Idols & RivalsExhibition Catalogue 2022 Size: 24 x 28 cm
296 pages, numerous illustrations, hardcover
Artistic Competition in Antiquity and the Early Modern Era
Editor: Gudrun Swoboda
Special Exhibition KHM 2022
Today, our main associations with the terms ‘contest’, ‘competition’, and ‘rivalry’ come from economics, sports, the theory of evolution, architecture, or various TV contests. In the early modern era, however, the competitive principle principle proved a decisive element of art production. It was generally held that the competitive habit of imitating, emulating, and surpassing others (imitatio, aemulatio, and superatio) led to progress. As so often classical antiquity functioned as a reference point. Some of the best-known Renaissance and Baroque works are the result of early modern European artists vying either with each other or with revered long-dead masters. At times, however, competing for a prestigious commission resulted in an aggressive climate that revealed the dark side of this rivalry – such as jealousy among artists complete with intrigues, blows, and calumnies.