Posts written by Mark Stocker

Healing Te Papa’s Achilles Heel: George Dawe Redefined!

Dawe 1

Posh ignorance vs. best practice Art historians and curators can be obstinately wrong and obtuse even about great masterpieces. A notorious example is Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (c. 1490) which should really be called Lady with a Ferret, but posh ignorance prevails. The best practitioners in the field are never afraid to… Read more »

Long she reigned over us: Queen Victoria at Te Papa

  • Victoria 13
  • Victoria 12
  • Victoria 10
  • Victoria 9a

With Queen Elizabeth II’s lengthy reign (my entire lifetime, and more!) now overtaking that of Queen Victoria, it makes sense to look at some of Te Papa’s fascinating and diverse objects that relate to the earlier monarch and empress. I can’t hope to summarise what Queen Victoria was like – that requires not a blog… Read more »

Holy mums-to-be! Rossetti at Te Papa

2 & 6 Visitation Rossetti

Mad for Rossetti ‘Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Even the name is extravagant, evoking Italy’s greatest poet and the angel of the Annunciation. It well suited Rossetti, for he was an extravagant man – in his art, in his poetry and in his emotions. Brilliant, witty, generous and loyal, he was irresistible to friends and to lovers’…. Read more »

How bazaar! J.F. Lewis and the Bezestein, El Khan Khalil, Cairo

  • cairo bazaar wc blackburn
  • P.282
  • lewis bezestein xies 01
  • MA_I292878.4901x7208 (1)

The English painter John Frederick Lewis (1804–1876)  was a fascinating and brilliant enigma to his contemporaries, and remains so today. He was certainly no pompous, verbose Victorian bore. At a dinner of the Society of Painters in Watercolours, Lewis delivered a memorable presidential address, rising from his seat, saying nothing, and promptly sitting down again…. Read more »

The other Princess Charlotte

Dawe 1

Nau mai ki te ao mārama, Pirinihi Hārata! Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, and may you prove a worthy spare for the heir, and a mini-feminist in your own right! The arrival of a baby daughter to the most famous woman in the world with an art history degree, the Duchess of… Read more »

Prints fit for a prince: a missive to Prince Charles

  • P1110631_Wallraf_museum_Canaletto_Grand_canal_de_Venise_WRM2549_rwk[1]
  • 500px-Royal_Monogram_of_Prince_Charles_of_Great_Britain.svg[1]
  • Page 4
  • Page 3

                    Sir, I realise that your punishing royal itinerary regrettably prevents any visit to these far-flung shores during Nga Toi Season 4. Nor does our digital technology as yet permit a truly intimate interaction with the delightful art works discussed below. However, I trust that this blog goes some way towards wafting you into a… Read more »

Art for Valentine’s Day

  • Valentine blog 8
  • Valentine blog 7
  • Valentine blog 6
  • Valentine blog 5

Feb. 14 is nigh!  A valid reason To commemorate the season Of love and matters of the heart As expressed in works of art, Chosen from our fine collection And brought to you, with much affection! The Valentine card in the form that we send (and hopefully receive) today only really became big business in… Read more »

Christmas Treasures from Te Papa

  • Xmas blog fig 5 reduced
  • Xmas blog fig 4 reduced
  • 1948-0005-3; Party, Christmas Eve; Circa 1930; Richardson, H L.
  • 1948-0005-3; Party, Christmas Eve; Circa 1930; Richardson, H L.

Seasonal Treasures from Te Papa In global terms, Aotearoa New Zealand is not a religiously observant nation. But we have long taken pride in being a tolerant one. Many of us thoroughly enjoy our Santa parades, carol services and, among cultural enthusiasts, full-on performances of Handel’s Messiah. It is difficult to imagine a publicly displayed… Read more »

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014): An Appreciation

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014), 2009 (Michael Hall, Te Papa)

By the Art Curators at Te Papa: Sarah Farrar, Athol McCredie, Lissa Mitchell, Chelsea Nichols, Justine Olsen, Rebecca Rice, Mark Stocker and Megan Tamati-Quennell The recent passing of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, CNZM, (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kurī, Te Aopōuri, Pākehā), the national museum’s Head of Arts & Visual Culture, leaves not only Te Papa but the wider art… Read more »

Watching goldfish in the nude: Thomas Benjamin Kennington’s Idlesse

T. B. Kennington, Idle Hours (The Goldfish Bowl

Is the painting Idlesse by Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856–1916) a late Victorian time-bomb, which would have delighted intellectual guru Michel Foucault, author of The History of Sexuality? Or is it an unjustly overlooked, chaste, white masterpiece, a victim of prudery and puritanism in its lack of exposure since its acquisition by the New Zealand Academy… Read more »