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Cover for the book Pygmalion in Bavaria

Pygmalion in Bavaria

The Sculptor Ignaz Günther and Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Art Theory Christiane Hertel
  • Copyright: 2011
  • Dimensions: 8 x 10
  • Page Count: 344 pages
  • Illustrations: 27 color/89 b&w illustrations
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-03737-0

Hardcover Edition: $108.95

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“This is an extraordinary book. Extraordinary is Hertel's command of eighteenth-century aesthetic art theory, extraordinary her command of Bavarian Rococo art, especially the art of Ignaz Günther, and extraordinary the depth of her understanding of the religious culture of eighteenth-century Bavaria. Pygmalion in Bavaria may seem to be a book for a small number of specialists. But the spell of Ignaz Günther's art should ensure that this unusually engaging text will find the readers that it deserves and will help secure, in the English-speaking world, Günther's place among the major artists of the eighteenth century.”
“Now at last Christiane Hertel, professor at Bryn Mawr, will introduce Günther in English to future generations with a thoughtful book that goes well beyond the conventional monograph to probe the Bavarian Rococo, for example as a religious combination of the visionary with a personally subjective totality, ‘commemorative in a quasi-Lutheran sense.’ Such piety distances Ignaz Günther from modern taste, so here Hertel fills a real need to reconstitute his aesthetic ambitions, while subtly suggesting that his works may lie open to theological questioning in their own era.”

In Pygmalion in Bavaria, Christiane Hertel introduces the sculptor Ignaz Günther, placing him in the historical context of Bavarian Rococo art and Counter-Reformation religious visual culture. She also considers the remarkable aesthetic appeal of Günther’s oeuvre—and connects it to the eighteenth-century art theory that focused on sculpture and the creative paradigm of Pygmalion. Through this interweaving of contexts and discourses, Hertel offers insights into how Rococo art’s own critical dimension positions it against the Enlightenment and introduces a particular notion of subjectivity.

Christiane Hertel is Professor of Art History at Bryn Mawr College.


List of Illustrations



1. Ignaz Günther (1725–1775)

2. Pygmalion in Bavaria

3. Sculpture and Religious Culture in Counter-Reformation Bavaria

4. Unruly Art: Günther’s Angels and Their Behavior in Church

5. Günther’s Kerkerheiland and Rebellious Humility

6. Günther in Weyarn and the Liberties of Procession Sculpture

7. “Broken Unity”: Günther’s Self-Reflective Viewers

8. Pygmalion Intention, Pygmalion Reverie




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