Exhibition | Princely Splendour: The Power of Pomp

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 19, 2016

From the Belvedere:

Princely Splendour: The Power of Pomp / Fürstenglanz: Die Macht der Pracht
Winter Palace, Vienna, 18 March — 26 June 2016

Anton von Maron, Emperor Joseph II with the Statue of Mars, 1775 (Vienna: KHM-Museumsverband)

Anton von Maron, Emperor Joseph II with the Statue of Mars, 1775 (Vienna: KHM-Museumsverband)

The exhibition Princely Splendour: The Power of Pomp explores collecting in the Baroque period and uses the transformation of Prince Eugene’s Winter Palace into a modern museum as an opportunity to look back to princely splendor, Baroque galleries, and the art of order. At the heart of the exhibition are the lavish catalogues of the major European Baroque galleries, proclaiming the prestige of their creators and also marking the origins of modern exhibition and art catalogues. They document princely ideals of beautiful interiors, provide glimpses behind concepts of Baroque (re)presentation and reflect classification systems, ‘public’ accessibility, and display practices typical of the period. These original collection catalogues are combined with portraits of the princes and a selection of paintings from their collections. The exhibition is the first to explore this phenomenon from a pan-European perspective and compare the most important princely collectors from the Baroque period.

Princely Splendour demonstrates the importance that Europe’s former ruling dynasties attached to their art collections. For centuries, owning art was used as a way of flaunting power. This development was accompanied by the increasing status of artists, particularly painters, in the emerging Baroque period. Talented artists became the favourites of princes and securing their services for the court, and the exclusive rights to their work this entailed, were further ‘puzzle pieces’ in the power structure. At the height of the Baroque period outstanding talents, such as Peter Paul Rubens, could even be promoted to diplomats and enjoyed the status of ‘painter princes’.

The exhibits include Theatrum Pictorium (Theatre of Painting), published by court painter David Teniers the Younger in 1660. This lavishly illustrated work is a testimony to the Habsburg Archduke Leopold Wilhelm’s passion for collecting and represents the birth of these elaborately designed books with printed reproductions of the artworks. Also featuring in the exhibition are Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s Tableaux du Cabinet du Roi created under France’s King Louis XIV; the Dresden Galeriewerk under August III, elector of Saxony and king of Poland; as well as a Prodromus, a type of preview compiled under the Austrian Emperor Charles VI in Baroque Vienna around 1720–30 with over one thousand planned painting reproductions grouped into miniature tableaus. This pan-European show features outstanding loans from the Louvre and other museums, with the state portrait of the French Sun King from the Palace of Versailles as the exhibition’s highlight.

The Imperial Picture Gallery’s move from Vienna’s Stallburg to the Upper Belvedere presented an ideal opportunity to compile a new guide to the collection. This small-scale publication provides an insight into the concept and organization of the new hanging which, when compared with other European galleries, reveals a completely new, rationalized order. Increasingly, large albums were being replaced by more reasonably priced shorter catalogues, reflecting the public’s wishes to enjoy the collection in the form of handy guides. In the spirit of the Enlightenment, the opening of aristocratic collections to a new, wider public went hand in hand with the evolution of these gallery catalogues.

Agnes Husslein-Arco and Tobias G. Natter, ed., Fürstenglanz: Die Macht der Pracht (2016), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-3902805973, 39€.


Exhibition | The Grand Tour: Joseph Wright and the Lure of Italy

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 19, 2016


Joseph Wright, letter including sketches of Castel Saint’ Angelo and Saint Peter’s in Rome, 1774
(Derby Museums Trust)

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One of this year’s installments in the Grand Tour series, which explores the topic as related to people and collections in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire:

The Grand Tour: Joseph Wright and the Lure of Italy
Derby Museum and Art Gallery, 19 March — 12 June 2016

For many wealthy Europeans, The Grand Tour, which reached its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries, marked a rite of passage that culminated in a visit to Italy; a country rich in the remains of classical history, art, and landscape. Among these tourists were Derbyshire men and women, including the artist Joseph Wright, who made his own artistic pilgrimage between 1773 and 1775. This exhibition draws upon this formative period in Wright’s life, alongside the experiences of his fellow Derbeians abroad. Among paintings and drawings from Derby Museums’ collection are treasures gathered together from public and private collections in Derbyshire and further afield, some of which have never before been seen in Derby.

Masterpieces by Pompeo Batoni and other early Italian Renaissance artists are shown alongside examples of Wright’s highly-skilled work, revealing how his time on the continent influenced his practice. Also on display is a folio of Raphael engravings the Derbyshire artist purchased whilst in Rome in 1775.


Exhibition | A Grand Tour of The Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 19, 2016
Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), Venice: A View of the Doge’s Palace and the Riva degli Schiavoni from the Piazzetta, ca.1729, oil on copper panel,  45.7 x 61 cm (Chatsworth House, Derbyshire)

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One of this year’s installments in the Grand Tour series, which explores the topic as related to people and collections in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire:

A Grand Tour of The Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, 19 March — 23 October 2016

From the Grand Tour of the 2nd Earl in the company of his tutor, the famous philosopher Thomas Hobbes, to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire’s exile on the continent, A Grand Tour of The Devonshire Collection looks at what they saw, where they went—and what they and their contemporaries bought. The exhibition also demonstrates the impact of the Grand Tour at home through the introduction of new ideas and styles of art and architecture. This includes the overthrow of Baroque by Palladianism, triggered by the travels of Inigo Jones and later, the 3rd Earl of Burlington (father-in-law of the future 4th Duke of Devonshire).

As part of A Grand Tour of The Devonshire Collection, the Old Master Drawings Cabinet hosts displays of artists’ impressions of what Grand Tourists saw on their travels. This will start with ‘Rome in Ruins’—an evocative collection of drawings by Sebastian Vrancx, previously unseen at Chatsworth.

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