Sunday, January 25, 2015

Culture: Bartholomeus Spranger - Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague @ Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - I am a connoisseur of contemporary art, but I also enjoy the old masters. Some of them defined the way we see the world around us and influenced generations of artists. Bartholomeus Spranger was a pioneer of visual art. The painter, who lived from 1546 till 1611, was born in Belgium but made his living mostly in Prague where he served a cardinal, a pope, and two Holy Roman Emperors. Spranger was one of the most prominent artists at the court of emperor Rudolf II in Prague and the most significant Northern Mannerist artist of his generation (wikipedia).

Last week I visited the show "Bartholomeus Spranger: Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague" @ New York`s gigantic Metropolitan Museum of Art (the exhibition ends on February 1 2015 metmuseum). I was impressed how strongly the artist used colors, how delicate he displayed the features and how he played with light & shadows.

Apparently Spranger had an eye for women and he enjoyed sex. During my visit I overheard a guide talking about the "dominance of the female". The artist camouflaged his steamy illustrations with classical stories and often used quotes of the bible. It is really fun to observe how the artist played with his hyper-religious and bigot environment by using ridiculous religious titles for his highly erotical paintings. Maybe his employers, including popes, cardinals and emperors, shared secretly his humor and they might have enjoyed the mimikry.

                                                    Dominance Of The Female

Often his paintings tell a little story which was mostly a fake to hide the real intentions. On the top of this post you can see "Venus and Mercury", followed by a detail of "The Blindfolding Of Cupid" and "Hercules and Omphale". The next paintings are "Venus and Adonis" and "Jupiter and Antiope".

Above this paragraph you can see another quote of old Greek legends: A detail of  "Competition between Apollo and Pan".

The face above this paragraph belongs to "The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist". I chose this segment because it shows the mastership of Spranger. Below follow a detail of "The mystic marriage of Saint Catherine with Saint John The Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist" (sic) and "Vanitas".

 Above this paragraph you can see some examples of Spranger`s drawings.


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