Published: September 17, 2002
TOLEDO, OHIO – The Toledo Museum of Art will present a focus exhibition, “Virtue and Violence: Portrayals of Lucretia and Achilles by Giuseppe Cades,” October 4 to January 5.
In 2000, the museum acquired a rare painting, “The Virtue of Lucretia,” by the Roman artist Giuseppe Cades (1750-1799). This focus exhibition serves to celebrate the acquisition of “The Virtue of Lucretia” by reuniting it for the first time in America with its companion painting, Cades’ “Achilles Receiving the Ambassadors of Agamemnon,” now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
This exhibition is enriched by the display and interpretation of four spectacular drawings by Cades that explore the themes of Lucretia and Achilles: “The Rape of Lucretia” (The Art Institute of Chicago), “The Death of Lucretia” (Staatliche Museen, Berlin), “Achilles and Briseis” (Musée Fabre, Montpellier) and “Achilles Receiving the Ambassadors of Agamemnon” (Musée du Louvre, Paris). Together, the paintings and drawings demonstrate why Cades was considered by his contemporaries to be the greatest history painter working in Rome. The works are prime examples of the artist’s innovative style and reveal his imaginative portrayal of tragic subjects from ancient myth and legend.
“The Virtue of Lucretia,” together with its companion painting, formed part of the collection of the Baron de Puymaurin, the governor of the province of Toulouse. A collector and patron of the arts, the Baron de Puymaurin was one of the few French patrons of his time who acquired works by living Italian artists. The two paintings by Cades were once on view in the baron’s palace, together with other famous paintings by such artists as Annibale Carracci, Sébàstien Bourdon and Willem Kalf.
Giuseppe Cades was born in Rome to a French father and Italian mother. He began his artistic training under Domenico Corvi (1721-1803), who expelled the young Cades from his studio because of his stubborn and self-guided artistic personality. As early as 1762 Cades won prizes in drawing competitions in Rome. One Eighteenth Century art historian labeled Cades a “dangerous imitative talent to society” because he was able to forge drawings so convincingly in the style of Old Masters, such as Raphael and Michelangelo, that it fooled the experts.
Admission to the museum is free and hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm; Friday, 10 am to 10 pm; Sunday 11 am to 5 pm. The museum is at 2445 Monroe Street at Scottwood Avenue. For a schedule of related programs, call 419-255-8000.
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