“Transformed Gods” from the Museo del Prado
For this entry, I reviewed a Museo del Prado acoustiguide from 2009 that revolved around Classical Roman sculpture (most of them copies of Greek sculpture). They do talk about the occasional original Greek sculpture, especially from Phidias. I love that they ask you to start the acoustiguide when you see a naked man (aka a statue of Dionysius). In every section, the series explains the mythology behind statues and its history of change, in jokes, references, modifications, and alteration. Even what people originally believed about this statue. Not to mention who promoted them in writing.
More often than not, the podcast diverts away from statues and talk about the use of restoration during the Baroque era. What happened, you wonder? Artists during this time modified Classical statues so to represent their present day until a backlash in the nineteenth century that caused the removal of these changes. Talk about multiple authors over time. Interesting given what it means to have authentic sculpture representing one era in contrast to people who believed in it the least. We’re so much of a stickler about this now. When the narrators talk about the world of private collections, they revealed how much of a Wild West this era felt with people grabbing up sculpture before museums and art history’s full establishment.
The rest of the podcast delivers facts from the early Roman Empire to the beginnings of the Byzantine. Interesting learning that artists depicted old women in ancient Greece as drunken Dionysian followers. The Museum even included a podcast devoted to the use of paint in sculpture, a fact known since the days Johann Joseph Wincklemann. On him, Wincklemann receives a mention to show how deep his influence went during his day. They also disclose that not until later in the Roman era did art depict real people (I hope I heard that right because didn’t Greek Hellenistic art do that first?). Furthermore, this former acoustiguide largely compares and contrasts the difference between the Greeks and the Romans. Lastly, miscellaneous works included sarcophagus. This acoustiguide ends with Emperor Theodosius with a “Missorium” under the same name. As usual, no reproductions in the download, and the longest almost hits three minutes.