More than 180 works, selected from one of the most extensive private collections of Mannerist prints in the world, epitomize the 16th-century’s extravagant and sophisticated style. Myth, Allegory and Faith: The Kirk Edward Long Collection of Mannerist Prints reveals the scope and depth of this exemplary collection for the first time, including engravings, etchings, woodcuts and chiaroscuro woodcuts by renowned artists and famous printmakers of the era. The exhibition familiarizes visitors with the development of the Mannerist style in Italy, traces its dissemination through Europe, shows its adaptation for both secular and religious purposes and follows its eventual transformation into the baroque style at the end of the century.
The exhibition begins with Mannerism’s primary sources, a fascination with classical antiquity and the overwhelming influence of Michelangelo. Curated by Bernard Barryte, the Cantor’s Curator of European Art, the exhibition is organized by region, tracing the style’s path from Florence, Rome and Central Italy to Venice and the rest of Europe. One section illuminates the way in which Mannerism was transformed in the Low Countries, where the Italianate artist Maarten van Heemskerck was an important innovator and where Hendrick Goltzius and his circle were responsible for the extraordinary flowering of the style in Haarlem during the last decades of the 16th century. Another portion of works illustrate Mannerism’s French variant. Known as the School of Fontainebleau, it was developed by Rosso Fiorentino and Francesco Primaticcio, Italian artists imported by King François I to decorate his palace at Fontainebleau in the most opulent and fashionable style.
The exhibition concludes with works that demonstrate the shift away from the artifice of the Mannerist aesthetic. Included are prints by Annibale Carracci, pioneer of a new naturalism that was influenced in part by the impetus of the Counter-Reformation and the dictates of the Council of Trent, which encouraged artists to create clearer and more emotionally engaging images to counteract the impact of Protestantism and win new converts.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, Myth, Allegory, Faith, catalogs Kirk Edward Long’s entire collection of 700 16th-century prints, with essays by 10 scholars and 146 entries discussing individual works and suites, illuminating the development of the Mannerist style in Italy, tracing its dissemination throughout Europe, and following its gradual transformation into the Baroque style. Including engravings, etchings, woodcuts and chiaroscuro woodcuts by such renowned artists as Federico Barocci, Parmigianino, Hendrick Goltzius and Annibale Carracci, and by such famous printmakers as Marcantonio Raimondi, Giorgio Ghisi and Cornelis Cort, this publication of devotional images, mythological narratives, portraits and landscapes is the most comprehensive resource on Mannerist printmaking to date.