At the Louvre this Winter: ‘Antiquity Rediscovered’

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 3, 2010

From the Louvre:

L’Antiquité rêvée – Innovations et résistances au XVIIIe siècle /
Antiquity Rediscovered: European Art between the Antique and Reinvention, 1720-1790
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 3 December 2010 — 14 February 2011
Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 20 March — 30 May 2011

Curated by Marc Fumaroli (Paris) and Edgar Peters Bowron (Houston)

Pierre Julien, "Dying Gladiator," 1779 © 2007 Musée du Louvre / Pierre Philibert

The “neoclassical” trend emerged in the 18th century not only as a result of the processes of innovation and emulation, but also in response to Europe’s rediscovery of its ancient heritage. The exhibition will shed light on the origins of the movement and illustrate the diverse manifestations of the new aesthetic. Sculptures, paintings, decorative objects and graphic arts bear witness to the work of artists during this period. All neoclassicism’s protagonists will thus be represented, the exhibition showing both their individual styles and their reactions against their contemporaries’experiments. Two hundred works in all will be on view, curated by Marc Fumaroli of the French Academy.

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For anyone struck by the difference between the French and English titles of the exhibition, the contrast between the full descriptions is even more striking (the French summary is certainly more informative and generally characteristic of the scholarship of Fumaroli, whose contributions are here praised as “exceptionnelle”) . . .

Le courant « néoclassique » est né au XVIIIe siècle dans les processus d’innovation, d’émulation, mais aussi de résistance liés à la redécouverte du patrimoine antique. L’exposition fait découvrir les origines du mouvement et illustre les diverses manifestations d’une nouvelle esthétique. Sculptures, peintures, objets d’art et arts graphiques témoignent du travail des artistes de cette période. Tous les grands créateurs de l’époque sont ainsi représentés à la fois dans leur propre démarche et en réaction aux expérimentations de leurs contemporains : de Bouchardon à Houdon, de Piranèse à Boullée, de Batoni à Mengs, de Sergel à Flaxman, de Füssli à Blake et de David à Canova… (et aussi Pajou, Nollekens, Banks, Greuze, Goya, Cades, Adams, Soufflot, Ledoux, Wright of Derby, les vases de Wegdwood …). L’exposition est constituée d’une sélection de deux cents oeuvres, et bénéficie de la contribution exceptionnelle de Marc Fumaroli de l’Académie française.

3 Responses

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  1. Jon L. Seydl said, on August 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    There will also be a second venue of this exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (and an English-language catalogue), with more loans from American museums. The intellectual approach, according to the curator, will be quite different as well, evidently more focused on explaining the broader developments to public audiences less familiar with the intricacies of scholarship during the last two decades.

    • enfilade18thc said, on August 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks, Jon, for the extra information — this presumably explains the difference between the English and French descriptions. I see from the Yale University Press page, that the show will be at the Museum of Fine Art in Houston next year from March 20 to May 10. The catalogue information is as follows:
      Edgar Peters Bowron, Neoclassicism: A Taste for the Antique, 1730-90 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011), ISBN: 9780300169959, $19.95.

      Correction (added 10 May 2011)
      The catalogue is Antiquity Revived: Neoclassical Art in the Eighteenth Century by Guillaume Faroult, Christophe Leribault, Guilhem Scherf, et al (Paris: Gallimard, 2010), $45. It seems to be available only through the MFAH. Details are available here»

  2. Editor said, on July 2, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    A sense of the exhibition as it appeared in Houston is available in this article by curator Edgar Peters Bowron from Antiques & Fine Art Magazine.

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