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Owning The Past: Why The English Collected Antique Sculpture, 1640–1840 (Paul Mellon Centre For Studies In British Art)

In a lively re-examination of the British collectors who bankrupted themselves to possess antique marble statues, Owning the Past chronicles a story of pride, rivalry, snobbery, and myopic obsession with posterity and possession. Analyzing the motives that drove “Marble Mania” in England from the 17th through the early 19th century, Ruth Guilding examines how the trend of collecting antique sculpt...

Series: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Hardcover: 412 pages
Publisher: Paul Mellon Centre BA (January 27, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0300208197
ISBN-13: 978-0300208191
Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.3 x 11.9 inches
Amazon Rank: 2569085
Format: PDF Text TXT ebook

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“Ruth Guilding seems to be of the opinion that those in Great Britain who collected ancient marbles in the 18th and 19th Centuries were either perfect snobs, reckless social climbers, or scheming megalomaniacs. Absent is a recognition of the abiding ...”

re entrenches the ideals of connoisseurship and taste, exacerbates socioeconomic inequities, and serves nationalist propaganda. Even today, for the individuals or regimes that possess them, classical statuary performs as a symbol of authority or as the trophies of a “civilized” power. From Adolf Hitler posing for the press beside an ancient copy of Myron’s Discobolus to the 2002 sale of the Newby Venus for a record price of about $13 million to the Emir of Qatar, marble mania remains unabated. With insider access to private collections, Guilding writes with verve and searing insight into this absorbing fixation.