Friday, 28 October, 2016, 11:46 Lviv
Baroque sculptor Johann Georg Pinsel exhibition in Belvedere. Nothing about Ukraine in ads!
Photo: Taras Voznyak/Facebook
Photo: Taras Voznyak/Facebook

Oct. 28, the exhibition of Baroque sculptures by Johann Georg Pinsel from the Lviv Voznytsky Art Gallery opens in Vienne for the first time. The Austrian capital is full of ads about the on-coming event. However, there is not a single mention on city lights ads or Belvedere’s press release that the exhibits are from the Lviv Voznytsky Art Gallery. The press release on the exhibition has appeared on The Belevedere official site:

The Belvedere honours the ingenious, albeit largely unknown Late Baroque sculptor Johann Georg Pinsel with his first monographic exhibition in Austria. From 28 October 2016 to 12 February 2017, a Baroque spectacle of expressive painting and carving will be staged at the Winterpalais of Prince Eugene of Savoy. In addition to some twenty objects by Pinsel and his studio, the show will also include works by Austrian painters of the Late Baroque.

Johann Georg Pinsel continues to baffle scholars to this day: little is known about his life, origins, and artistic training. His first and middle names were only identified several years ago, and his date and place of birth are still buried in obscurity. Pinsel was active in regions that are now part of Western Ukraine, particularly around Lemberg (Lviv). The area, which during his lifetime belonged to Poland, was subsequently incorporated into the Habsburg Empire and in 1918 fell to the Soviet Union; in 1991, it became part of today’s Ukraine.

During Pinsel’s life and career, the region was prospering. Wealthy Polish aristocratic families ensured that the artist received numerous commissions. It can be assumed that Pinsel had immigrated from abroad. In the Baroque age, the migration of artists was entirely common, as they were always in search of new projects and wished to expand their artistic abilities.


“With this exhibition dedicated to the work of Johann Georg Pinsel, we seek to present an unknown Baroque sculptor who developed his unmistakable style far removed from the typical hubs for cultural production. Everyone who has seen his expressive sculptures will agree that Pinsel has until now been unjustly neglected by international art history,” says Agnes Husslein-Arco, Director of the Belvedere.

Pinsel’s oeuvre, on the other hand, is better known than his biography. Working alongside his architect friend Meretyn, he decorated primarily churches between Lviv and Buchach (Polish: Buczacz) with stunning sculptures in wood and stone. These expressive figures are known to have been created within the short period of a decade, between 1750 and 1760. With his expressive language of form, Pinsel had a crucial impact on Lemberg’s Baroque sculpture. He became one of the most coveted artists and inspired many followers.
 
„Within a short period of time, Pinsel received several considerable commissions. This soon required the hiring of staff and the training of students, who carried on his expressive style each in their own right“, explain the exhibition’s curators, Maike Hohn and Georg Lechner, about the far-reaching influence of the Baroque sculptor.

The powerful expressivity of his figures not only derives from their facial expressions and gestures, but also and above all from the opulence of their garments. In their expressive eloquence, they reflect parallels of contemporary painting practiced in the environment of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Especially the paintings by Franz Anton Maulbertsch, with their occasionally bizarre protagonists, are particularly close to Pinsel’s exalted sculptures.

Under Soviet rule, a major part of Pinsel’s works was removed from sacred buildings or destroyed. While many of his sculptures were abandoned and fell into ruins, others could be rescued and entered the collections of museums. Many of the statuettes and sculptures presented in the exhibition used to be installed in monasteries or churches; in many cases, however, it is no longer possible today to identify their original whereabouts.

Yet in order to fully understand these pictorial works, knowledge of the context for which they were conceived is indispensable. Especially in the Baroque age, architecture, painting, and sculpture formed an interwoven and perfectly concerted ensemble. Today the isolated presentation of sculptures frequently tempts us to read them as independent works of art. However, in terms of form, composition, and content, they were embedded in a superior artistic concept and sacral programme. This is why in the exhibition paintings and statues are presented side by side in order to convey the impact of their original arrangement around an altar.

The accompanying exhibition catalogue takes a closer look at the life and work of the sculptor, the region around Lemberg (Lviv) during the 18th century, as well as Johann Georg Pinsel’s sculptures and work in the European context.  with his first monographic exhibition in Austria. From 28 October 2016 to 12 February 2017, a Baroque spectacle of expressive painting and carving will be staged at the Winterpalais of Prince Eugene of Savoy. In addition to some twenty objects by Pinsel and his studio, the show will also include works by Austrian painters of the Late Baroque.

