Arcadia Revisited: The Architecture of Landscape, an exhibition probing the 18th century’s ideal of rural contentment, will be on view at the Georgia Museum of Art from May 6 through July 30.
The exhibition was inspired by the gift of Classical Landscape, 1739 (above), an oil painting by George Lambert donated by Dr. and Mrs. Claiborne Van C. Glover III.
“As the centerpiece of the exhibition, this painting encourages us to examine the elusive idea of Arcadia, a concept that has fascinated writers, poets and artists for centuries,” says Romita Ray, curator of prints and drawings. “It is a tribute to Arcadia, poetry’s fictional and idyllic idea of the beautiful and unspoiled landscape.”
Using Lambert’s painting, Ray has added works of art from the museum’s permanent collection so that visitors can trace pastoral themes and compare different artists’ interpretations.
Arcadia’s origins can be traced back to Greek and Roman poetry that influenced medieval literature. By the time of the Renaissance, Arcadia, with its notion of the idealized landscape, often including figures and ruins, was widely recognized as a classical paradise. Artists as well as authors have been inspired by the notion of Arcadia.
Ray adds that Arcadia Revisited pays homage to Lambert, whose work inspired this exhibition.
Lambert worked in London as a scene painter at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theater and at Covent Garden Theater. During his time there, he began to develop an interest in landscape paintings. Lambert later worked with Samuel Scott, a well-known marine painter, to produce views of different landscape settings. The East India Company, the top financial institution of the time, commissioned them to paint images of different colonial cities for its headquarters in London.
Organized by Ray and Francis Trubiano, assistant professor of architecture at Georgia Tech, the exhibition is sponsored by the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.