Artists in Competition

Words like “competition” or “contest” are mainly associated with the economy, sports, evolutionary theory, architecture or TV shows. In the early modern era, however, the idea of engaging in a contest shaped the works of countless painters and sculptors. For the first time, the Kunsthistorisches Museum is hosting a major exhibition on this important subject. Occasionally there were exhibitions on the Paragone, but never one examining the often intense rivalries that saw painters and sculptors vying with fellow artists as well as revered, long-dead masters, which resulted in some of the most famous works of art of the Renaissance and the Baroque.

This exhibition brings together outstanding works from the Kunsthistorisches Museum and a selection of around 70 additional masterpieces from international collections (including works by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dürer, Titian, Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Cellini, Rubens etc.) to explore this complex and fascinating subject. The show examines and recreates some of the many artistic confrontations by juxtaposing the competing works one more time. Many of the selected paintings and sculptures from antiquity up to 1800 will be on view in Austria for the first time – including works that were always intended to be brought together and compared with each other.

 © Foto: KHM