Volume 22, Issue 1 | Spring 2023

Hidden Histories and Historical “Truth”: Konstantin Flavitsky’s Princess Tarakanova of 1864 and How Art Helped Change the Understanding of Russian History
Konstantin Flavitsky’s Princess Tarakanova (“Cockroach”) caused a succès de scandale at the annual exhibition of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg in 1864–65. The painting represents the legendary last moments of an impostor princess, who claimed to be the daughter of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (r. 1741–62) and her lover, Alexei Razumovsky. Imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, she purportedly drowned in her cell during the famous flood of 1777 (in reality, she died in 1775). This article discusses the controversy caused by Flavitsky’s painting, which casts a shadow over the history of Russia’s imperial dynasty, as an example of the role played by nineteenth-century Russian visual art in uncovering secrets untold in the country’s official historiography.
The fonds Desjardins and the Parisian Art Dealers of the Postrevolutionary Era
The fonds Desjardins, a group of approximately 180 religious paintings purchased in France by the Roman Catholic priest Philippe-Jean-Louis Desjardins and shipped to Québec, Canada, between 1816 and 1820 to be placed in local churches, provides a fascinating window into the history of art in Québec. Many aspects of the formation of the fonds, however, remain a mystery, as few primary sources address the acquisition of these paintings. This article analyzes a recently rediscovered letter, written by Philippe Desjardins in 1805, which sheds light not only on his purchases for the fonds but also, more broadly, on the practices of Parisian art dealers following the French Revolution of 1789, particularly as it pertains to the sale of religious artworks removed from closed churches and monasteries that found their way to the art market.
Turbulent Politics and a Stage for Democracy: Government and Governmentality in the Allegheny County Courthouse
This article considers the ways in which Henry Hobson Richardson’s Allegheny County Courthouse (completed in 1888) mediated a fraught relationship between citizens and their government in late nineteenth-century Pittsburgh. An analysis of the building’s fabric and the archival material that elucidates its initial reception reveals how Richardson’s courthouse served as an ennobling framework that helped restore trust between the citizens of industrial Pittsburgh and their local government following a wave of deadly labor protests in the 1870s and suspicion of political corruption.
Practicing Art History
From Research to Publication: The Jules Breton Catalogue Raisonné, Forty Years in the Making

Supported by:

Terra Foundation Fellowships in American Art
at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Book Reviews
Exhibition Reviews
Exhibition Dialogue