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Rodin’s Beethoven

The Music Behind the Sculpture

Virtual Lecture

Mar 3, 10:00am
Virtual Lecture 10:00am
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This event has taken place.


The Baker Museum Lecture Series
Rodin’s Beethoven:
The Music Behind the Sculpture

Olivia Mattis, lecturer

Music for Rodin was not mere adornment or entertainment. "A visit to the Louvre is for me like an hour of beautiful music; it exalts me," said the sculptor to his English biographer Frederick Lawton. Elsewhere he declared: "Religious music … makes my soul and my mind swoon." Using primarily unpublished sources, including Rodin's passionate letters to the pianist Hélène de Nostitz that evoke "notre Beethoven," as well as accounts from early biographers and others who knew the sculptor well, Dr. Olivia Mattis, a musicologist specializing in links between music and the visual arts, argues that Rodin considered himself to be, and perhaps was, the Beethoven of sculpture — the pathbreaker who built on the past and yet opened wide vistas to the future.

This lecture will be presented virtually using an online video platform. Patrons will be sent access information as the date of the event approaches.

This presentation is part of the exhibition Rodin: Truth Form Life / Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections.

To ensure the health and safety of our patrons, Artis—Naples has established procedures for your visit to the Kimberly K. Querrey and Louis A. Simpson Cultural Campus. All patrons will be required to wear a face mask and have their temperature taken when they arrive at Artis—Naples. Please review our COVID-19 Protocols for detailed guidance about our enhanced safety protocols.

Olivia Mattis

Olivia Mattis

Olivia Mattis is a musicologist who specializes in links between music and the visual arts. She co-authored Rival Sisters, Art and Music at the Birth of Modernism, 1815-1915 and Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Art and Music Since 1900. With Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia, she is preparing a large-scale touring exhibition titled George Gershwin and Modern Art — A Rhapsody in Blue to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Gershwin’s masterpiece. Her research on "Rodin’s Beethoven — The Music Behind the Sculpture" was supported by a grant from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. She is also a recipient of an NEH Fellowship and an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. She holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford University, with a dissertation on Edgard Varèse and the Visual Arts, and a B.A. in music from Yale. Aside from her scholarly work she is deeply engaged in Holocaust remembrance and is President and co-founder of the Sousa Mendes Foundation, devoted to honoring the memory of the Holocaust rescuer Aristides de Sousa Mendes and those he saved — including Salvador Dalí, Hans and Margret Rey (authors of Curious George), and thousands of others.

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