The Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University is pleased to announce the opening of our 2019 exhibition year with The Neoclassical Gaze: Myth and Reality of Ancient Sculpture from January 22 through March 8, 2019. This exhibition features Wilhelm Gottlieb Becker’s Augusteum (1804-1811), a three-volume publication of engravings illustrating ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. These engravings will be displayed alongside plaster cast reproductions of ancient sculpture on loan from the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin. These compelling works will be examined from the perspectives of both the ancient world, as well as that of the Neoclassical Revival at the turn of the nineteenth century, as presented by guest curators, Baylor Art Historians, Dr. Sean DeLouche and Dr. Nathan Elkins.
The Augusteum is a grand publication dedicated to the ancient sculpture collected by Augustus II, the Prince Elector of Saxony, in Dresden, Germany, during the mid-eighteenth century. Published in German and French editions from 1804 to 1811, and again in 1837, the books, Augusteum, Dresdens antike Denkmäler enthaltend and Augusteum, ou Description des Monumens Antiques qui se trouvent à Dresde, include elaborate textual descriptions of the sculptures accompanied by 154 intricate engravings. Most of the illustrations depict sculptural figures from both front and back views.
Beginning in 1723, Augustus II established the “Collection of Antique and Modern Sculptures” as part of his larger campaign to transform Dresden into a center for art and architecture in Germany. Many of the works he acquired came from the Chigi and Albani collections of Italy, whose antiquities originated predominantly from excavations in Rome and surrounding archeological sites. The Dresden Collection, currently housed in the historic Albertinum Museum in Dresden, is one of the oldest collections of ancient sculpture found outside Italy.