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"For the love of Greece"

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Anton View Drop Down

Joined: 23-Jun-2006
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  Quote Anton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: "For the love of Greece"
    Posted: 22-Feb-2007 at 09:20
I found this in today's issue of Nature. Maybe somebody will be interested in this exhibition.

Books and Arts

Nature 445, 822 (22 February 2007) | doi:10.1038/445822a; Published online 21 February 2007

For the love of Greece

King Ludwig I of Bavaria was a lifelong Hellenophile whose son Otto became king of Greece in 1832 after the country was freed from Turkish rule. Ludwig commissioned Carl Rottmann to produce 23 paintings celebrating contemporary and ancient Greece for his palace gardens in Munich.

The exhibition 'Ten Tons Hellas', to run at the New Pinakothek in Munich until 29 April, brings together 14 of these works each weighing 400 kg for the first time since the Second World War. But scientific examination of the paintings has revealed that Rottmann did not blindly follow the dictates of his powerful king.

The commission had specified that Rottmann should work with encaustic, a newly revived technique involving the mixing of pigments with melted wax or resins. Spectacular examples of encaustic murals had recently been unearthed at Pompeii, their dazzling colours barely touched by centuries of winter rain. The encaustic technique was laborious and risky, involving heating at different stages of painting to melt the resins. And because its revival was guided by the rather ambiguous writings of ancient scholars such as Pliny, it was still rather experimental.

Researchers at the Doerner Institute, housed in the New Pinakothek, examined some of the paintings. They found that by the time he was on the third painting, Rottmann was experimenting with different methods to refine the encaustic technique. He soon abandoned all pretence and worked with a more conventional style of oil painting.



Ludwig had also dictated that the works be painted on moveable slabs. The researchers' X-ray analysis revealed welded iron support frames (shown here) a technology developed for the railway industry incorporating a network of wires to hold the layers of mortar and plaster. After the paintings were completed, they were set into the walls of a gallery in the New Pinakothek when it opened in 1853. Being so heavy, they remained in the gallery while other works were removed for safekeeping during the war. Stored in a basement, they were badly damaged by bombs in 1944.

In the new display, the paintings are once again mounted into the plaster walls to give the intended character of murals.


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Spartakus View Drop Down

Joined: 22-Nov-2004
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Feb-2007 at 13:05
Very interesting!Smile
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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