CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Scripture for the eyes: bible illustration in Netherlandish prints of the sixteenth century

Exhibition: 17 October 2009 - 24 January 2010

From the museum website, 18 June 2009

This is the first major exhibition of its kind to explore the central role played by printed illustrations from both the Old and New Testaments during one of the most dramatic artistic and religious transformations in European history. Prints are often viewed as merely mimicking or following artistic developments in the more prestigious medium of painting and, more generally, the visual arts are seen as mirroring societal change. “Scripture for the Eyes” challenges these views and shows prints to have been a dynamic force both in the transformation of Northern European art between Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn and in the intensified attention to Scripture in the religious turmoil of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Approximately 80 images from illustrated Bibles and books, as well as independent engravings and woodcuts will be featured. The exhibition is organized according to the diverse functions of the prints rather than according to a chronology of their production or a biblical narrative. The artists include Lucas van Leyden, Maarten van Heemskerck, Philips Galle, Hendrick Goltzius, and Hieronymus Wierix among others. “Scripture for the Eyes” is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalog.

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