From Italy to Britain: Winckelmann and the spread of neoclassical taste

Like many antiquarians of his day, the German art historian and archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) first learned about the ancient world through immersion in literature. As a teacher then librarian in his native Germany, An image from the exhibition From Italy to BritainWinckelmann encountered the classics primarily through literary texts, as well as the souvenirs-coins, gems and figurines-that Grand Tourists and other travellers had brought north from their visits to Italy. Once he arrived in Rome, where he rose to prominence at Prefect of Antiquities in the Vatican, Winckelmann studied the remains of Greek, Graeco-Roman and Roman art on a larger scale. Through personal contacts, letters and other writings, Winckelmann influenced his and subsequent generations of scholars, aesthetes, collectors, craftsmen and artists both within and beyond Italy.

From Italy to Britain… explores his varied influence on the arts, through printed media, architecture and decorative arts. The exhibition, curated by Professor Amy Smith, curator of the Ure Museum, is part of the Anniversary celebrations of the work of Johann Joachim Winckelmann and particularly his influence on the reception of Classical art.

The exhibition is free and open to the public until 15th December 2017. For details and opening times, visit the MERL website.

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