J. Paul Getty Museum is featuring “Bouchardon: Royal Artist of the Enlightenment” from now through April 2 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. This exhibition incorporates more than 150 Bouchardon works, including 30 sculptures and 100 drawings that had never traveled outside of France before.
Most Americans probably have never heard of French artist Edmé Bouchardon. However, Bouchardon was one of the most renowned sculptors and draftsmen of his day. With the resist of rococo tendencies of his contemporaries and perseverance of classic-styled sculptures, Bouchardon gained fame and was even commissioned to design an equestrian statue of Louis XV, one of the works featured in the Getty.
The exhibit is organized chronologically and presented in seven sections that reflect Bouchardon’s evolution as an artist and Royal favorite. It begins with the most popular sculpture Bouchardon crafted to fulfill a requirement for making himself known to the general public and his potential future patrons. A full-scale copy of the Barberini Faun, a Hellenistic sculpture that shows a naked satyr apparently sleeping off a drunken binge, surely exemplifies the original of the Western art history.
Other selected masterpieces like Cupid Carving a Bow from Hercules’s Club and Virgin of Sorrows highlight Bouchardon’s strong commitment and passion for ancient art. The great drama and emotions associated with these works are regarded as a veiled reference to Bouchardon’s own activity as a sculptor.
People who attended the exhibition generally showed positive reactions. Judy Kim, a senior in Crescenta Valley High School (CVHS), told JSR, “the accuracy of anatomical compositions of figures and the movement associated with those muscles, skin, and bones fascinated me. Getty Museum did a very good job placing and arranging these sculptures in their most elegant form. The exhibition, overall, helped me to deepen my understanding of classic-styled sculptures and their influences on Bouchardon as a sculptor.”
Deborah Jeong, a student who is taking AP Art History course, also showed a similar reaction. Jeong told JSR, “I heard every-time when Bouchardon altered copy, he carved it based on a study-model of his scratch, rather than making a whole cast of the original. This was pretty remarkable because making a copy with nothing else, but scratch, definitely proves his genius.”
The exhibition is organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Musée du Louvre of France. This international loan exhibition will help Americans to explore key themes through selected masterpieces that highlight Bouchardon’s strong passion for ancient art.