Body and Soul

Munich Rococo from Asam to Günther

12 December 2014 – 12 April 2015

During the 18th century, Munich rococo became a golden age of Bavarian art, unparalleled even by international standards. The artworks juxtapose a devout earnestness with a mundane and lighthearted playfulness. Their extraordinary aesthetics thrive on an unprecedented jocular vitality, a refined elegance and the highest craftsmanship.

The Many Faces of Rococo

Had it not been for the intensive collaboration – both in conceptual and practical matters – with the Diocesan Museum in Freising, it would not have been possible to stage this comprehensive exhibition on rococo for the first time in thirty years. The show presented numerous outstanding artists who lived in Munich between 1720 and 1770 and whose work had a profound influence on rococo, like the brothers Cosmas Damian Asam (1686–1739) and Egid Quirin Asam (1692–1750), along with Johann Baptist Straub (1704–1784), Franz Anton Bustelli (died 1763) and Ignaz Günther (1725–1775). The exhibition brought together approximately 160 of their masterpieces, including sculptures in wood and other materials like stucco, clay, porcelain and silver, together with paintings, drawings and prints.

The show first presented the baroque notion of art that combines architecture, painting, stucco and sculpture in one entity, followed by a chronological journey through the development of Munich rococo. From Straub, the founding father, to its culmination in Günther’s monumental figures right through to Anton Boos (1733–1810), whose tranquil works foreshadow the emerging art of classicism. Far-reaching issues, relating to the painting and gilding techniques used on the sculptures, their architectural integration or workshop practice for example, were also addressed.

For the first time in such proximity

Visitors were treated to a unique exhibition experience as numerous significant works of art from churches, museums and castles throughout Bavaria and other parts of Germany came together for the first time. Many of the objects had been loaned by churches and monasteries for the first time and could appear in the galleries of the Kunsthalle, allowing visitors to behold them in closer proximity than ever before.

The exhibition aimed to offer fresh insight with an unadulterated look at the epoch and, in so doing, integrated the works in the zeitgeist and the spiritual world of rococo.

A lavishly illustrated catalogue (in German) accompanying the exhibition was published by Munich’s Sieveking Verlag, and featured scholarly essays and entries with detailed information on all the works on display.
At the Kunsthalle: € 35.

360 degree view of some of the exhibits at their original location: Rococo Panoramas