An Antiquity of Imagination: Tvillio (Tullio) Lombardo and the Venetian High Renaissance Sculpture at NGA
Tullio Lombardo, one of the most gifted sculptors of all time, brought his art alive by integrating classical antiquity and contemporary Renaissance Venice in all his works. People appreciated his creativity because he took the risk of stepping out from the culture of paintings, which were popular at his time, and emerged the art of sculpture into the world. While observing his magnificent works in the National Gallery of Art, it was clear that he used many influences of classical antiquity in his sculptures. It was evident that Lombardo was passionate about the cultures of Greece and Rome in terms of classical antiquity.
The use of vine-leaf garlands, curly hair, use of drapery, and symbolic icons are all examples of classical antiquity in the sculptures. For instance, in “Bacchus and Ariadne” the use of a vine-leaf garland resembles that of a god with his bride Ariadne beside him. Ariadne with her immaculate hair pulled back in a headdress brings a classical feel into the sculpture. The framed border seemed like Lombardo was not only competing with ancient sculpture, but also with contemporary painters. The couple gave me a feeling as if they were poetic ideals and not just regular human beings. Most of his sculptures resembled perfection and flawless individuals. Therefore, their god-like features were very much noticeable.
Lombardo did a great job of emulating works of the ancients and even strived to surpass them by adding his contemporary touch of 16th century Venice. He had a very poetic approach to classical antiquity, which was highly appreciated while I was observing the sculptures in NGA.
Lombardo’s early life influenced his work of classical antiquity as it gave him the ability to go beyond his expectations....