.

This unbelievable from the common wisdom standpoint story began 17 years ago when German (and former Russian) nationals Alexander Pevzner and his wife Irina came across an interesting painting hanging in cathedral obscurity in the Russian…

Marina Viatkina

Entrepreneur, artist, researcher and art collector → marinaviatkina.com

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