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Rakewell

Prop appeal – Martin Scorsese’s neoclassical stylings

8 November 2019

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

Rakewell is all set for a trip to his local multiplex to see Martin Scorsese’s new film, The Irishman – and not least because Scorsese’s mob setting makes such a change from the art world.

Your correspondent’s curiosity has been piqued by a still of hoodlum Russell Bufalino (head of a Pennsylvania crime family in the ’50s, and played here by Joe Pesci) framed by some of the must-haves of mafia life – photographs of mob dinners and an ashtray, plus a bottle of amber liquor to hand. And behind him, a capriccio of the ruins of Rome… Spoils from a heist? Mafia collateral? A Giovanni Paolo Panini perhaps?

Rakewell’s sleuthing leads him not to the Grand Tour and its glorious ruins, but to a prop store in New York – where you can find a work listed as ‘Italian Neo-classic Hubert Robert style (20th Cent) landscape oil painting with a figures and ruins next to the Temple of Vesta and Arch of Titus in a gold carved frame [sic]’. Rental price: $595.

Prop appeal? Hubert Robert for hire

Pesci’s picture certainly has the same frame as the prop – and the butterscotch glow of the Arch of Titus and Temple of Vesta in the background. The Hubert Robert that it copies is a less sickly thing entirely. Just don’t tell Pesci.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.

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