Information from the museum’s website, 28 March 2015
Organized by The San Diego Museum of Art, Divine Desire: Printmaking, Mythology, and the Birth of the Baroque showcases engravings produced in the later sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in northern Europe and Italy. These sophisticated works of art, produced by the leading artists of the period, are assembled primarily from The San Diego Museum of Art’s Permanent Collection, together with several important loans from significant Southern California collections. Themes revolve around the romantic entanglements of the gods of Classical Antiquity and how such imagery relates to a Reformation/Counter-Reformation Europe. While these prints were produced using visually stunning and sophisticated techniques in order to delight the senses of their audience, their subject matter served a moralizing and instructive purpose. As in Greek and Roman times, the gods served as foils for contemporary mortals, complete with the imperfections inherent to human nature. By turns comic, erotic, satirical, and moralizing, the imagery reflects the norms and ideals of a society undergoing agonizing transition. Featured artists include Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1616), Jacob Matham (1571 – 1631), and Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528). The spectacular artistic achievements explored in Divine Desire signal a crucial moment in the artistic developments of the Baroque Age in Europe.