Reviewed | Wax Exhibition in Venice

Posted in exhibitions, reviews by Editor on June 26, 2012

Notice of this exhibition appeared here at Enfilade back in March, but it’s nice to include a portion of Allison Goudie’s review from The British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. It also serves as a reminder of the rich offerings at the BSECS site. Links to other relevant reviews are included toward the bottom of this posting.

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Avere una Bella Cera: Le Figure in Cera a Venezia e in Italia, Exhibition at the Fortuny Museum, Venice (10 March – 25 June 2012)

Reviewed by Allison Goudie, University of Oxford; posted 16 May 2012

. . .The current exhibition was conceived by its curator, Andrea Daninos, as a tribute to Schlosser’s pioneering efforts. Daninos recently published an Italian translation of Schlosser’s History (Officina Libraria, 2011), accompanied by an augmented catalogue of works, complementing the 2008 English translation that was incorporated into the outstanding Getty Research Institute publication ‘Ephemeral Bodies: Wax Sculpture and the Human Figure‘. Certainly, as such publications demonstrate, recent scholarly interest in the medium of wax has already very quickly made up for lost time and made significant inroads towards writing the medium back into the history of art. The Italian title of the exhibition translates in English as ‘in the pink’ – an apposite assessment of the current scholarly enthusiasm for the medium.

All the while however, what has been lacking, rather conspicuously – and of particular urgency given the investment in the materiality of wax by contemporary scholarship – is a cohesive exhibition in which the physical objects of this hitherto lost chapter in the history of portraiture may be viewed quite literally in the flesh. The exhibition at Palazzo Fortuny does exactly this. While its scope may be limited to the Italian context, its treatment of it is comprehensive, surveying almost all the life-size wax portraits extant today in Italian collections, public and private, and broaching private and commemorative, religious and quasi-scientific applications of wax portraiture. A notable absence in this survey of Italian wax portraiture would be the work of Medardo Rosso, however Schlosser, too, chose not to extend his exploration of the topic into the modern age. It was the eighteenth century that witnessed an expansion of wax portraiture on a scale incomparable in other periods, and the majority of portraits on display are eighteenth-century works. . .

The full review is available here»

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Additional reviews available at the BSECS site

Nicholas Hawksmoor: Architect of the Imagination

Location: Royal Academy of Arts, London
Event Date: June 2012
Reviewed By: David Frazer Lewis, University of Oxford
An homage to Hawksmoor to mark the 350th anniversary of his birth.

Read Full Review…

1740, un Abrégé du Monde

Location: Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA), Galerie Colbert, Paris
Event Date: June 2012
Reviewed By: Valérie Kobi, University of Neuchâtel
This perfectly formed exhibition captures the essence of how knowledge was visualised in the age of the encyclopaedia.

Read Full Review.

Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed

Location: Royal Academy of Arts, London
Event Date: June 2012
Reviewed By: Allison Goudie, New College, Oxford
An impressive exhibition of the RA’s very own master of the conversation piece, Johan Zoffany.

Read Full Review…

Turner Inspired: in the Light of Claude

Location: National Gallery, London
Event Date: June 2012
Reviewed By: Clare Pettitt, King’s College, London
The new National Gallery show emphasises links between Turner and Claude, to the detriment of both.

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Taking Time: Paintings by Chardin

Location: Waddeston Manor, Aylesbury
Event Date: May 2012
Reviewed By: Hannah Williams, University of Oxford
An enlightening exhibition of the four versions of Chardin’s Boy Building a House of Cards.

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Luoghi Comuni

Location: Museo di Roma
Event Date: May 2012
Reviewed By: Hannah Malone
A subtle exhibition showing Rome and its many faces, as city and myth.

Read Full Review…

The Triumph of Pleasure

Location: The Foundling Museum, London
Event Date: May 2012
Reviewed By: Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson
Explore the world of Vauxhall Gardens at the Foundling Museum.

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