A brilliant colorist and masterful storyteller, Dutch mannerist Joachim Wtewael (1566–1638) wielded a remarkably skilled brush and the technical ability to show it off in intricate compositions. He took inspiration from a wide range of biblical and mythological sources to create imaginative, often quite erotic scenes. While such pictures were prized in Wtewael’s time, more recently they were hidden away—behind other paintings, in leather folders on bookshelves, and in the reserves of great museums. This richly illustrated volume brings together more than fifty of Wtewael’s finest paintings and drawings, from a small jewel-like picture on copper depicting Mars and Venus to large-scale mannerist showpieces such as The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian and Perseus and Andromeda.
A pillar of the Utrecht community, Wtewael was engaged in business, religion, and politics as well as art. He adopted the exotic mannerist style, full of artifice and inventive manipulation, and continued to be fascinated by the challenge of creating sophisticated variations well into his maturity, when other Dutch artists had turned to naturalism. This book explores Wtewael’s amazingly refined and detailed paintings and drawings, shedding light on his reputation, his life, and the conflicted times—marked by iconoclasm and strife—in which he thrived.
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. is curator of northern baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Liesbeth M. Helmus is curator of old master paintings, drawings, and sculpture at the Centraal Museum Utrecht. James Clifton is director of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation and curator of Renaissance and baroque painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Anne W. Lowenthal is an independent scholar and authority on Joachim Wtewael. Stijn Alsteens is curator of drawings and prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
"Handsomely produced. . . . The catalogue’s generously scaled illustrations provide the visual delight that alone will surely attract new audiences to Wtewael’s work."--Lisa Rosenthal, Renaissance Quarterly
"The definitive study of one of the period’s most significant artists."--H. Rodney Nevitt Jr., University of Houston
"A timely, well-researched, and beautifully illustrated study of an extraordinarily compelling artist, written by leading lights in the field of Dutch art."--Claudia Swan, Northwestern University
Table of Contents:
xv Directors’ Foreword
xix Lenders to the Exhibition
xx Introduction: A Surprising and Diverse Life: Joachim Wtewael (1566 – 1638), Liesbeth M. Helmus
1 Desire and Devotion in Wtewael’s Art, Anne W. Lowenthal
17 Love and Passion: Wtewael’s Personal Statement, Liesbeth M. Helmus
25 Hastening to See Christ: Religious Painting in an Age of Conflict, James Clifton
37 Wtewael’s Historical Reputation, Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr.
49 Wtewael as Draftsman, Stijn Alsteens
194 Essay Notes
210 Photography Credits
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.:
Published in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington