Sofia Mascate
Gilded Cage
14.06. — 30.06.2024

For the past year, I’ve been living in a house with an atelier, free of charge. This house is a non-monetary scholarship provided through a cooperation between a private investment company and the academy from which I am graduating.
The building, Haus Zum Reichsapfel, dates back to 1788 and is adorned with a globus cruciger(*) on its front gate - a scenic backdrop of imperial nostalgia. Amongst bulky Gründerzeit furniture that did not belong to me, I felt surrounded by remnants of a bygone era. My circumstances led me to empathise with the predicament of a court painter, bound by the tastes of their patrons.

I wrote my master’s thesis about the impact of systems of patronage on the legacies of two main baroque painters, Diego Velázquez and Nicolas Poussin. In this process, I observed how their paintings offer glimpses into negotiation processes with their patronal entities, an approach I sought to experiment with during my stay. In my paintings for the Gilded Cage, I employed baroque tropes with my own twist, hoping to better understand my position within present-day conditions of artistic production.

(*) Reichsapfel: "the orb and cross", is an orb surmounted by a cross. It has been a Christian symbol of authority since the Middle Ages - the cross laid over the globus represents the dominion of Christianity over the world.

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