Peter Cornelius – The Gods of Greece. The Cartoons for the Frescoes in the Glyptothek, Munich
In collaboration with the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin a major work by the academic artist and draughtsman Peter Cornelius (1783–1867), who exerted a considerable influence on art in the nineteenth century, will be presented at the Haus der Kunst Munich for the first time in almost seventy years, namely, his cartoons for the mythological ceiling and wall paintings in the Glyptothek in Munich.
Cartoons are usually understood as being 1:1 draft drawings which are used to prepare for the application of oil paintings or frescoes. Cornelius’ cartoons also had this function. What was special about them, however, was that they were already looked upon as works of art in their own time, shown at exhibitions and even displayed in a special room at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin after the artist’s death.
For these sheets, which measured up to 450 x 850 cm, Cornelius mainly used charcoal, but also pencil and pen; the drawings were then fixed and the sheets spread on canvas. With the establishment of the art of cartoon drawing as an independent genre, the drawing as such experienced an unparalleled revaluation in the nineteenth century, finally being made public, having previously only been of significance for the artist himself, his workshop, the reproduction artist, and the collector. At the same time, the artist’s concept became more important then its execution, something for which Cornelius was already criticised in the nineteenth century.
The frescoes in the Glyptothek which were carried out according to these cartoon models were destroyed when the building was reconstructed after the Second World War, a sign of the general lack of interest at the time in the art of the "Nazarenes". Of the 42 cartoons that survived several wars, some required extensive restoration for this exhibition. Over the centuries, they have also taken on a patina which alone makes the exhibition worth a visit.
In collaboration with the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
With the generous support of the Ernst von Siemens Kunstfonds
Stretch your view
Stretch your view