Ovid in Metamorphoses
The Cabinet entitled Ovid in Metamorphoses - the Realm of Flora, on display in the Sternberg Palace from April 13 to July 11, is something of a continuation of last spring's Graphic Cabinet. This time, the National Gallery in Prague presents a loose series of graphic prints inspired by the stories of Ovid's Metamorphoses in which people are transformed into plants. On display are 17th- and 18th-century artworks by French, Netherlandish and German artists. Although the names of these artists are not widely known today, they were highly regarded in their time.
Ovid's Metamorphoses became an indispensable source of inspiration during the Renaissance. The Baroque, too, drew inspiration from its poetic text, with many artists mining its themes. Works by major artists were re-worked in graphic workshops. For example, the Cabinet presents the etching Philemon and Baucis by Anton Joseph Prenner, which was done after a painting by Loth.
Book illustrations, several of which are exhibited, are integral to the exhibition. Visitors can see, among others, the Birth of Adonis and Apollo and Daphne dating from the first third of the 18th century. These copper engravings done after the 1677 Brussels edition are technically and artistically noteworthy. A large series by Johann Wilhelm Baur, too, served as a book illustration and is represented in the Cabinet by the etching Metamorphosis of Hyacinthus.
The Graphic Cabinet also introduces the work of leading French 17th-century graphic artist Jean Lepautre, who often employed Ovid's theme. Visitors can see his Pan and Syrinx.