Virgins, Gods, Saints and Lovers
Strangeness and Style in Mannerist Prints

January 20-March 18
Graphics Gallery

Gallery Talk
by Susan Maxwell,
McIntire Department of Art Ph.D. candidate
and curator of the exhibition
Sunday, February 11, 2 pm
In the Museum

Press Release

Artists of the sixteenth century produced some of the richest and most diverse works in the history of European art. Intense religious and political upheaval along with the resurrection of ancient literature created abundant sources for subject matter. But the art that we have come to term "mannerist" also shows a preoccupation with style, with how the image is presented to make it unusual or visually titillating. This broad range of expression is especially evident in the prints of this era. Artists such as Hendrick Goltzius or Jan Müller took equal pleasure in the virtuoso handling of the burin as in presenting unusual mythological scenes or complex allegories. 

This exhibition juxtaposes strange subjects and stylistic expression that span everything from depictions of the Virgin Mary to such racy motifs as Mars Surprised with Venus. Despite the religious content of many works, emphasis is on the sensual use of line and unusual poses of the human body. Other works reach far into mythology or obscure allegory to present vague or daring topics. These graphic works chosen from the Bayly Art Museum Permanent Collection examine the desire to attain a synthesis between technical skill and provocative themes.

Photo Credit: 
Hendrick Goltzius, Netherlandish, 1558ö1617
Mars Surprised with Venus, 1585
Engraving, 17 1/8 x 12 11/16 "
Museum Purchase with Curriculum
Support Funds 1995.21.1

Contact: Suzanne Foley, Curator
804/924-3592  Fax: 804/924-6321