The ‘Bronze’ Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts is a cross-cultural collection bringing together works spanning over a period of 5,000 years. Featuring 150 bronzes from Asia, Africa and Europe-the exhibition’s unique thematic arrangement presents a dynamic journey through antiquity to the present. This essay shall aim to discuss the way in which the dynamic layout of this exhibition affects the manner in which it is received by its audiences.
The opening artwork to the ‘Bronze’ exhibition is the Ancient Greek sculpture The Dancing Satyr. The fractured satyr is remarkably well preserved which allows for its dramatic affect audiences upon entering the exhibition. According to Curtis L.Carter’s essay on Sculpture (citied in Gaut and Lopes, 2005, p.639) it is suggested that ‘-Western philosophical aesthetics has given the art’ -of sculpture- ‘-relatively little attention’. For The Dancing Satyr to take centre stage at the beginning of an exhibition in a Western gallery could be suggesting that Western philosophical aesthetics are now taking a key interest into the art form of sculpture; and by the exhibition as a whole acknowledging this art form, shows the importance that sculpture throughout time holds. The Dancing Satyr is not in its original state, as natural elements have altered the overall appearance of the bronze and so the sculpture itself is displayed in a way which reflects its deformity in beautiful means. It has been proposed that ‘Works of art are mounted, hung, scattered for study’ (O’Doherty, 1976, p.15) and so The Dancing Satyr may be displayed on a podium in the centre of the floor space so that observers are able to take a three hundred and sixty degree view of the artwork, for its imperfections to be studied and for its antiquity to be experienced visually with each part of the sculpture fully exposed. By having such an enormous emphasis placed upon this Ancient Greek artwork gallery visitors can experience the godly like stature of the...
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