Hendrick Goltzius, Dutch Master (1558–1617)
Drawings, Prints, and Paintings
June 26–September 7, 2003
Accompanied by a catalogue
The first major retrospective devoted to this virtuoso Netherlandish mannerist features spectacular figural displays in prints, remarkable pen paintings on parchment, vivid portraits and nature studies in colored chalk and silverpoint, and paintings of mythological and religious subjects on canvas and copper. Culled from collections throughout Europe and the United States, the selection of sixty-nine drawings, eighty prints, and thirteen paintings spans the artist's entire career and demonstrates his legendary mastery of a wide range of media, subject matter, and styles.
Internationally acclaimed in his day as the leading artistic personality of the Netherlands, Goltzius's reputation was soon eclipsed by the achievements of the seventeenth-century painters of Holland's Golden Age. It is only in the last half-century that his pivotal importance as the supreme exponent of Netherlandish mannerism has been appreciated fully. It is less widely recognized that he was a pioneer in the rise of Dutch realism and classicism.
The exhibition is organized chronologically and thematically, with works grouped according to the various media, genres, and styles in which Goltzius excelled at successive stages in his career. Roughly half of the exhibition is devoted to Goltzius's important activities as printmaker, and includes images such as the celebrated The Wedding of Cupid and Psyche, in which the mannerist love of artifice and exaggeration is most fully expressed. The group of sixty-nine drawings in the exhibition features a number of his famous large-scale pen works—including the spectacular, seven-by-five-foot Venus, Ceres, and Bacchus—as well as postage-stamp-size portraits in metalpoint and some of the first realistic renderings of the Dutch landscape. The group of thirteen oil paintings—a medium Goltzius took up only late in his career—is the largest ever assembled, and includes the magnificent Danaë, notable for its jewel-like colors and unabashed observation of the female nude.