Johann Georg Pinsel continues to baffle scholars to this day: little is known about his life, origins, and artistic training. His first and middle names were only identified several years ago, and his date and place of birth are still buried in obscurity. Pinsel was active in regions that are now part of Western Ukraine, particularly around Lemberg (Lviv). The area, which during his lifetime belonged to Poland, was subsequently incorporated into the Habsburg Empire and in 1918 fell to the Soviet Union; in 1991, it became part of today’s Ukraine.

During Pinsel’s life and career, the region was prospering. Wealthy Polish aristocratic families ensured that the artist received numerous commissions. It can be assumed that Pinsel had immigrated from abroad. In the Baroque age, the migration of artists was entirely common, as they were always in search of new projects and wished to expand their artistic abilities.


“With this exhibition dedicated to the work of Johann Georg Pinsel, we seek to present an unknown Baroque sculptor who developed his unmistakable style far removed from the typical hubs for cultural production. Everyone who has seen his expressive sculptures will agree that Pinsel has until now been unjustly neglected by international art history,” says Agnes Husslein-Arco, Director of the Belvedere.

Pinsel’s oeuvre, on the other hand, is better known than his biography. Working alongside his architect friend Meretyn, he decorated primarily churches between Lviv and Buchach (Polish: Buczacz) with stunning sculptures in wood and stone. These expressive figures are known to have been created within the short period of a decade, between 1750 and 1760. With his expressive language of form, Pinsel had a crucial impact on Lemberg’s Baroque sculpture. He became one of the most coveted artists and inspired many followers.

 
„Within a short period of time, Pinsel received several considerable commissions. This soon required the hiring of staff and the training of students, who carried on his expressive style each in their own right“, explain the exhibition’s curators, Maike Hohn and Georg Lechner, about the far-reaching influence of the Baroque sculptor.

The powerful expressivity of his figures not only derives from their facial expressions and gestures, but also and above all from the opulence of their garments. In their expressive eloquence, they reflect parallels of contemporary painting practiced in the environment of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Especially the paintings by Franz Anton Maulbertsch, with their occasionally bizarre protagonists, are particularly close to Pinsel’s exalted sculptures.

Under Soviet rule, a major part of Pinsel’s works was removed from sacred buildings or destroyed. While many of his sculptures were abandoned and fell into ruins, others could be rescued and entered the collections of museums. Many of the statuettes and sculptures presented in the exhibition used to be installed in monasteries or churches; in many cases, however, it is no longer possible today to identify their original whereabouts.

Yet in order to fully understand these pictorial works, knowledge of the context for which they were conceived is indispensable. Especially in the Baroque age, architecture, painting, and sculpture formed an interwoven and perfectly concerted ensemble. Today the isolated presentation of sculptures frequently tempts us to read them as independent works of art. However, in terms of form, composition, and content, they were embedded in a superior artistic concept and sacral programme. This is why in the exhibition paintings and statues are presented side by side in order to convey the impact of their original arrangement around an altar.

The accompanying exhibition catalogue takes a closer look at the life and work of the sculptor, the region around Lemberg (Lviv) during the 18th century, as well as Johann Georg Pinsel’s sculptures and work in the European context.

The new director of the Lviv Art Gallery, Taras Voznyak, has already arrived to Vienne to open the exhibition. On his page in Facebook, he posted the photograph of a city-light ad on the exhibition.

 “Against the background of cars and the capital’s tram stops we can see ads announcing the huge exhibition in The Belvedere of sculptor Pinsel’s works,” Voznyak writes.


Meanwhile, Facebook user Nata Doroshenko says there is no mention about Ukraine whatsoever in the ad.

 “It’s abominable! You are prepared to lick anyone’s ass. There is no information about Ukraine on the ad. Just the name of the sculptor, that’s it! Austria is spitting in your eyes – and you just let it happen. Shame!’ 

The talks of launching an exhibition in Vienne began last year. The Belvedere representative initially agreed that the exhibition was to be opened by the Lviv Art Gallery former director Larysa Razinkova-Voznytska.

The exhibition will be unveiled by the gallery’s new director Taras Voznyak who was appointed on Sept. 15.

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2017-10-22 15:06:08