20 May to 14 October 2018
The summer exhibition at the Louis Couperus Museum is dedicated to the Louis Couperus theme and sculpture. This concerns, on the one hand, portraits and portraits of Couperus himself and his work, and, on the other hand, images from Classical times which he describes in his books. Couperus’ view of that Antiquity is surprisingly modern.
Images from and to Couperus
There are several portrait sculptures by Couperus. First of all, these are the well-known images in the Surinamestraat and Lange Voorhout, but also less well-known such as the busts of Theo Dobbelman, the French duo Mathias and Nathalie and Corrado Ruffino in Rome. In addition, various images have been made based on themes or title heroines from Couperus’ work by sculptors such as Theo vander Nahmer, Tom Pucky, Wibbine van Roon and Jan Wolkers. All this can be seen in the front room of the museum.
Sculpture from Classical times
In the back room of the museum, images and photographs of sculptures of antique sculptures are shown. Louis Couperus was inspired for his life by art and mythology from Classical Antiquity. The essence here is how the attitude towards looking at classical sculpture changes in the nineteenth century. At first, sculpture was judged from an aesthetic or Christian / moralistic point of view. In the course of the century, antique sculptures were increasingly seen as ‘animated objects’. As such, they made their entrance as characters in the literature.
Why this theme, now?
Couperus was of the opinion that the “old” had a healthier and, in particular, brighter attitude to life than the early Christians, and that the latter had unnecessarily destroyed much of that innocent, pagan civilization. This view is surprisingly in line with a recently published study, Centuries of Darkness. The Christian destruction of classical culture, by Catherine Nixey (2017), in which parallels are drawn between the extermination urge of early Christians in late Antiquity and the destructive actions of the terror group Isis in our days. Couperus’ vision reveals the factual interest.
The exhibition is made possible by a sponsor who wishes to remain anonymous.
Note for editors:
More information can be obtained from the guest curator: Caroline de Westenholz: 06 148 36306. Louis Couperus Museum, Javastraat 17, 2585 AB Den Haag. Tel. 070- 3640653. www.louiscouperusmuseum.nl
Open from Wednesday to Sunday 12.00-17.00. Museum Card and Rotterdam Pass are welcome.