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The “Master Prints” of Hendrick Goltzius and Mannerist Art
The Davis Museum recently acquired The Life of the Virgin series by the Dutch artist Hendrick Goltzius, six engravings executed in the 1590s by one of the most brilliant and influential artists in the history of printmaking. In these engravings, often called his “Master Works,” Goltzius created new compositions based on the style and technique of earlier artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas van Leyden, Parmigianino, and Frederico Barrocci. Each image is a bravura performance, emblematic of Goltzius’s skills of invention and emulation in particular and of the complexity of Mannerist art in general.
The acquisition of The Life of the Virgin series by Goltzius offered the occasion to highlight aspects of Mannerist art from the Davis Museum’s permanent collections, and to consider the legacy of the contested definitions of Mannerism and maniera within the realm of art history. The thirty prints, paintings and sculpture in the exhibition illustrated the range and variety of 16th-century art in northern and southern Europe. They included Giorgio Vasari’s Holy Family, Giovanni Bologna’s Rape of a Sabine, and Ugo da Carpi’s Diogenes, as well as two other major recent Goltzius acquisitions, Proserpina, and Venus and Mars Surprised by Vulcan, and was supplemented by loans from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Fogg Museum of Harvard University.
Funded by Wellesley College Friends of Art, the Constance Rhind ’81 Fund for Museum Exhibitions and the June Feinberg Stayman ’48 Art Fund.
Professor of Art Emeritus, Former Adjunct Curator
Former Curator of Prints and Drawings
2004 Liliane Pingoud Soriano Curatorial Fellow