Iconic Works: Nationalmuseum, Stockholm and Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Museum, Helsinki
Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery and Nationalmuseum, Sweden, are producing together an exhibition "Iconic Works" which addresses the formation of the art history through certain key images reused and reinterpreted by artists to this day. The building blocks of the visual DNA of Western art can be traced back to a number of signature pieces, so-called iconic works, like Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Rembrandt's The Night Watch that still have strong relevance in today's world.
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (20 February - 17 May 2020)
Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki (19 June - 20 September 2020)
Interestingly, these few key images have played a leading role in the canon of art history - no matter if we look at the earliest publications or the latest versions on the same issue. The art historical narrative was shaped hand in hand with collecting and display practices of the emerging museum institutions in the 19th-century Europe.
The exhibition tells the story of the iconic works: what they were and where they emerged as well as why and how they continue on influencing the contemporary art scene. Accordingly, it shows influence of museum sites, such as Glyptothek in Munich, Altes Museum in Berlin and South Kensington Museum (now Victoria & Albert Museum) in London.
The curators of the show are Dr. Susanna Pettersson, art historian and director general, Nationalmuseum, Sweden, and James Putnam, museum historian and independent author curator, with Sointu Fritze, chief curator, Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery as co-curator. A major catalogue and conference program will accompany the exhibition.
Contemporary artists Glenn Brown, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Nancy Fouts, Mark Karasick, Jeff Koons, Jenny Saville, Cindy Sherman, Sam Taylor-Johnson and Gavin Turk, among many others, introduce their modern-day versions of iconic works from Hieronymus Bosch, Caravaggio, Francisco Goya, Michelangelo, Nicolas Poussin and Titian, just to mention a few examples.
In addition, Berlin-based photographer Ola Kolehmainen brings historical museums and their stunning spaces on view. The exhibition also includes selected plaster casts, academy studies and painted copies of the old masters' works showing similarities between all museum collections nowadays.