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Drawn from Classicism: Modern Artists’ Books

This exhibition features a selection of modern livres d’artiste or limited edition, illustrated books and prints that were inspired by classical and mythological texts. Created largely by the French School of Paris artists that includes Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Aristide Maillol among others, these innovative and original prints highlight the artist book’s importance as a vehicle to treat a range of Greek and Roman literary themes written by Ovid, Virgil and other classical poets and playwrights. With their classicizing designs of antique texts that focus upon themes of love, imaginary idyllic landscapes and human mortality, these illustrated books exemplify how major artists from the late 19th and early 20th century, through their imaginative reconnection to age-old narratives and mythological figures, metaphorically assert the aesthetic and personal values of western classical tradition. This exhibition display is drawn from the Toledo Museum of Art’s permanent collection.
Relevant research areas: 19th Century, 20th Century, Book arts
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