The Cult of Antinous

Antinous Mondragone (c.130 AD). Antinous: the face of the Antique Main Galleries, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Exhibition: 25.05.06 – 27.08.06 The Emperor Hadrian’s young lover was Antinous, a beautiful youth who drowned mysteriously in the Nile before his 20th birthday. The Emperor, in his grief, commissioned busts and statues of his beloved, and as the … Continue reading “The Cult of Antinous”

The art of Jean Boullet, 1921–1970

From Antinous (1954). A few drawings and paintings by Jean Boullet, a prolific French illustrator who was also a writer—passionate about “sexology, conjuring, magic, demonology, and mythology”, says Wikipédia—and a film critic. His illustrations range from books by Raymond Radiguet, Boris Vian and Edgar Allan Poe to unabashed homoerotic collections of his own, one of … Continue reading “The art of Jean Boullet, 1921–1970”

Carceri, thermae and candelabra

Piranesi’s etching which purports to show a statue gallery at Hadrian’s Villa was published in 1770 as part of the artist’s Vedute di Roma series, and conveniently provides a themed link for a pair of new exhibitions. The artist’s attribution of statue gallery was a mistaken one, the structure is actually the remains of Hadrian’s … Continue reading “Carceri, thermae and candelabra”

Hadrian: Empire and Conflict

The sculpture known as Antinous Mondragone (c.130 AD). The planned British Museum exhibition I mentioned in January, a major examination of the Emperor Hadrian’s life and influence, opens today and runs to 26 October, 2008. Hadrian means more to Britons than most Roman Emperors on account of the still-extant wall which bears his name, built … Continue reading “Hadrian: Empire and Conflict”

Against Nature: The hybrid forms of modern sculpture

left: Morgan Le Fay by Pierre Roche (1904). right: The Rock Drill by Jacob Epstein (1913–14). An exhibition of ‘fantastic’ sculpture opened at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds last week with some fascinating juxtapositions, ranging from Fernand Khnopff’s Mask to Jacob Epstein’s marvellous Rock Drill which is more commonly one of the landmarks of … Continue reading “Against Nature: The hybrid forms of modern sculpture”