Saturday, December 26, 2020

Variety and virtuosity – The Objets D’art of Luigi Valadier

By Susan Moore
Installation view of ‘Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome’ at the Frick Collection, New York, 2018. Pictured are the statues of the six saints from the High Altar of the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Nuova, Monreale, from c. 1773. Photo: Michael Bodycomb
NEW YORK---It was inevitable, perhaps, that the Frick Collection in New York should follow its acclaimed show in 2016 on the virtuoso bronze chaser-gilder Pierre Gouthière with an exhibition devoted to his Roman counterpart and almost exact contemporary Luigi Valadier (1726–85). The key difference between the two is that while the Frenchman produced a limited number of pieces of superlative quality, predominantly for the French court, Valadier vaunted variety, masterminding the production on an almost industrial scale of a wide range of luxury goods that he supplied to the Church, the Roman aristocracy and Grand Tourists alike. At their most ambitious, his inventive, even whimsical designs are as spectacular as they are technically accomplished. [More