The 18th Century Porcelain Sculpture


18th century porcelain sculptures are richly found at the NGV. These include a couple of important and rare works by English and Continental factories. This particular exhibition was the first largest of its kind ever held at the NGV. The exhibition was totally dedicated to porcelain and there were over seventy works drawn from permanent collections.

Today, porcelain figures are only considered as decorative objects. However, in the eighteenth century, porcelain was highly held as a piece of art on which a sculptor would spend a lot of time trying to bring out the best in his piece.

These sculptures were greatly refined and they were subject to allegorical and mythological beliefs. This art pieces played a major role in promoting the rich and symbolic culture of a large part of Central Europe. Much of this production was also informed by the visual language of dances and theatre. Any devotional images or portraits that were made of porcelain were used to show an important status level held by the medium in the taste of those times.
The first objects to be made of porcelain were small sculptural works at Meissen. This was from the year 1710 to 1720 and the inspiration behind them was drawn votive sculptures imported from Asia.

European porcelain works were a reflection of the Baroque taste for good cabinet sculptures. These were small pieces of sculptures which were meant to be carefully handled and greatly appreciated. These pieces were used for decorative purposes on banquet tables during court festivals and celebrations. Large scale sculptures have also been made in porcelain over time as a way of testing the limits for ceramic technology. This is awesome.

On the 18th century porcelain exhibition, public programs, historians and leading academics are bringing together porcelain sculptures of the 18th century for display and sale.