Sculpture and Plastic Art until 1900
24. Mar 2021 – 06. Feb 2022
»Honour tradition and learn how to recognise whatever eternally fruitful it contains: the love of nature and sincerity. These are the two strong passions of geniuses.«
What constitutes classical sculpture? 59 sculptural works from the Rau Collection for UNICEF gathered in the Kunstkammer illustrate facets of the historical development of sculpture and plastic art from the Middle Ages to modernity.
Medieval sculpture often is in close dialogue with the church architecture surrounding it. Concentrated and meditative, it embodies clear religious messages. It was not until the Renaissance that sculptural works also conquered the private space. In strict classical poses, but full of narrative drive, they occupied the art chambers of the humanists. Eventually, stone gods of antiquity cavort playfully and sensuously in the gardens and interiors of Baroque castles. The religious Baroque sculptures of the Counter-Reformation focus on strong, moving emotions. They portray the martyrdoms of the saints in a shockingly drastic manner and depict Mary as a suffering mother. In times of great religious wars and crises, sculpture aims to be touching, moving, meaningful. During the Enlightenment of the 18th century, the religious content disappeared. Now the era’s philosophers who provoke social change are raised to the pedestal: the statues of these heroes conquer the public space. They proclaim faith in the future and in progress. In the private sphere, however, some people celebrate themselves and their families by imitating the sculptural ancestral galleries of the revered classical age. The marble or terracotta portraits of this era are precise and realistic. They are close to the original, nothing remains abstract and they depict every detail right down to the lace decoration.
Impressionist sculpture towards the end of the 19th century then directs attention to a brief, passing moment of soulful movement.
These sources of inspiration constitute the pedestal and foundation for the plastic and sculptural work of Auguste Rodin and Hans Arp, two outstanding pioneers of art in their respective times. Their innovative work will be presented in the parallel exhibition »RODIN / ARP« from 27 June to 14 November 2021.