Classicisms

Thursday, Feb 16 – Jun 11, 2017 5 – 6 pm

University of Chicago
5550 S. Greenwood
Chicago, IL 60637

Exhibition on view: February 16-June 11, 2017
Opening reception: Wednesday, February 22, 7-8:30pm

Classicism, as an aesthetic ideal, is often associated with a conventional set of rules founded on supposedly timeless notions such as order, reason, and decorum.

As a result, it can be understood as rigid, outdated, or stodgy. But classicism is actually far from a stable concept—throughout history, it has given rise to more debate than consensus, and at times has been put to use for subversive ends.

Organized by the Smart Museum of Art and informed by an interdisciplinary planning process involving faculty members from across the University of Chicago, Classicisms explodes the idea of classicism as an unchanging ideal. The exhibition features 70 objects spanning diverse genres, eras, and media—paintings, ancient and modern sculpture, cast plaster replicas, and works on paper.

Together with a scholarly catalogue, the exhibition traces classicism’s meanings across the centuries from varying artistic, cultural, and ideological perspectives to reveal a multifaceted concept with a complicated history.

Top image: Sébastien Bourdon, Christ Receiving the Children, c. 1655, Oil on canvas. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Mrs. Eugene A. Davidson, 1959.57.