“History Tales. Fact and Fiction in History Painting” at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

By Last Updated: November 28, 2023Views: 145

The theme of the transhistorical exhibition “Historical past Tales. Truth and Fiction in Historical past Portray” has, fairly unexpectedly, turn into extremely topical, even frighteningly so, at this historic time of the much-cited “turning level.” Certainly, a geopolitical and financial equilibrium of values and forces seems to be out of step—additionally  triggered by the conflict in Ukraine—and a world shift of immeasurable proportions appears to be set in movement.

The Artwork Collections exhibition will discover the illustration of historical past and its narratives by way of identification and nation. How is the rise and fall of civilisations depicted in historical past? How has the hubris of humankind been allegorised in historical past work for the reason that 17th century? And what kind of media transformations has the invention of images and movie caused on the representations of myths, heroes, heroines, rulers and sovereigns in addition to on pivotal historic occasions for the reason that 19th century proper by means of to the current day?

The intention is to query and problem the understanding of historical past in representational depictions and their counter-images whereas analysing how sure origin myths and key historic occasions are all the time topic to interpretations formed by the age by which they’re “revisited.” “Historical past Tales” tells the story of those revisionary actions within the interpretation of “historical past work,” by means of which pictures of the previous can turn into encapsulated commentaries on the current.

Historical past portray on the transition to modernity
The historical past portray has been in vogue again and again ever for the reason that Renaissance proclaimed it was the pictorial style of the best order. Underneath the Solar King Louis XIV specifically, the French Academy underscored the superior worth of the doctrine of advantage conveyed by the historical past portray by means of the instance of nice occasions, heroes and heroines, rulers and sovereigns whereas substantiating the historical past portray as a propaganda machine with an underpinning of artwork idea. The style actually got here into its personal at the start of the 19th century, after which its specific deserves steadily gave option to typical bourgeois style and the quick tempo of widespread illustrations, press graphics and the brand new medium of images.

Industrialisation, social unrest, social upheavals and the affect of the French Revolution on the political construction of Europe specifically and the self-perception of an emergent bourgeoisie in addition to the impoverishment of enormous sections of the inhabitants proved to be the catalysts of an eventful transformation course of. These bourgeois tastes had been mirrored extra within the salons as a showcase for the self-representation of the gentry than within the academies and the moralising historical past portray taught there. Nonetheless, historical past portray all through the 19th century had the particular advantage of focusing consideration on historicity even because the age of a “headless” (i.e. monarch-less) modernity was dawning. Individuals’s curiosity in particular historic occasions steadily gave option to a specific curiosity in historical past as a mannequin reflecting the philosophy of historical past. The exhibition “Historical past Tales. Truth and Fiction in Historical past Work” units out to discover the complicated causes behind this transformation as a part of a defined itinerary.

Itinerary by means of the centuries to the current day
“Historical past Tales” takes up the up to date means of reassessment of the present place at a time when the discuss in every single place is of a ‘turning level’ in world historical past, with new nationalist tendencies and wars threatening to tear aside the political cloth, each in Europe and globally. Acquainted tropes comparable to “The Golden Age” and the “Iron Age” are invoked, i.e. instances of political and social prosperity and equilibrium and, against this, instances of decline, downfall and pure cataclysms.

Certainly, the thought of the rise and fall of civilisations is the start line of the brand new exhibition within the Work Gallery. It then continues through mythological depictions to narratives of nation-building, of heroes, heroines, guidelines and sovereigns, offset in opposition to anti-heroes and parodies in addition to harsh social criticism within the nonetheless comparatively younger mass medium of newspapers. Final however not least, the exhibition focuses on the French Revolution and its aftermath in addition to the Vienna Academy and its exponents Füger and successors, who revived heroic historical past work within the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Pure disasters comparable to volcanic eruptions (Pompeii) and their reception within the late 18th century should not excluded from the “accounts” rendered by travellers on their grand excursions. The affect of the invention of Pompeii in 1748 on whole generations—their vogue, structure and the idealisation of a post-Hellenistic polis—are additionally touched upon.

The position of battle depictions and their extra fictional than factual “occasion portray,” principally genre-like of their execution, from the 16th to the 21st century are additionally addressed, as is the literary, cross-media method to the Holocaust, the Second World Conflict and the wars in Lebanon and Afghanistan. This raises the query of the factuality and authenticity of images in addition to the aesthetic and ideological calls for positioned on the 19th century’s new medium for depicting actuality. Lastly, the Hansen Gallery leads into the inferno of the Bosch Room with its depictions of the Final Judgement, Dante’s Divine Comedy and Joseph Conrad’s Coronary heart of Darkness.

The exhibition examines historical past portray in addition to works by up to date artists.

Curated by:
Sabine Folie

at Academy of Superb Arts Vienna
till Might 26, 2024

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