Antje Gamble and Pamela Stewart, U-M History of Art doctoral candidates, give short talks followed by Q & A.
Antje Gamble: "The Role of Marino Marini's Sculpture in the Cultural Cold War"
Marino Marini’s popularity among international collectors remained unrivaled among European sculptors throughout the 1950s. Especially in the United States, the enthusiastic reception of Marini’s sculpture first within the market and later critically allowed for his work to become an important marker for post-WWII European modernism.The 1949 exhibition Twentieth Century Italian Art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York sparked Marini’s import in the US and, at the same time, set the rhetorical frame for the American understanding of Marini work in the post-WWII international context. MoMA, in collaboration with the Italian Embassy and funded by the U.S. State Department, organized this historic exhibition which surveyed avant-guard and modern Italian artwork the previous forty years. The larger political motives for this exhibition meant that Italian art had to not only create a connection between the US and tradition of European high culture, but also to the rich humanist tradition, unique to Italy. His patrons hoped to reflect the same ideals within their collections and his Cavaliere, Pomone and portrait busts all represented a novel connection with the humanist past combined with the formalism of high modernist sculpture. The American reception of Marini’s work created a new frame within the burgeoning Cultural Cold War in which to understand Italian sculpture, specifically, and European culture, in general, as reflections of Democratic agency in art. About Antje Gamble.
Pamela Stewart: "Rilevato e incarnato: The Body of Christ in Titian's Crowning with Thorns"
Titian's quotation of the Laocoön in the Crowning with Thorns, completed in 1542 for the Milanese confraternity of Santa Corona, invites interpretation on multiple levels. As an exemplum doloris, Laocoön provides a paragon of heroic suffering and horrific spectacle; as an artifact of Roman antiquity, the sculpture engages with the Classical past; and, as a painting of a marble statue, Laocoön's inhabiting of Christ's body invokes one of the defining debates of the Italian Renaissance: the paragone. Scholarly considerations of the "rivalry of the arts" typically revolve around the artist's ingenio, leaving largely unexplored its connections to another central concern of the Cinquecento: the sacred image. Taking the Crowning with Thorns as a case study, this paper offers an exploratory investigation into the devotional significance of Titian's quotation of Laocoön. Early modern discussions about sculpture carried with them a variety of wider associations, many of which had spiritual implications. By examining the intersections between the unique aesthetics of the altarpiece with the religious culture of mid-Cinquecento Italy and with the spiritual practices of the confraternity of Santa Corona, we can more fully grasp the ways in which the chapel ensemble primed its confraternal audience to interact with the body of Christ. About Pamela Stewart.