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Title: Noble simplicity and sedate grandeur : the distillation of the classical in European taste and its consequences for Baroque and Hellenistic art
Author: Batten-Foster, Harriet
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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The subject of this thesis is the relationship between Italian Baroque sculpture of the seventeenth century - principally the work of Gianlorenzo Bernini - and Hellenistic sculpture of the third to fIrst centuries BCE. During the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the art of each period faced criticism for having subverted the classical tradition - the most damning accusation of which a work of art could stand accused. Yet Bernini would have been astonished to be labelled as non-classical. He studied in the classical collections of Papal Rome and his work was acclaimed by contemporaries as a continuation of antique models. Similarly Hellenistic art was considered, prior to the eighteenth century, to be the embodiment of the classical tradition with its most celebrated SCUlptures feted as exemplary models of ancient art. The question of exactly how and why this wholesale reversal of judgement occurred, how both Hellenistic and Baroque found themselves defmed as antithetical to the very tradition they em braced will form the dominant theme of this thesis. Central to my investigations will be the reassessment of the classical aesthetic which occurred during the eighteenth century. The shift towards an increasingly narrow definition where the classical was equated only with simplicity and order will be documented in parallel with the corresponding distaste at Baroque and Hellenistic art. The writing and, crucially, the reception of the work of Johannes Winckelmann will prove vital to an understanding of this transformation. I shall show that, reSUlting from the work of Winckelmann, a highly-idealised aesthetic was determined for the antique to which the flamboyant forms of the Hellenistic and the Baroque were antithetical and, as such, were widely disparaged. The fmal part of the thesis will document the rehabilitation of both Baroque and Hellenistic and the modern usage of the affirmative and non-judgemental phrase Hellenistic Baroque.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available