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(b Stuttgart, Oct 15, 1758; d Stuttgart, Dec 8, 1841).

German sculptor and collector. He received his initial artistic training (1771–80) at the Militärische Pflanzschule in Stuttgart, where he revealed a talent for drawing and sculpture. His most important tutors were the Belgian sculptor Pierre François Lejeune (1721–90) and the French painter Nicolas Guipal, an admirer of Mengs. Also of great importance to Dannecker were friendships with his fellow sculptor and rival Philipp Jakob Scheffauer (1756–1808), with the painter Philipp Friedrich Hetsch, and above all with the German writer Friedrich Schiller, who had a decisive influence on Dannecker’s intellectual development. In 1780 Dannecker was appointed court sculptor at Stuttgart and was thus obliged to decline later offers to work in Dresden, St Petersburg and Munich. His first undertaking was to complete sculptural sketches by others, for example Lejeune. From 1783 to 1785 Dannecker visited Paris to study with Augustin Pajou and there came to know the virtuoso portrait sculpture of artists working under Louis XVI. He then went on foot to Rome, where he remained for four years. Because of his enthusiasm for antique art, he was soon known as ‘il Greco’. He cultivated the acquaintance of the Swiss sculptor Alexander Trippel, the antiques restorer and dealer Capvaceppi, and, most important of all, the already well-established Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. The classical outlook favoured by Canova had a decisive effect on Dannecker’s subsequent work....

Article

Pascal Griener

(b Aix-en-Provence, June 21, 1752; d Bouleau, Seine-et-Marne, Feb 13, 1830).

French sculptor and writer. He worked for a goldsmith in Paris before devoting himself to sculpture, in which he was self-taught. Thanks to an allowance from an uncle who had adopted him, he was able to study sculpture in Italy in the early 1780s; there he struck up a friendship with Jacques-Louis David. On his return he was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale in Paris in 1788, and was received (reçu) as a member in the following year. On coming into a fortune, he returned in 1790 to Italy, where he lived until 1793, chiefly in Florence, Rome and Naples. He brought back with him what was the richest collection in France of plaster casts after antique sculpture, which he exhibited to the public at his house in the Place Vendôme, Paris. When, in 1796, Napoleon plundered some of the best-known antique sculptures of Rome, Giraud protested about their removal....

Article

Pomposa  

Charles B. McClendon

Italian former Benedictine abbey near the mouth of the Po River and 45 km north of Ravenna in the province of Emilia Romagna. Although first documented in ad 874, a monastic settlement probably existed there at least two centuries earlier. Pomposa rose to prominence in the 10th and 11th centuries through the support of the Holy Roman emperors. Over the course of the 14th century, a notable series of wall paintings in three different buildings were sponsored despite the monastery’s waning fortunes. In 1663 the monastic community was suppressed by papal decree. The site was secularized in 1802 and became property of the Italian state after 1870.

The proportions of the wooden-roofed basilican church, along with the polygonal outline of its main apse, reflect influence from nearby Ravenna and Classe and suggest a date in the 8th or 9th century. An elaborate pavement of mosaic and cut stone (opus sectile...

Article

(b Copenhagen, Nov 13, 1768 or Nov 19, 1770; d Copenhagen, March 24, 1844).

Danish sculptor and collector, active in Italy. He spent most of his working life in Rome, where, after the death of Antonio Canova in 1822, he became the foremost Neo-classical sculptor. Although the heroic quality of his early Roman work was later modified by certain naturalistic features, he never abandoned his fundamental, classicizing ideals (see fig.). His pan-European reputation led to commissions from public and private patrons in many countries, and in order to supply these he ran a large and well-organized studio. His collection of contemporary paintings was probably the finest in 19th-century Rome and, together with many of his sculptures, is now housed in the Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen (opened 1848). (Unless otherwise stated, the models and versions of the works mentioned in this entry are there.) In the decades after his death, the taste for Neo-classicism, and thus his reputation, declined, and it was not until the mid-20th century that his art was re-evaluated....