January 17 – April 23
Greco-Roman mythology was a frequent subject in all forms of art during the Neoclassical period, which began in Rome in the mid-18th century, but eventually made its way throughout Europe and to North America by the late 19th century. Neoclassicism drew inspiration from the Classical arts, such as literature, music, theatre, and architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome, and was disseminated throughout Europe when wealthy young people brought back artworks, ideas, and influences to which they had been exposed on their Grand Tours of the Mediterranean. Much of the artworks, antiquities, and architecture seen on these tours had been recently rediscovered by practitioners of the newly created and still developing field of archaeology, and Western artists, artisans, and architects were eager to incorporate them into their contemporary works.
George Woodall (1850-1925), the world-renowned English sculptor in the medium of cameo glass, drew inspiration again and again from subjects found in Greek and Roman mythology, and more than a dozen of those works are included in the Texas A&M Runyon Art Collection. Woodall, working as a designer and fabricator for the firm of Thomas Webb & Sons, led a team of artisans that created hundreds of pieces of cameo glass over a period of about 33 years. The team’s output was astounding, both for its sheer magnitude and its complexity. They depicted well-known stories and iconic characters in intricate detail that would be difficult to convey in the more traditional media of drawing or photography but seems almost impossible to sculpt from incredibly thin layers of colored glass.