Around Klimt. Giuditta, heroism and seduction

Around Klimt. Giuditta, heroism and seduction_001Image courtesy of MUVE

Around Klimt. Giuditta, heroism and seduction
Centro Culturale Candiani, Mestre, Venice
From 14 December 2016 to 5 March 2017

 

The Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia has inaugurated the first in a series of fascinating events dedicated to modern and contemporary art at the Centro Culturale Candiani of Mestre which, under the title of Corto Circuito. The exhibition is centred on one of the most fascinating myths of the Biblical tradition: the story of ‘Judith’. The centrepiece of the exhibition is Gustav Klimt’s masterpiece, Giuditta II (Salomè), lent for the occasion by Ca’ Pesaro.

 

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Around this powerful twentieth-century icon, the exhibition will offer a series of ancient and contemporary suggestions, presenting the figure of Judith in a biblical context and her fortune in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and also how she was interpreted in nineteenth-century Symbolism and in the climate of the Viennese Secession, and so up to the interpretation of the myth that the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, gave in 1917 in The taboo of virginity. The picture proved explosive and unsettling for the public and for the critics of the time: Klimt used the myth in a contemporary key, mixing elements from the oldest figurative tradition with a new drama, meant to represent the impulses of the unconscious.

 

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Giuditta II ended up by representing all that male society feared most between the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth century. But it also marked the beginning of an overwhelming success, predicted at the time with great foresight by Nino Barbantini director of the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’ Pesaro, who was able to grasp the absolute modernity and the future enchantment of the work. The exhibition presents precious bibles and sixteenth-century bronze plaques; refined objets d’art of French and Venetian craftsmanship depicting the Jewish heroine; Dutch and Italian engravings and etchings of the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

 

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The exhibition engages with powerful themes such as the relationship between man and woman, between Eros and Thanatos, and also examines female stereotypes and the difficult path towards emancipation, taking a cue also from other mythological figures and female icons: Leda and the Swan, Vanitas, Salome, Danae, the Sphinxes. The great Felicien Rops, Edvard Munch, Félix Édouard Valotton, Jules Van Biesbroeck, Gaetano Previati, Mariano Fortuny, Egon Schiele, Vittorio Zecchin and Luigi Bonazza will accompany us through this universe suffused with beauty and dreams, passion and mystery, outrages and vendettas, courage and seduction. Finally, the transition from femme fatale to twentieth-century demon will also be evident in the film section, as expressed in the video entitled Giuditta: metamorfosi sullo schermo, using extracts showing the most famous silver-screen women of the first two decades of the last century.

 

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