San Donato Milanese (Milan), 30 November 2012 – One of the most fascinating classical myths has made a comeback through the extraordinary exhibition of the sculpture Amore e Psiche stanti (Cupid and Psyche Standing) by Antonio Canova and the painting Psyché et l’Amour (Cupid and Psyche) by François Gérard. The two works will be on display in Milan, together for the first time ever thanks to Eni and in partnership with the Louvre. The display forms a part of what has become an annual exhibition, held for the fifth year running, by the Milan Council in the Sala Alessi of Palazzo Marino, from 1 December 2012 to 13 January 2013.
The exhibition is dedicated to masterpieces by two of the greatest exponents of Neoclassicism, both inspired by the myth of Psyche and Cupid, taken from the Metamorphoses of Apuleius. Amore e Psiche stanti, Antonio Canova’s sculpture dated 1797, sets the aesthetic canons for his “divinities‘, marked by their tenderness and sensual beauty. Francois Gérard’s painting Psyché et l’Amour, dated one year later, was considerably influenced by Canova’s work, and reveals an erotic charge that gained him great public acclaim.
Previous editions of the exhibition organised in collaboration with the Louvre (of which Eni is Mécène Exceptionnel) have starred the masterpieces Saint John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci (2009), Woman with a Mirror byTitian (2010), and the Adoration of the Shepherds and St Joseph, the Carpenter by Georges de La Tour (2011). The success of Eni’s innovative formula for the promotion of art, based on offering visitors free entrance and a range of activities, events and learning tools, and ever characterised by the values of sharing, innovation and quality content, was demonstrated by the over 210,000 visitors who flocked to last year’s edition of the exhibition.
The exhibition, designed by Elisabetta Greci, captures and highlights the inspiration behind the works, drawn from Apuleius and reinterpreted in line with neoclassical aesthetics, paying particular attention to the choice of a garden as the ideal setting in which to place the works.
The hedges of a neoclassical maze penetrate the sixteenth century Alessi Hall, creating the feel of an open-air space. The plants cast shadows that creep up the walls and the ruins designed by Piranesi. The arches, placed in descending order of height, create vanishing points that give an idea of an infinite park. Subtle scents and muffled sounds from the night-swept garden take the visitor on a voyage of discovery of the two works of art.
The exhibition setting consists of three walls designed in the shape of hedges, creating an educational space followed by two further areas hosting the two works of art. The walls and floors are completely covered with artificial grass. The works are displayed in glass cases built by Laboratorio Museotecnico Goppion. The scents of the garden have been purposely created by Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, founded in Florence in 1612.
The show, curated by Valeria Merlini and Daniela Storti, offers educational initiatives, video material and digital aids, including the website www.amoreepsicheamilano.it, a free app, and videos and insights on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Foursquare. In terms of educational activities, special workshops are available aimed at primary and middle schools, as well as specific material on the eni.com website.
The catalogue is published by Rubettino Editore and edited by Vincent Pomarède, Valeria Merlini and Daniela Storti. In line with the objective of openness and continual dialogue with the community, this year’s edition introduces a series of Conferences, held in Milan’s municipal libraries, connected with Neoclassicism and the works of Canova and Gérard.
The theme of Cupid and Psychewill also form the basis of the Meetings moderated by Lella Costa (4, 11 and 18 December at 18.00, free entrance subject to booking) and organised by Eni at the Conference Centre of Milan’s Palazzo Reale, during which exponents of the world of culture and entertainment will provide their original point of view on a myth offering countless interpretations.