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Arcadia: Paradise Found?

  • Date iconNovember 10 2022 - January 27 2024
  • Curator: Shlomit Steinberg
  • Della and Fred Worms OBE Gallery

Ruins of classical buildings, scintillating springs and lakes, and lush forests serve as backdrop in many of the works in the exhibition for such protagonists as Pan, god of the wilderness, his nymphs and satyrs. These are the landscapes of Arcadia – an actual region in the central Peloponnese known through Greek mythology for its pastoral nature. It was ruled by the hunter Arcas, son of the god Zeus and the nymph Callisto, and was described in the visual arts and in literature as a utopian land rich in water and vegetation, where men lived in perfect harmony with its herds.     

While artists were calling forth these visions in their paintings, celebrating nature and the idyllic relations between gods, humans, and animals, the reality outside their workshops was often plagued by war, disease, loss, and tragedy. For these artists, Arcadia represented the longing for a world without strife, sickness, old age, and poverty – the universal quest for a lost Paradise.

The exhibition features paintings, works on paper, and sculptures. Several of the artworks were made by artists who left the cold regions of Europe in search of the sun-drenched South where western civilization was born. There, in its lush landscapes and in the simple way of life and traditional occupations of its folks, they found the Arcadia of their dreams.