Blake at the Morgan

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 29, 2009

From the Morgan website:

William Blake’s World: “A New Heaven Is Begun”
Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 11 September 2009 — 3 January 2010

William Blake, “Behemoth and Leviathan,” ca. 1805–10 (NY: Morgan)

Visionary and nonconformist William Blake (1757–1827) is a singular figure in the history of Western art and literature: a poet, painter, and printmaker. Ambitiously creative, Blake had an abiding interest in theology and philosophy, which, during the age of revolution, inspired thoroughly original and personal investigations into the state of man and his soul. In his lifetime Blake was best known as an engraver; he was later recognized for his innovations across many other disciplines.

In the Morgan’s first exhibition devoted to Blake in two decades, former director Charles Ryskamp and curators Anna Lou Ashby and Cara Denison have assembled many of Blake’s most spectacular watercolors, prints, and illuminated books of poetry to dramatically underscore his genius and enduring influence. William Blake’s World: “A New Heaven Is Begun”—the subtitle a quote from Blake referring to the significance of his date of birth—is on view from September 11, 2009, to January 3, 2010.

The show includes more than 100 works and among the many highlights are two major series of watercolors, rarely displayed in their entirety. The twenty-one watercolors for Blake’s seminal illustrations for the Book of Job—considered one of his greatest works and revealing his personal engagement with biblical texts—were created about 1805–10. Also on view are twelve drawings illustrating John Milton’s poems L’Allegro and Il Penseroso, executed about 1816–20. Both series were undertaken for Blake’s principal patron, Thomas Butts. (more…)

At the Watteau Show with a Dance Critic

Posted in exhibitions, reviews by Editor on November 29, 2009

In today’s New York Times, Alastair Macaulay considers Frederick Wiseman’s new documentary La Danse alongside the Watteau exhibition now at the Met:

Nicolas Lancret, "La Camargo Dancing” ca. 1730 (DC: National Gallery)

. . . Many of us who love ballet have found our feelings on this film to be conflicted. By chance, I saw it a few hours before I attended the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition “Watteau, Music and Theater.” What a difference! If you love dance, “La Danse” isn’t the place to see why; “Watteau, Music and Theater” certainly is. The display fills only two rooms. Many of its pictures, especially those by Watteau himself, are not related to dance. Yet it spans, and often illuminates, the first century of existence of the institution in the film, the Paris Opera Ballet. True, ballet then was almost a different species. The paintings here help show the impact of the most famous achievement of the celebrated Paris Opera ballerina Marie Camargo, seen in a classic Nicolas Lancret painting from about 1730: the shortening of her skirts to give full exposure to her ankles and lower calves. “Watteau, Music and Theater” makes the dance of that era feel pristine. Here is the sunrise of a tradition. . .

For the full article, click here»

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