Sculpture in Painting
8 Oct 2009 – 10 Jan 2010
Exhibition in Galleries 1, 2 and 3
This exhibition explores the relationship between art in two and three dimensions, looking at the dialogue and interplay between painting and sculpture.
Sculpture in Painting is the first exhibition at the Institute to consist only of paintings, bringing together thirty works from the 1500s to the present, including works by William Hogarth, Édouard Vuillard, and Titian.
The exhibition begins by looking at the juxtaposition of inanimate sculpture and the 'living' human subject. Frederic Leighton uses his depiction of the Parthenon frieze to lends his self-portrait academic weight, while Franz von Stuck and Loius Gauffier explore this divide more literally through the story of Pygmalion, the ancient Greek sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved, and through the blessing of Aphrodite brought her to life.
The second section of the show looks at more abstract manifestations of sculpture in painting, revealing the ways in which sculpture has influenced two-dimensional representation. Works here range from Jacob de Wit's amazingly illusionistic depictions of imaginary sculptures to portraits by artists such as Hogarth and Hamilton in which the sitters, male or female, are portrayed as statuesque.
In Gallery 3, Sculpture in Painting brings together a range of 'portraits' of sculpture. The quiet composition of William Nicholson's 'Statuettes and Rodin Bronze' from the early twentieth century and Tim Braden's considered, contemporary depictions of historical sculptures contrast with Edouard Vuillard's virtuoso brushstrokes suggesting statuettes on a mantelpiece.
Taking sculpture's depiction in painting right up to the present day, the exhibition clearly demonstrates that the two media still have a fascinating relationship and role to play with each other.