Jacques-Louis David, Erasistratus Discovers the Cause of Antiochus' Disease, 1774, Oil on canvas. École des Beaux-Arts, Paris (PRP 18). Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts.

GODS AND HEROES

Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris

JUN 13 – SEP 13, 2015

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 François Boucher, Nicolas Poussin, and Jean-Antoine Watteau.

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, drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Titian, and prints by Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue with a major essay by Guest Curator Emmanuel Schwartz, Conservateur du patrimoine/Research Curator at the École des Beaux-Arts, as well as several other major contributions.

Organized by the American Federation of Arts and the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris; host curated by Dawson Carr, Ph.D., The Janet and Richard Geary Curator of European Art.

Supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. The exhibition tour is generously supported by the JFM Foundation and Mrs. Donald M. Cox. In-kind support is provided by Barbara and Richard S. Lane and Christie's.

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