Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On Display: The Epic and the Intimate

The Epic and the Intimate: French Drawings from the John D. Reilly Collection at the Snite Museum of Art is a travelling exhibition compiled by the University of Notre Dame’s museum.
The exhibition contains 60 examples tracing the history of French drawings, some of them from before the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture’s establishment, and dating through the French Revolution in 1789. Those 60 drawings, however, are only a taste of the highlights of the full collection at Notre Dame. The John D. Reilly ’63 Collection of Old Master and Nineteenth-Century Drawings currently holds more than 500 French drawings assembled through the collaboration of Reilly and emeritus curator Stephen Spiro.
As the aim of The Epic and the Intimate is to depict a specific period in French history, the collection features work by such artists as Antoine Watteau, Charles de la Fosse and Eugène Delacroix. Most of these drawings were produced during the late 1600s to the early 1700s and, as such, represent a turning point not only in French history, but also in French artistic style. The majority of these revolutionary techniques, in drawing especially, were compounded by the founding of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1648. The Academy was responsible for opening schools, appointing instructors and organizing competitions. It ultimately monopolized the art market, generating an influx of new artistic design. One of the changes in technique included a focus on the intimate details of the subject, cultivating a more in-depth and powerful scene or portrait for the viewer.

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson (1767 – 1824), Christ Led from Pilate, ca. 1789, black chalk on off-white laid paper.
Snite Museum of Art: Gift of Mr. John D. Reilly ’63, 2000.074.007.

So far, the exhibition has travelled from the Snite Museum to the Flint Institute of Arts in Flint, Mich., and will be featured at the Crocker Art Museum in California next year. Through the efforts of Lynn Boland (the Georgia Museum of Art’s Pierre Daura Curator of European Art), the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art, GMOA has secured a spot in its schedule for The Epic and the Intimate, and the collection will be on display at the museum from August 18 until November 3 of this year.

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