Exhibition | Winckelmann, Florence, and the Etruscans
Winckelmann turns 300 next December 9th. In anticipation of the event, the National Archaeological Museum presents this exhibition:
Winckelmann, Florence, and the Etruscans: The Father of Archeology in Tuscany
Winckelmann, Firenze e gli Etruschi: Il padre dell’archeologia in Toscana
Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Florence, 26 May 2016 — 30 January 2017
Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768), the Prussian art scholar who was superintendent of antiquities of Rome, had a purpose behind his stay in Florence: to broaden knowledge of the Etruscan civilization. From 1758 to 1759, Winckelmann lived in Florence, where he hoped to complete his work. Ahead of the three hundredth anniversary of his birth—and while waiting to celebrate more widely with a conference in 2017—the Archaeological Museum of Florence presents the exhibition Winckelmann, Firenze e gli Etruschi (Winckelmann, Florence and the Etruscans), from May 26 to January 30, 2017.
Winckelmann’s studies of classical works, particularly his Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (The History of Art in Antiquity) of 1764, promoted the aesthetics of neoclassicism and created a sensibility and a taste that influenced all of late eighteenth-century Europe; furthermore, the Winckelmann methodological approach provides the basis of modern art history. The exhibition, installed on the ground floor of Florence’s Archaeological Museum, consists of three sections. The first addresses the study of antiquities and private collecting in mid-eighteenth-century Florence. The second section is more specific to Winckelmann’s Florentine studies, including his cataloguing of Baron von Stosch’s collection of gems, of which casts are on exhibit. Finally, the third section shows the cultural legacy that Winckelmann left to the Grand Ducal city and the whole of Europe, with the neoclassical style born from this man’s notes and publications.
Visitors are welcomed to the exhibition by the large, late-Etruscan bronze sculpture of The Orator (Aulus Metellus). It must be remembered, however, that in Winckelmann’s opinion, Etruscan art was not at the level of Greek art because of the Etruscans’ inability to detach themselves from their passions. After visiting this exhibit, visitors can continue on to the Museum to admire other masterpieces of Etruscan art, including the Chimera and the Idolino.
Barbara Arbeid, Stefano Bruni, Mario Iozzo, eds., Winckelmann, Firenze e gli Etruschi: Il padre dell’archeologia in Toscana / Winckelmann, Florenz und die Etrusker: Der Vater der Archäologie in der Toskana (Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 2016), 347 pages, ISBN: 978 8846745187 (Italian) / ISBN: 978 8846745194 (German), 28€.