Dürer and Beyond: Central European Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400–1700 and the exhibition it accompanies focus for the first time on a rich and varied facet of the Museum's collection. Presented in a loosely chronological manner to allow for groupings of works by city, school, and theme, the drawings selected for this catalogue range from rare early Bohemian head studies through the golden age of Albrecht Dürer to the diverse creations of Joachim von Sandrart, who was not only a highly proficient artist but the first art historian in Germany, composing and publishing biographies of many of the artists in this volume.
The Museum's collection of drawings has been assembled over a long period of time, by different departments, and from a variety of sources. The publication of this catalogue offers the opportunity to acknowledge those who have played an important role in the collection's development. Robert Lehman's bequest made a particularly significant contribution to the Museum's holdings of Northern works on paper from the early sixteenth century. The majority of the works in this selection have been enthusiastically acquired during the tenure of George R. Goldner, Drue Heinz Chairman of the Department of Drawings and Prints since 1993. Goldner recognized the weaknesses in the collection and systematically expanded and improved it with the finest works available.
The selection seen here offers a broad overview of the Museum's collection of Central European drawings from about 1400 to 1700. Many of the sheets have never before been on public view, nor have they been published in any significant manner. To complement the highlights in this book, the remainder of the Museum's Central European drawings from the period under discussion has been catalogued and photographed, and is now available on the Museum's website.