Leonardo des Nordens: Joos van Cleve

Leonardo of the north: Joos van Cleve 17 March - 26 June 2011

Information from the organizers, 21 February 2011

For the first time, a large monographic exhibition is devoted to the exceptional artist Joos van Cleve. It offers a broad survey of his versatile oeuvre as well as profound insights into the secrets of his success.

The Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum in Aachen has brought together all of the most important works by the artist which are in a condition to travel. The exhibition comprises approximately 60 pieces: Altarpieces, devotional paintings and portraits. The loans originate from 30 internationally renowned museums as well as a dozen private collections. Some of the privately owned works are exhibited publicly for the first time.

From the 1520ies to the 1540ies Joos van Cleve maintained the most famous artist’s studio in Antwerp from where his works found their way to the leading European royal, ecclesiastic and merchant houses: from Cologne to Genoa, from Gdansk to Madeira.

In addition, the exhibition includes paintings by the Italian Renaissance artists Giampietrino (Madonna of the Cherries) and Marco d’Oggiono (The Infants Christ and John the Baptist Embracing), both assistants in the workshop of Leonardo da Vinci, who was a major influence on the Antwerp master. Joos van Cleve produced his own versions after these models, endowed them with his own style and thus created painted series of the most successful motifs of the time.

The art of Joos van Cleve combines the emotionality of the Italian Renaissance with the precision and clarity of early Netherlandish art. Together with some of his contemporaries, he significantly shaped the development of Northern European painting, by, on the one hand, his artistic creativity, and, on the other, his ideas about workshop organization.

Today Van Cleve’s paintings inspire visitors to the world’s greatest museums: the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Now, for the first time, his large oeuvre can be seen and admired in one location.

The exhibition is completed by a longer documentary film, which provides an in-depth discussion on the artist, and three shorter animation films on the topic of workshop practice.

Of course, the exhibition website offers lots of information to get to know the artist better.