Perfect Poses?

Special Exhibitions /01.03 - 16.06.2019

The special exhibition, “Perfect Poses?” focuses on a critical period in the history of sculpture. In this period the battle between the idealised and the realistic expression lasted, namely the sculpture being created in 19th century Paris.

In the exhibition you can experience selected major works by such French sculptors as Carpeaux, Degas, Rodin, Maillol and Dalou. Each sculpture offers a unique aesthetic experience. The chosen material ranges from white marble to patinated bronze and ochre brown terracotta.

Poses and ideals

The exhibition shows how the individual artists each worked to make their sculptures express their artistic intentions through the bodies’ – and thereby the sculptures’ – fundamental poses. This also form the setting for the exhibition: seated, standing, in groups, motionless and in motion.

On one hand, the artists depict these absolutely fundamental human poses, with which we are all familiar. On the other hand they relate quite consciously to earlier sculptural traditions. Especially Greek sculpture, medieval Christian representations of the Madonna and Child and the more dramatic expression of the Baroque.

The basic forms of poses remain in many ways unchanged. They evoke recognition in modern body language and through, for example, dance or photography. But the ideals in sculptural imagery and motifs undergo great changes during the period. Artists relate directly to whether their works should strive for idealisation or verisimilitude: a universal problem in art which has been present since antiquity.

Two Collections Meet

This exhibition has been realised through a unique joint venture between the Glyptotek and the internationally renowned art museum, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. The two museums share the fact that they were each founded by a collector with a tremendous passion precisely for figurative sculpture and its capacity to tell the great stories of humanity.

The exhibition will be held in both Lisbon and at the Glyptotek. At both venues it will be possible to experience sculptures from the two collections in each other’s company. In this way the public will have an unparalleled chance to see works from the two collections in a new context.