Metamorphoses and the Art of Love
Angie Hall and Catherine Bailey © David Bailey
Edouard-Denis BALDUS (1813-1889) Arc Antique, Orange
Charles NÈGRE Portrait de Rachel à Auteuil, c. 1855-1860 Tirage sur papier salé albuminé d'après négatif verre
Jacques-Henri LARTIGUE (1894-1986) Renee Perle in satin pantsuit and silver bangles
William Henry Fox TALBOT (1800-1877) Veronica in Bloom
Julia CAMERON (1815-1879) La Contadina, Girl with Jar
Jean CLEMMER Nus féminins (parures) (5)
Jean CLEMMER Nus féminins (parures) (6)
Sam LEVIN Bardot poses for the image eventually used for the 'Le Mepris' poster
Sam LEVIN Brigitte Bardot (Black Lace)
Masterpiece London was launched in June 2010 with 118 participating exhibitors and over 18,000 visitors. The 2011 fair proved itself to be just as spectacular and attracted over 28,000 visitors. James Hyman gallery will make its debut presence at Masterpiece London. On the 28th of June 2012, the fair will open its doors for the third time, representing an inter-disciplinary fusion of traditional and modern, old and new art - confirming its position as the capital’s leading art and antiques fair.
The London gallery James Hyman Fine Art will be debuting at Masterpiece London this year with a specially curated exhibition, Metamorphoses and the Art of Love. The concept behind the display has been inspired by the poetry of Ovid. The Roman poet Ovid’s much celebrated Metamorphoses is a fifteen-book long Latin narrative poem describing the history of the world, from its creation up until the deification of Julius Caesar. Ars Armatoria (Art of Love), an altogether more controversial poem by Ovid, is a three-book long instructional elegy that mainly teaches basic gentlemanly skills and techniques for successful male and female relationships – a guide to love and seduction. These texts have been taken as a starting point for the theme of James Hyman’s Metamorphoses and the Art of Love.
Ovid’s Metamorphoses strongly addresses the theme of transformation of human beings into other natural forms, and the exhibition includes works that explore this theme. For example, one of Ivon Hitchens’ greatest and largest paintings, The Fountain of Acis, is inspired by the nymph Acis’ transformation into a stream). Man Ray’s unique solarised nude is also included - on display for the first time in London - and directly reflects Ovid’s poem, making reference to depictions of Narcissus gazing at his own reflection. Ars Armatoria may have seemed too liberal in Ovid’s time for its treatment of adultery, and resulted in the poet being exiled from Rome. The first of the three books of Ars Armatoria were written to show a man how to find a woman, how to then seduce her, and finally how to keep her and prevent others from stealing her. Other themes included in Ars Armatoria are, for example, what a woman needs to do to keep a man. The tone of the three books has been described as witty and playful, and humour is often close at hand when Ovid advises men on ‘not forgetting her birthday’, ‘letting her miss you – but not for long’ and ‘not asking about her age’. The guide also instructs women on ‘making up, but in private’, ‘being wary of false lovers’ and ‘trying young and older lovers’. These themes are reflected in the works chosen for this exhibition, which includes exceptional photographs by some of the greatest photographers since the invention of the medium. Among them are rare vintage prints by David Bailey, Edouard Baldus, Hippoltye Bayard, Roger Fenton, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Charles Negre, Man Ray, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Edward Weston. Metamorphoses and the Art of Love will also include some prominent paintings addressing the themes of Ovid’s poems, such as an early Pop Art painting by Patrick Caulfield, and work by Ivon HItchens. The exhibition, which is definitely worth a visit, will also come with a new publication.
By Anna-Maria Pfab
28 June – 4 July 2012
The Royal Hospital Chelsea
James Hyman Gallery
16 Savile Row