The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced this week plans to feature the bronze sculptures of 19th-century French artist Antoine-Louis Barye. On view until August 22, 2021, Romantic Bronzes showcases more than 30 works of art. The exhibition illustrates the distinctive features and methods of bronze casting, exploring the historical period and stylistic approach that make the sculptor’s works a singular part of VMFA’s European collection.
“Over the past 20 years, Patti St.Clair [Mrs. Nelson L. St.Clair, Jr.] has donated an outstanding collection of Barye’s casts to VMFA,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “We are very fortunate to now have one of the premier collections of the artist’s finest work, thanks to both the generosity of Mrs. St.Clair and the connoisseurship she has demonstrated in carefully choosing each of these sculptures.”
The exhibition, organized by Dr. Sylvain Cordier, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art, is an invitation to learn about the various motivations and techniques involved in the art of bronze casting in the age of Romanticism.
Beginning in the 1820s, many artists began creating works that defied the rigid figurative conventions of France’s Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Bored with the classical principles and influences from ancient Greek and Roman art that the Neoclassical school had perpetuated to the point of exhaustion, these artists devised figurative means for expressing more directly emotional and subjective approaches to their subject matter. The tension, movement and dynamism of this new aesthetic would characterize the Romantic movement in French art and literature that became prominent over the course of the 19th century.
Antoine-Louis Barye is among the most original artists to emerge from the Romantic movement in France, and today he is recognized as one of the most important sculptors of the period. At the beginning of his career, Barye worked under the close guidance of his goldsmith father while simultaneously apprenticing with some of France’s most preeminent sculptors. At the age of 23, Barye was admitted to the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts. The young artist started sculpting and casting bronzes in his distinctive and expressive style while working in the studio of sculptor François Bosio. The majority of these three-dimensional works were modeled on the detailed drawings of animals that he frequently sketched in Paris’s zoological gardens.
“What distinguishes Barye’s bronzes from those of the majority of his contemporaries is the predominance of the animal figures that enliven his subjects and convey diverse extremes of passion capable of moving his audience,” said Dr. Cordier. “With his obsessive scrutiny of animal behavior, Barye was hunting for innovative ways of representing heroism, dignity and similar perennial themes. Human figures most often appear as minor accessories to the visions of bestial nature that each of his compositions stage. Today, a growing sense of our responsibility for the health and conservation of our planet’s ecosystems underscore our appreciation for the beauty of uncivilized nature and the nobility of the animal kingdom that are always present in Barye’s oeuvre.”
The exhibition Romantic Bronzes is free. Visitors can customize a guided digital tour by scanning the QR codes included on the exhibition labels to access historical information and analyses of the works in both text and audio formats. More information about the St.Clair collection of Barye’s sculptures can be found at www.VMFA.museum.
InLight Coming to Low Line in 2021
1708 Gallery’s 14th annual InLight will take place November 12-13, 2021 at Great Shiplock Park, Chapel Island, and nearby sites on the Low Line in Richmond.
1708 Gallery’s 14th annual InLight will take place November 12-13, 2021 at Great Shiplock Park, Chapel Island, and nearby sites on the Low Line in Richmond. InLight is 1708’s annual public exhibition of contemporary art. InLight takes place at night and each year is in a different location in Richmond. InLight features multimedia, sculpture, installation, performance, community-based works, and virtual projects that utilize light-based platforms (projections, lighting design, and more) to be experienced in the dark. Past sites include Chimborazo Park, the downtown Arts District, and the sculpture garden and grounds of the VMFA.
1708 invites regional, national, and international artists working in all media and disciplines to submit entries for InLight 2021. Great Shiplock Park is located at a former shiplock constructed as part of the James River and Kanawha Canal system. Artists are invited to propose projects that engage with and expand upon the multiple themes and histories that can be found at these sites such as: trade and labor of then-enslaved peoples of African and Indigenous descent during and following the industrial revolution; the environmental impact—especially concerning water resources—of commerce and infrastructure; and the cultivation of spaces for alternative forms of historical preservation.
The curatorial team is especially interested in proposals that address ideas around movement in air, land, and water; flows of resources; and the redistribution of power within these systems; and future-thinking projects that reflect but are not bound by the histories surrounding Great Shiplock Park to imagine the site’s specificity and potential beyond its past and present. Artists, Collectives, and Community Organizations are encouraged to apply.
For more details and to submit an entry, please visit 1708INLIGHT.ORG.DEADLINE TO APPLY: Midnight (EST), Thursday, July 15, 2021.
1708 will host two virtual meetings via Zoom to provide an opportunity for potential applicants to ask direct questions about the application and selection process for InLight 2021. The meetings will be Tuesday, June 22nd at 6:00 pm and Wednesday, June 23rd at 6:00 pm. Please register in advance to attend.
The Broadberry is F***ing Back or so I Read
Good news for lovers of live music.
Richmond Folk Festival and 2nd Street Festival Will Return
Short on details but the good news is the best event in Richmond will be back.
I was thrilled to see this in my inbox this morning.
Two of Richmond’s largest and most beloved events will return this fall, live and in person.
Venture Richmond Events plans to produce both the 2nd Street Festival and the Richmond Folk Festival as live events, while also following state and federal guidelines for outdoor gatherings.
The 2nd Street Festival, in partnership with the City of Richmond, will take place October 2-3, 2021, in the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood.
The Richmond Folk Festival, in partnership with the National Council for Traditional Arts and the City of Richmond, will take place October 8-10, 2021, along Downtown Richmond’s riverfront.
“We look forward to getting back to in-person festivals with the 33rd year of the 2nd Street Festival and the 17th year of the Richmond Folk Festival,” said Stephen Lecky, director of events. “Now more than ever we know how important it is for us to come together safely in a shared celebration of culture and experiences, whether they are the rich traditions of the historic Jackson Ward community, or those from around the nation and the world presented on Downtown’s riverfront. Certainly, the joy we receive from producing these two festivals is immeasurable and we will do so with everyone’s wellbeing as our utmost priority.”
More information will follow this summer as we continue to stay informed and aware of CDC and state guidelines for Covid-19 protocol at events. A commitment to safety and adherence to local, state, and federal ordinances and guidelines is crucial.
The 2nd Street Festival is sponsored in part by: Dominion Energy, Brown Distributing, Community Foundation, Virginia Union University, and the City of Richmond.
The Richmond Folk Festival is sponsored in part by: Dominion Energy, CoStar Group, Community Foundation, WestRock, CarMax, City of Richmond, Brown Distributing, National Council for Traditional Arts, and the Children’s Museum.