The Artist and His Studio in Baroque Bohemia
The National Gallery has opened a new permanent exhibition thus entitled (at the former St. George Monastery in Prague Castle).
The exhibition has two parts: the painter's studio and the sculptor's workshop. Separate sections of the painter's workshop are comprised by the organization, equipment, and the method of gaining commissions. The section ,The Battle Of Olympus - Art in Allegory` depicts in opposing pictures of Petr Brandl and Jan Kupecky the constant competitiveness of the artistic disciplines and the dispute on priority between painting and sculpture; the mutual closeness of the arts is represented in the painting of Rudolf-era painter B. Spranger.
,Painters in the Studio -- An Inventory` presents an inventory complmented by practical aids. ,The First Thought on Paper` presents the key role of preparatory sketches in the first phase of translating the author's thought into a concrete form. ,Repeated For Success The Art of Copying` presents graphic art, which had an irreplaceable place in the painter's studio. It served to spread knowledge of works and led to the creation of many copies even many years later (mainly of the works of J. Kupecky). ,The Hartmann Family Firm` presents the work of Jan Jakub Hartmann and his son Antonin, who both specialized in landscapes (without signatures or dates). The final section, ,Before the Work Is Born`, shows both the authenticity of sketches and models and, at the same time, the author's freedom of expression. The Czech master of oil painting sketches in the 18th century was V.V. Reiner, who made many preliminary sketches for his wall paintings.
The second part of the exhibition is devoted to the Sculptor's Workplace, which was home to a more numerous group of workers. It was led by a master-entrepreneur, who had to hand a journeyman but also hired assistants and apprentices for particular tasks. In the Baroque period workshops made use of new materials and developed a new method of collective work, enabling them to deal even with very extensive works. This consisted in repeated use of the same conceits -- both their own and those of others -- and the modification of solutions found. The usual course of work in the creation of monumental works of sculpture was: the artist created a work according to a someone else's model, most commonly that of a painter or an architect. The work of the studio was aided by a collection of subjects (engravings, drawings, casts antique and new, and especially a collection of small sculptures).
The exhibition is complemented by a serious of innovative guided tours entitled ,Please Come Along, I am the Master`, which give an insight into the studio of the Baroque artist. For schools and interested groups there is also the possibility of taking part in creative or theatre workshops.Olga Szymanska
(translated by Ian Finlay Stone)
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