The world’s first exhibition on wax portraits will analyse a field that has been studied very little by art historians: that of life-size wax figures. This fascinating subject has recently attracted the attention of numerous contemporary artists, but has never had a specific exhibition devoted to it.
The project was inspired by two fortunate coincidences, the existence of a series of life- size wax portraits in Venice’s public collections and churches, and the centenary of the publication of Geschichte der Porträtbildnerei in Wachs (“History of Portraiture in Wax”), written by the famous Viennese art historian Julius von Schlosser and the first work devoted to the history of wax portraits. A superb Italian translation of Schlosser’s work by Andrea Daninos has recently been published, complete with an extensive and detailed critical commentary.
The Venetian exhibition is the outcome of more than three years of research and, for the first time, it brings together nearly all of the extant sculptures in Italy, most of which unpublished or never displayed before.