E 92

Diana and Callisto after Titian by Peter Paul Rubens 1577-1640

Shoplifters of the word unite

Rubens was in love with Italy before he even got there. A major exhibition reveals where he got his ideas from. Words: Susannah Thompson

t’s time to brush up on the old masters. After last year's Rembrandt exhibition at the National (iallery of Scotland. the boys are back in town with that most famous puryeyor of Voluptuous corporeality and fleshy femininity. Ru/n'ns: Drawing on Ila/y explores Rubens‘ debt to Italian artists such as Michelangelo. (‘arayaggid Raphael and Titian. focusing particularly on Rubens' copies and adaptations of the Italian ‘originals’. The pun

within the exhibition title indicates the specific angle of

this examination of Rubens' work: in this body of work Rubens ‘drew’ on Italy in both metaphorical and literal terms. Despite his renown as a I‘lemish Master. Rubens’ pull to Italy was strong. ()yer 100 years preyiotisly in 1-194. I)iii‘ei"s trailbIa/ing trip to Italy had encouraged other northern Iiuropean artists to follow suit and see for themselyes the rediscoyered antiquities of Rome. Rubens had begun making adaptations of Italian art from copies eyen before he left Antwerp in lollll. btit oyer the following eight years in Italy. Rubens becatne absorbed by classical sculpture and Renaissance painting. adopting ltalianate chiaroscuro. colour and composition and being commissioned by wealthy patrons and benefactors. In life. language and art. Rubens remained a dedicated Italophile for the rest of his life and was said to haye brought Venetian colour‘ to Northern Baroque. 'The public will haye to work quite hard at this exhibition.‘ says exhibition organiser .lulia Lloyd Williams. ‘\\'e're trying to turn them into detectiyes.’ Iixamples of faithful 'facsimile’ copies will be displayed alongside the originals that inspired them. 'Tliis will be the first time that 'I‘itian’s Diana and ('a/lisiu |c 15%|

82THE LIST', 1m ; u

‘He beefed up figures, adding a double chin or making buttocks appear more rounded’

and Rubens' copy will haye been seen together since Rubens copied it in ION/29f she says.

Perhaps eyen more intriguing than the direct copies. though. are Rubens' re-worked adaptations. which prefigure postmodernism’s cut'n’paste appropriation by almost 400 years. In some cases Rubens literally took scissors and paste to the originals. adding his own new sections and thereby making the work his own. .-\s the world expert on Rubens' re-worked Italian art. Jeremy Wood. the exhibition’s guest curator. aims to highlight the ways in which Rubens responded to Italian art. seeing his approach to both the copies and the modified drawings as a dialogue with the originals rather than

pure plagiarism. (‘entral to the exhibition is a group of

drawings by Italian artists. many drawn from Rubens” personal collection.

‘Some of the drawings that Rubens bought in Italy were themselyes copies of works by artists such as Raphael and were Used as a source material for Rubens throughout his lifetime] explains Lloyd Williams. ‘IIe referred back to them again and again. sometimes changing lighting effects or beefing up figures to make them more Rubensian. adding a double chin here and there or making buttocks appear more rounded. The interyentions were sometimes slight. but sometimes they almost obliterated the original.’

Lloyd Williams belieyes that the subtle. delicate interyentions are among the best work in the show. and it is here where the detectiye work will come into play. ‘Some of the more gentle interyentions conyey the sense that Rubens respected these works. and it can be difficult to uncoyer the layers.’

This restrained approach is demonstrated in Rubens‘ retouched sketches after ('arayaggio's facade New at the I’ala/ro Milesi in Rome. .-\s the exhibition catalogue says. the notable improyisation here inyolyed only slight changes in the contouring of figures. and the addition of a ‘greenish wash to strengthen relief”. The art historical ‘spot-thc- difference’ will. howcyer. be aided by labels alongside each work. explaining what. where and how details haye been changed. Rubens: Drawing on Italy is at the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Fri 14 Jun-Sun 1 Sep. £3 (£2).



News from the world of art

FIONA BANNER HAS BEEN shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize. Her exhibition, Your Plinth is my Lap, currently on show at Dundee Contemporary Arts, is one of four shows which have made the prestigious selection. Up against Liam Gillick, Keith Tyson and Catherine Yass, Banner’s exhibition explores language and its imperfections, and features a room full of concrete insults and written accounts of porn films. The work by all shortlisted artists will be on show at Tate Britain from 30 October-6 January and the winner will be announced live on Channel 4 on 8 December. CALL UM INNES HAS WON THE Jen-Jood Painting Prize. netting 5.730.000. the most valuable Single bra/e {i'~.v'.'£il‘(l(Z-(I to an artist in the UK. Shortlzsted back :n 1.99:3. this is Innes' first "léilOt art prize and tl‘e )tidges praised his; work for the (I()"ll)i.'i£ill().'i of abstract [XillllOfl'y' skills and usual authority in a sewerer Ir'nifetl pa'ette.’ Baseo in Edinburgh. Innes has exhibited across; the UK. Europe and the United States for the past

them ears. l

Fiona Banner: Turner nominee


Council announced a special £80,000 fund for new public art projects for urban and rural settings which have up to now had little or no opportunity to develop arts projects. If you have a proposal, contact Jim Tough, head of Strategic Development or Amanda Catto, head of visual arts on 0131 226 6051 or download details from www.scottisharts.org.uk. The closing date for applications is 29 July.


is uniting; applicants to Stll)l“.li «feat; for a collaboratw. e artwork to(:..'sing on ‘n‘arkirio' the r‘edexeloped banding. A short term l't)$‘(l(:~ll(2\. is also available in one o‘ the building's nex.’ studio spaces. App'ittatioi‘ deadline is ii) July. and for twin-at in‘oiniation. contact Art ()e"i"‘rs:;;on 1 and 2. \‘Jasps l lead Office. Hanson Street. (\Iliif;g()\.l-. (id? QHL lel: 013.1 15:53. 81>Eltioi e"iai| (Ti)".l."llf§t‘)l()l‘8 <3 ‘.'.’£if§l)f§$ltl(ll()8