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February 29, 1980 - Image 6

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-29

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Page 6-Friday, February 29, 1980-The Michigan Daily
It's not the end of the century

The a8:00 FPMt
at
THE PUNCH AND JUDY TH EATER
21 Korcheval (between Cadleux and Moross)
Gross. Point. Farms 48236
Info: Col 881-262 1 or 881l-2618

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By JONATHAN KUHN
Those of you who think we've just en-
tered the 1980's have been misinfor.-
med. The 18th-century is with us. And to
help us manage this time warp is a fine
sampling of eighteenth century prints
and drawings from the University art
museum's permanent collection run-
ning through March 9th. Coming after
the Impressionist show, the 18th-
century exhibit has a tough act to
follow. However, it does not pretend to
is representativeof a bygmoneages).h
This exhibition of prints and
drawings is a bit more demanding than
others. Visitors cannot gallop through
and expect to get a general sense of
these works, much less their subtleties.
No, this show requires a good hard look.
All the works are on an intimate scale;
their personal nature is appropriate for
an age in which art was being viewed
by an ever increasing segment of the
p.ublic. The 18th-century witnessed the
rise of the bourgeoisie, and the ap-
pearance of art dealers and art

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galleries. More and more people had
the inclination and the means to buy
works of art. Prints proved to be a
satisfactory solution to meeting this in-
creased demand for private
THE C tOMPLEX effects achieved in
many of these 18th century prints are
often astounding. In some cases,
however, technical virtuosity super-
cedes artistic merit. During the 18th-
century a great variety of media were
available to the aspiring printmaker.
These included engraving, etching, and
the more complicated mezzotints and
acquatints, among others. We find in
the current show a distinction between
those artists exploiting their medium
with imaginative purpose, and those
merely subservient to studied copying.
These la tter art4s ts ( ty pif ied by
Cereau's replic of Lagiere' sel
as possible painterly effects, thus
denying themselves the full potentiality
of their craft. The most pleasing results
occur when artist and printmaker have
been one and the same person.
The Italian works in the exhibition
are deserving of the greatest praise.
Prints by Canaletto, Piranesi, and
Tiepolo combine consummate technical
skill with free spirited temperament.
These are evocative works in which
convention is set aside, and the spirit of
the artist allowed to emerge. Represen-
ted by six works in the show, Piranesi
demonstrates most effectively the
range of possibilities in the medium of
etching. His Venduta di Roma are
fairly accurate illustrations of well
known Roman sites. However, details
such as creeping vines embracing an-
cient ruins impart to these documen-
tary glimpses an element of romantic
nostalgia. Imaginary Prison, also by
Piranesi, is an etching of a markedly
different character than the Venduta.
This disturbingly impassioned fantasy
permits Piraniesi greater freedom in
composition and linear treatment. It is
a breathtaking work, unrivaled by the
other pieces in the exhibition.
ANOTHER ARTIST, with an
imagination equal to Piranesi's, yet ob.-
jectives of a very different sort, is the
British satirist William H-ogarth - here
represented by four prints combining
both engraving and etching. The four,
showing various times of day in Lon-
don, poke fun at the manners and
morals of his day. The delight which
Hogarth obviously took in composing
the grotesque details is quite evident in
these caricatural works.
Hogarth not only exposes the
degradation and filth of the city of Lon-
don, but he also satirizes the affected
ways of the continental citizenry. In one
print, for instance, a French couple are
identifiable as "foreign" through the
excessiveness of their costume and
gestures.

'' Imaginary Prison", an etching from 1eries "Carceri D'Invenzione" from
about 1744. It's part of the University Art Museum's 18th-ce'ntury Prints and
Drawing Exhibition. The show lasts until March 9, so students stranded in
Ann Arbor for spring break still have a chance to check this very worthwhile
exhibit out.

6'

IT H AS often been said that the 18th-
century produced in France an un-
paralleled period of splendor and
sophistication. The "Age of Enlighten-
ment," it is claimged, was characterized
by philosophic insight and heightened
cultural refinement. What are we to
make then of the coy boudoir scenes
(such as Delauney's The Indiscreet
Wife) and the overly ornamented
Rococo style? Fortunately, few works
focusing upon the so-called "elegance"
of the French have been included in the
exhibit. These prove to be interesting
solely from an historic, rather than an
aesthetic standpoint.
The French should not be entirely ex-
cluded from the ranks of the praisewor-
thy. A chalk drawing of a sleeping child

9

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TICKETS are 9.00 and 10.00 and are now on sale at the Michigan Union
Box Office (11:30-5:30), Where House Records, Aura Sounde, Huckleberry
Party Store, and all Hudson's. For more informnation cal 763-2071. Sorry,
no checks.
A MAJOR EVENTS PRESENT ATION

is a sensitive, tender portrait. Drawn
by Francois Boucher, it departs from
the high-class eroticism with which he
is normally associated. Other drawings
by Saint-Aubin and Nicolas Lancret are
modest works instilled with quiet
honesty arnd strong characterizations.
A GROUP of landscapes by British
artists rounds out the major genres
seen in the show. Whether sketched or
printed, these works reveal artists such
as Sandby, Gainsborough, and Romney
forsaking the restraints of their portrait
commissions.
Of comparatively minor significance,
yet quite fascinating, are several ink
and wash designs for grandiose stage
sets. These drawings, done by Italians
working for the Viennese court~
illustrate the magnitude of theatrical
spectacle at this time. Next to the
theater designs is a small water color
attributed to Giacomo Quarenghi,
which shows a ground plan and
elevation of a small temple. The depic-
tion of the rigorously geometric facade
demonstrates a concern for 18th-
century neo-Classical principles. The
fact that this plIanI can be admired solely .
for its aesthetic merits is an indications
of the level of draftsmanship achieved
during this period.
THIS EXHIBITION of prints and
drawings fulfills the University
museum's role as a "teaching
museum." Planned in conjunction with
the 18th Century Semester sponsored
by the L.S.&A., it is complemented by
exhibitions at the Clements Library and
at the Rare Book Room of the Graduate.
Library. The 18th century was comf@
posed of colliding cultural, social and
cultural currents. Excessive pleasure
vied with stringent morality, as
aristocratic elegance ,was met with
social outcries. Romanticism, neo-
Classicism and rococo styles each exer-J
ted an influence on the arts scene. Thisj
diverse atmosphere permitted the co-j
existence of a Chereau, Hogarth or-
Piranesi, each appealing to a particular
audience, or at times serving their own
interests.
The museum show fully represents
this cross section of 18th century life
and art, highlighting the period's unity
and variety. Those who immerse them-
selves in the artworks will be well
rewarded.

r spring break?.
n 't forget to stop in for the
)plies youll need to stuy
d get ahead of the game.
hirts . . .. travel bags . .. .
eatsuits .. .. doodle pads
.beer rmugs ..

# gonahe latoye'?

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