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Lucas van Leyden en de Renaissance

Lucas van Leyden and the Renaissance Exhibition: 20 March - 26 June 2011

Information from the museum

Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden is pleased to present, in cooperation with Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the major exhibition Lucas van Leyden and the Renaissance from 20 March through 26 June 2011. For the first time ever, the main Renaissance artist of the Northern Netherlands will be showcased against the background of his contemporaries. The 250 works of an exceptionally high quality belong to the collections of Dutch and international museums such as the Louvre, the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum. Most of them will be on display in the Netherlands for the first time. This exhibition fits well into De Lakenhal’s policy to offer high-quality exhibitions of national or international significance based on sources from Leiden.


Lucas van Leyden (Leiden, ca. 1494-1533) introduced the Renaissance in the Northern Netherlands. The exhibition features prints, drawings and paintings and focuses on the important role he played in this movement. Works by internationally renowned artists such as painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer from Germany, court painter Jan Gossaert and landscape painter Joachim Patinir from the Southern Netherlands demonstrate the coherence with contemporary artists. This exhibition’s highlights are Lucas’ triptychs, which will be re-united on this special occasion. The Last Judgement from De Lakenhal has been a crowd-puller for many years and is Lucas’ only work that has remained in Leiden throughout its history. It will be showcased together with two other masterpieces: Dance around the Golden Calf from the Rijksmuseum and The Healing of the Blind Man of Jericho from the Saint Petersburg Hermitage.

Child prodigy

At a very young age, Lucas van Leyden already produced exceptional prints, which is why he became known as a child prodigy. He was particularly renowned for his engravings which were sold all over Europe. In addition to prints, he also made paintings and drawings. He was regarded as an innovative artist because of his graphic work and the introduction of Italian Renaissance iconography in the Netherlands. His reputation reached as far as Italy and Germany. He was not only appreciated by contemporary art connoisseurs and artists, but also by artist biographers such as Giorgio Vasari and Karel van Mander who highly praised him in their writings.


Lucas’ meeting with Albrecht Dürer in 1521 in Antwerp was very significant. The two artists exchanged a large number of prints and Dürer drew Lucas’ portrait. The exhibition displays a substantial number of Dürer’s works and demonstrates that both artists were first-rate story tellers. Paintings with card players and prints with a standard-bearer or dentist show Lucas’ interest in depicting the little everyday things of life. He introduced important genres such as the portrait and human nudes and also raised the level of the landscape genre dramatically. The implication of vast space is remarkable for his work.


Lucas van Leyden en de renaissance
Catalogue of an exhibition held in Leinden (Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal) in 2011
352 pp., paperbound
Antwerp (Ludion) 2011
ISBN: 9789055448555

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