CLASSIC BEAUTIES. At the Hermitage in Amsterdam by Marilena Dumitriu (I)

  • Published on May 13, 2019
  • 7th November 2018. At the Hermitage in Amsterdam.
    CLASSIC BEAUTIES at the Hermitage in Amsterdam
    Photos by Marilena Dumitriu and Dragoș-Radu Popescu-Comana.
    Music: Conie Francis. Tennesse Waltz.
    ROMANIA 14th May 2019
    "Hermitage Amsterdam offers a wonderful exhibition called CLASSIC BEAUTIES. ARTISTS, ITALY AND THE ESTHETIC IDEALS OF THE 18TH CENTURY. The exhibition shows 18th and 19th century art, inspired by finds from excavations in Italy during the same period. Though just one floor, there are over sixty works of art to admire and some are simply stunning. Roman and Greek works of art were found, which inspired a new interest in anything classical. Part of a European gentleman’s education was the Grand Tour, with time spent in Italy. Artists also flocked to Italy. Visitors to Italy included important and influential persons, like Goethe, as well as aristocrat and royalty like Tzar Paul I and his wife. They patronized local artists and often bought sculptures, paintings, drawings, prints. The first few exhibition spaces not only show how Italy influenced artists and collectors. It lists artists’ most important or influential works, as well as links to other contemporary artists. One thing becomes clear: Angelika Kauffmann knew practically all and sundry! Of course, this exhibition shows works by her. Art is also displayed by artists she knew. Works by Pompeo Batoni, Anton Raphael Mengs, Piranese and others impress. In the largest exhibition space are works by what the museum calls the most famous artist of his time: Antonio Canova. Canova’s statues are indeed the cherry and icing on this exhibition ‘cake’: truly stunning. His talent and skill in turning marble into seemingly frothy lace, or sensual bare skin, is simply baffling. The museum offers visitors the chance to admire and walk around his iconic ‘Three Graces’, ‘Amor and Psyche’ and ‘Hebe’, and five other works. Not that just Canova’s art impresses. There are plenty other sculptures to admire. But all are of course white. It would take quite a while for art historians to discover, that Roman and Greek statues had originally been painted over." .

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