Barbara Vujanovic (ITP 2016, Croatia): planning the Rodin spotlight tour

Barbara Vujanovic (ITP 2016, Croatia), Senior Curator, The Ivan Meštrović Museums – the Meštrović Atelier, Zagreb

As an ITP 2016 alumna I was given the wonderful opportunity to be part of a Spotlight Loan project, linked to the major Rodin exhibition about Auguste Rodin and the Parthenon Sculptures, which will take place in the British Museum in 2018. The master’s grand respect for the antique, especially Greek art, was manifested by the formation of his own collection, and by his visits to museum collections, like the British Museum, which he visited for the first time in 1881. He particularly admired the Parthenon Sculptures there. I was invited to develop, under the mentorship of Ian Jenkins and Celeste Farge (authors of the aforementioned exhibition) a touring exhibition in which a sculpture of Auguste Rodin shall be put into context with an object from the collection of the Department of Greece and Rome. The exhibition will be organized with three UK Partner Museums.

As a result I returned to the UK earlier this year to spend a week in London and Glasgow, with colleagues from the British Museum and the Burrell Collection, working on preparations for the Spotlight Loan project. On Tuesday I spent a very productive day with Ian Jenkins and Celeste Farge. We were discussing choices of objects, and the narrative of the touring exhibition. We are aiming to select objects which will fully explain the sculptor’s intention to introduce the fragment into modern art as the principle of self-sufficient and completed (sculptural) form, and the repercussions of some emblematic antique works of art in subsequent periods. I presented the results of our work to Celia Pullen and Eleanor Chant from the Registrar’s Office at the British Museum.

The second phase of my stay was a visit to Glasgow. I spent my Wednesday in the company of Eleanor Chant, in the Burrell Collection. We were greeted by Pippa Stephenson and Morven Rodger, with whom we discussed our options for borrowing the Rodin sculpture from their collection and other modalities of the cooperation. Apart from learning about the complexity of the collection, the ongoing project of museum renovation and seeing the Rodin sculptures, I also enjoyed visiting the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre and talking to conservator Stephanie de Roemer. In our free time, Eleanor and I visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

It was a very effective, enthusiastic and dynamic exchange, which will enable me to continue the development of the project, and to enrich my museum and scientific skills.