Between Longing and Mass Tourism

12 March – 11 September 2022 | Reinhart am Stadtgarten

Carl Blechen
Das Kapuzinerkloster bei Amalfi, 1829

Italy has always been a desired destination for artists. Since the Renaissance, this country, perceived as the cradle of the arts, has exerted an extraordinary fascination on European artists. Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo were considered the undisputed pinnacle of European art, and antiquity could be experienced here more directly than anywhere else. An educational trip to Italy was also part of the obligatory programme for scientists and poets of the Enlightenment. In addition to the enthusiasm for antiquity and the admiration for Italian art history, it was above all the longing for the south as the epitome of freedom and harmony of art and life in utopian Arcadia that made Italy the real destination of one’s dreams. From the Dutch Bentvueghels of the 17th century to the Classicists and the romanticising Pre-Raphaelites to the ‘Deutsch-Römer’ (German Romans), artists have been drawn to the Bel Paese with an unfailingly fresh eye.

In the 20th century, this perspective changed: the once noble Grand Tour gave way to mass tourism, the World Wars led to a critical examination of one’s own history. The idealised destination of longing gave way to a sober, modern view. In the 1960s, Arte Povera undermined the expectations and questioned the Italy of that time with a new, different approach. The country that had been transfigured from abroad over the centuries was now reflected upon from within. Today, artists like Monica Bonvicini and Luigi Ghirri examine their homeland with unsparing directness. It never gets boring in Italy – Andiamo!

The exhibition traces the journeys south of renowned artists ranging from Claude Lorrain and Jan Both, Joseph Anton Koch, Carl Blechen, Arnold Böcklin and Anselm Feuerbach to Barthélemy Menn and contrasts their experience of Italy with the critical counter-images of Arte Povera and contemporary art.

Curator: Andrea Lutz

With kind support

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Kunst Museum Winterthur
Reinhart am Stadtgarten
8400 Winterthur
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With the ticket you can visit all three museums.