18th Century Gallery Grids
June 4, 2011 5:44 AM   Subscribe

I've recently visited the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome, and there I discovered gallery walls ordered in a very crowded grid, "a grid that is typical to the 18th century", according to the audio guided tour. I tried looking for further material on such wall arrangements, the history of curation, perhaps, or the concept of Grid in the practice of gallery curation. I've found none. Can you recommend any leads (books/links) for learning such a subject?
posted by lipsum to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
salon style
posted by R. Mutt at 6:11 AM on June 4, 2011

Also, I am sure that there would be an academic study of this. I just can't think of one off the top of my head. I would start by looking at university press sites, like MIT Press.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:26 AM on June 4, 2011

Salon wiki The Salon exhibited paintings floor-to-ceiling and on every available inch of space. The jostling of artwork became the subject of many other paintings, including Pietro Antonio Martini's Salon of 1785. Printed catalogues of the Salons are primary documents for art historians. Critical descriptions of the exhibitions published in the gazettes marks the beginning of the modern occupation of art critic.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:42 AM on June 4, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks!
posted by lipsum at 6:58 AM on June 4, 2011

Grid is a bad translation. The term is salon style. Now they teach you to hang all the pieces with the primary active imagery at 5'7".
posted by Ironmouth at 7:43 AM on June 4, 2011

Response by poster: Thought "grid" might be a bad a translation, as it was my first association looking at these walls. Thanks for your comment.
posted by lipsum at 8:17 AM on June 4, 2011

Best answer: One of the earliest discussions of picture hanging is by Sir Henry Wotton, in The Elements of Architecture (1624), where he lays down as a general rule 'that no Room be furnished with too many [pictures]; which, in truth, were a Surfeit of Ornament, unless they be Galleries, or some peculiar Repository for Rarities of Art'.

Modern scholarly discussions of the history of picture hanging include:

John Fowler & John Cornforth, English Decoration in the 18th Century (1984). (Includes a chapter on 'Attitudes to Pictures and Picture Hanging'.)
E.H. Gombrich, The Uses of Images (1999).
Francis Haskell, The Ephemeral Museum: Old Master Paintings and the Rise of the Art Exhibition (2000).
David Carrier, Museum Skepticism: A History of the Display of Art in Public Galleries (2006).
posted by verstegan at 3:22 PM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you, verstegan!
posted by lipsum at 5:44 AM on June 5, 2011

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