Twitter, and a new regular feature

This is just a quick note to let you know that, much to my own amazement, I have just created a Twitter account. Until recently my interest in Twitter has been very limited, but some of my favourite bloggers are already on it and in the last few weeks I realized that I actually liked reading their tweets and I thought it would be fun to join in the conversation…

So yes, I have now joined the dark side – or perhaps in my case I ought to say “the light side”, because if I was a real bird I guess I’d be one of those sombre ones that go either caw or hoot rather than chirp or tweet. Anyway, if you’re interested you can now check out my latest tweets/hoots at the bottom of this page or, of course, you can follow me directly on Twitter at: @historienerrant.

You surely don't expect ME to tweet, do you? (Owl mosaic on a Belle Époque tombstone, Central Cemetery, Vienna)

Incidentally, this whole Twitter thing has already given me an idea for what I think/hope will become a regular feature on this blog… In a recent tweet from Alberti’s Window I learned about a Wikipedia page dedicated to “Lost Artworks“. Basically that page is just a chronological list of “original pieces of art that credible sources indicate once existed but that cannot be accounted for in museums or private collections or are known to have been destroyed”. What immediately struck me, though, was the relative lack of artworks from the medieval period: There’s one entry for the 8th century (some Byzantine icons), one for the 11th century (the final portion of the Bayeux Tapestry), and seven entries for the 14th century (all of which refer to lost works by either Giotto or his great Sienese contemporaries, Duccio, Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti).

The thing is, however, that over the years, in the course of my own reading and research I have come across quite a few “lost” pieces of medieval art that are missing from that Wikipedia page. So I figured I’d write a blog post about some of them, something in the vein of The top ten “lost artworks” of the Middle Ages. No sooner thought than done, I sat down to write my own list of lost artworks from c. 800-1400. What can I say, about ten minutes later I had jotted down more than 60 entries on a piece of paper, and more kept popping into my head. It was then that I realized just one blog post wouldn’t do. I also realized that most of those artworks deserved to be treated in some depth and probably needed all the space of one post for themselves. So I decided to turn this into a recurring feature, a loose series of posts which will be published intermittently, at irregular intervals whenever I feel like it / have nothing else to blog about.

I hope that these posts will be of interest not only to the art lovers and art historians among you, but also to those with a more general interest in history and historical study, because one of the most fascinating thing about “lost” artworks is the question “If they’re lost, how do we even know about them? And what exactly do we know about their appearance?” In other words: More often than not, the study of lost artworks is basically all about documentary evidence and its interpretation.

Anyway, the first of these posts will appear, er, soon-ish. Before that however there will be one more regular post dedicated to artworks that are still extant and to two of the Middle Ages’ greatest heroes, King Arthur and Rostam. Watch out for it in the first days of January…

P. S.: Did I say this was just going to be a quick note? Well, apparently I was wrong…

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5 Responses to Twitter, and a new regular feature

  1. I was excited to see that you were in Twitter. And I’m flattered that my tweet inspired your post (and running series!). I look forward to reading your posts on lost works of art from the medieval period. I also noted that Wikipedia list is not comprehensive by any means. (I immediately thought that there be a bullet point for “Everything that Jan van Eyck created for Philip the Good.”)

  2. Shtina says:

    Great concept for a continuing series. I’m looking forward to reading them too!

  3. That sounds like a really interesting feature, I look forward to it. I remember in my early graduate education looking for textbooks about Carolingian-period art and coming across one by I think Davis-Weyer? which to my shock had no pictures. How can you do a book about art with no pictures, I thought? But it made a kind of sense in the end because it was all documentary sources with something to say about art, anthologised, because of course almost nothing from the period of any size survives unmodified…

  4. Thank you for the comments!

    @ Alberti’s Window: I have to say, your blog (and your tweets) are a continuing source of inspiration to me!
    And since you brought up Philip the Good of Burgundy, I believe it would be perfectly possible to dedicate the entire series to “lost artworks made for the dukes of Burgundy” – just think about all those lost tapestries so meticulously listed in their 14th/15th century inventories. But I shall try to bring a little more variety into the series ;-)

    @ Shtina: Welcome to the crazy world of L’historien errant! Hope you like it ;-)

    @ Jonathan Jarrett: I believe this would be the book you mean? That really is a great volume, and part of a great series (“Sources and Documents in the History of Art”) too.

  5. Pingback: Giotto’s Frescos in Naples (Lost Artworks #1) « L'Historien Errant

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