Pietro Antonio Graf Rotari, Maria Antonia von Bayern, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
How appropriate that the quiet re-birth of Kunstlust after a long hiatus comes in the form of a post on an equally unexpected exhibition. The Splendor of the White Eagle: Arts and Power at the Saxon-Polish Court is currently on view in Beijing, representing a novel instance of the exhibition of the art of the Augustan age outside of a European context. The show focuses on the art produced during the period of Saxon sovereignty in Poland under the Elector-Kings August II the Strong and August III of Poland. The exhibition's thesis is concerned with the ways in which the art produced under these rulers worked to visually manifest their power for audiences at home and abroad.
While the argumentative thrust of the exhibition initially appears to rehearse an all-too-familiar trope of art-historical scholarship on early modern Europe, bringing the show in Beijing endows the project with a potentially subversive edge. When staged in the People's Republic of China, the themes of authoritarian strategies of the image explored by The Splendor of the White Eagle take on new institutional stakes.
Link to the Exhibition Page
The Splendour of the White Eagle: Arts and
Power at the Saxon-Polish Court (1670-1763)
8 April - 8 July 2010
Palace Museum, Beijing