Idols & Rivals

Artistic Competition in Antiquity and the Early Modern Era

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Idols & Rivals
Artistic Competition in Antiquity and the Early Modern Era

Ed. Gudrun Swoboda, text(s) by Marco Campigli, Wencke Deiters, Jana Graul, Hana Gründler, Henrieke Haug, Fabian Jonietz, Karin Leonhard, Wolf-Dietrich Löhr, Anna Lörnitzo, Thomas Macho, Gernot Mayer, Guido Messling, Georg Plattner, graphic design by Michaela Noll

English

2022. 296 pp., 244 ills.

Hardcover

24.00 x 28.00 cm

ISBN 978-3-7757-5399-9

Competition is one of the driving forces of our time—everything can suddenly turn into a challenge or a contest. Art, on the other hand—that is outside the art market— can be seen as a free space in which something genuinely unique emerges. That this construct is a historical exception is revealed by a fresh look at the early modern period: Here, the principle of competition was thought to be decisive for artistic work. What is more, the competitive habitus of imitation, competition and surpassing—imitatio, aemulatio and superatio—was supposed to bring about cultural progress as such. Even Leonardo knew that "good envy" spurs high performance. Hence, some of the most famous works of the Renaissance and Baroque periods emerged from the competitive battles that artists in early modern Europe fought among themselves, as well as with long-dead models from antiquity.

This splendid catalog reveals mutual inspiration and cooperation, but also sheds light on the dark side of competition for prestigious commissions—envy, intrigue, and slander.

EXHIBITION

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

September 20, 2022–January 8, 2023

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