Engravings, etchings, and woodcuts in the Mannerist style of outrageous extremes

Mannerist artists went to extremes in their treatment of the human body. In the years after Raphael’s death in 1520, complex poses, intricate gestures, and esoteric symbolism replaced the harmony and balance of the High Renaissance. A self-consciously “stylish” style, Mannerism was an art of extremes: elongated proportions, exaggerated postures, ultra-gracefulness, and titillating eroticism. This sophisticated and courtly style transformed printmaking as well as painting. “Elegant Contortions” displays approximately forty engravings, etchings, and chiaroscuro woodcuts from the Museum’s rich collection. The exhibition focuses on Italian printmakers, such as Giorgio Ghisi; the French (and Italian) school of Fontainebleau; and Dutch engravers, such as Hendrick Goltzius, as well as the ultimate Mannerist printmaker, Jacques Bellange of Lorraine.

Above: Hendrick Goltzius, The Judgment of Midas, 1590 (detail). Engraving. Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously.


Presented with support from the Benjamin A. Trustman and Julia M. Trustman Fund.