By: CHRIS GRAEME
ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES in Greece combined with the 18th century propensity for young members of the aristocracy to embark on the Grand Tour of Europe led to a craze in all things classically Greek and Roman.
The movement, today called Neo-classicism, extended not only to architecture, interior design, furniture and painting, but also to jewellery, porcelain, fashion and even hair styles. By the end of the 18th century and influenced particularly by the French revolution from 1789 onwards, women who had hitherto been corseted up in stiff silk panniers were now floating around like Greek goddesses in what to us appear like skimpy and revealing nightshifts.
The Greek Taste – The Birth of Neoclassicism in France, 1750-1775 is an exhibition currently running at the Gulbenkian
Museum in Lisbon and features over 100 pieces and works of art from the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Most of the items on display – sculptures, paintings, engravings, oriental porcelain, Sèvres dinner services, bronzes, furniture, ands silverware – come from the Louvre, but a few, due to their relevance in the exhibition, come from three other French institutions and from the Patrimonio Nacional of Spain. Several pieces from the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection also reflect the Neoclassical taste, such as Pierre Garnier’s bureau plat, a writing desk
by Carlin, various pieces of silverware, and a drawing Portrait of the Marquis of Marigny.
The exhibition evokes the first 25 years of Neoclassicism in France (1750-1775), a movement which would extend into the middle of the 19th century all over Europe, particularly reaching its zenith during the Regency period between 1800 and 1820. It was based on a revived interest in all things classical from ancient Greek and Roman antiquity.
What: The Greek Taste – The Birth of Neoclassicism in France, 1750-1775
When: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm.
Where: Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon.
Cost: Museum and exhibition, seven euros, exhibition only four euros
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]