: Domenico Merchetti
: before 1880
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The Nuptial Feast of Cupid and Psyche
Engraving. Inscription in pencil. 283 x 970 mm
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John Gibson (1790-1866) was to the British what Thorvaldsen was to the Danes. He was the most important British sculptor of the time and, like Thorvaldsen, he lived in Rome from his early productive years. Gibson told how the artists in Rome’s international art milieu would visit each other in their studios. And how on these occasions they would provide each other with constructive criticism of work in progress. He never modelled a work without consulting Thorvaldsen and other artists, and he always derived great benefit from this habit. Gibson greatly admired his teachers, first Antonio Canova (1757-1822) and then Thorvaldsen. Like his teachers, Gibson was also inspired by ancient Greek art. This has made its mark on the way in which he portrays the human body – also in the relief The Nupital Feast of Cupid and Psyche, which Domenico Marchetti took as the model for his copperplate engraving. Also among Thorvaldsen’s Danish pupils the question of what was referred to as “men in trousers” was discussed, i.e. should a human being be represented naked or dressed in ancient robes as opposed to dressed in the contemporary manner – “men in trousers”.