The seventh and final in an image series highlighting the Portland Art Museum exhibition: Gods And Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Thank you to all at the Portland Art Museum for bringing this wonderful, beautiful, and informative exhibition to Portland. Go see this show!!
School of Pierre Puget | French, 1620-1694
Hercules Seated, c. 1700 | Terracotta
Hercules is depicted sitting on the corpse of the vicious Nemean lion he has just slain. He does not seem triumphant, but scornful and restless, ready for his next challenge.
Puget was skilled in architecture, sculpture, and painting, and no other French artist ever attained such versatility. Although the great sculptor and architect Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) recognized Puget as his equal, Louis XIV did not value his free, expressive spirit. The Sun King was more comfortable with artists whose works presented more definitive celebrations of heroism and majesty.
(Excerpt from the Portland Art Museum exhibition description)
The fifth in an image series highlighting the Portland Art Museum exhibition: Gods And Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Julie Duvidal de Montferrier (Countess, Madame Hugo) French, 1797-1865 Self-Portrait, (detail) c. 1820 | Oil on canvas Julie Duvidal de Montferrier portrays herself as a modern-day Mona Lisa in a turban and shawl, exotic fashions popularized in the wake of Napoleon’s campaigns in Egypt and Syria. Many women artists of the period specialized in portraiture, often bringing greater sensitivity than their male counterparts to the expression of character. Excluded as a woman from the École, the artist became a private pupil of Baron François Gerard (1770-1837), and her history paintings and portraits were shown at the Salon from 1819 to 1827. She married the elder brother of the great Romantic writer Victor Hugo who, though he celebrated her in an ode, denounced her loose lifestyle. (Excerpt from Portland Art Museum exhibition description)
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905)
Zenobia Discovered by Shepherds on the Banks of the Araxes | Detail | 1850 | Oil on canvas
This was the final painting Bouguereau submitted for the Prix de Rome competition of 1850. The subject was taken from the Annals of the Roman historian Tacitus. He tells of Zenobia, the pregnant wife of a king of Armenia, who is forced to flee with her husband after he is defeated in war. Fearing that she would be captured and tortured, the king decides to kill Zenobia. He stabs her and flings her body into the river, but she survives. Some shepherds find her and tend to her wounds, as Bouguereau depicts. (Excerpt from Portland Art Museum exhibition description)
Unknown artist | Female Torso | 1st century BC | Roman copy after the Aphrodite of Cnidus by Praxiteles. The second in an image series highlighting the great Portland Art Museum exhibition: Gods And Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. This torso is one of countless Roman variations on the form of the Aphrodite of Cnidus by Praxiteles, one of the most renowned marble sculptures of ancient Greece. The great artist and painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres shipped it from Rome to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. For Ingres, it epitomized female beauty and inspired many of his depictions of sensual female nudes. The torso was long located in the courtyard of the École, and when students faced a competitive exam, they would caress her hips for luck. (Excerpt from the Portland Art Museum exhibition description)
The Portland Art Museum treats our great city to another beautiful exhibition: Gods And Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. This week, pdx|cept will feature a series of images from the show, beginning with this striking exhibition banner outside the museum’s entrance.
“This rich overview of masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts—the original school of fine arts in Paris and a repository for work by Europe’s most renowned artists since the seventeenth century—will include approximately 140 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper dating from antiquity through the nineteenth century.
The exhibition will focus on epic themes such as courage, sacrifice, and death, as well as the ways that changing political and philosophical systems affected the choice and execution of these subjects. Among the featured works will be paintings by Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Anne-Louis Girodet, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres; sculpture by Antoine-Louis Barye, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Jean-Antoine Houdon, and François Rude; and drawings by Simon Vouet, Antoine-Jean Gros, and Théodore Géricault.
Gods and Heroes will offer unique insight into the development of an aesthetic ideology that fostered some of western art’s most magnificent achievements. The epic deeds of gods and heroes, enshrined in the Bible and the works of Homer, were the primary narratives from which both aspiring and established academicians drew their inspiration. At the École, learning how to construct persuasive and powerful paintings from carefully delineated anatomy, expressive faces, and convincing architectural and landscape settings was understood to be the route to success and recognition. The ideology was rooted in the study of the idealized human form as envisioned in classical art. The exhibition will feature extraordinary works that served as models for the students, including ancient sculpture, a drawing by Raphael, and prints by Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn.” (Excerpt from the Portland Art Museum website)