Pleasure and Piety: The Art of Joachim Wtewael
James Clifton, Liesbeth Helmus, and Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. et al.
Joachim Wtewael (c. 1566–1638) was an outstanding mannerist artist who began his career in Utrecht, under the tutelage of his father, a glass painter. He traveled extensively in Italy and France, studying especially works by the School of Fontainebleau. Wtewael had a remarkable technical ability, such that by the time he returned to Utrecht in 1592, his mannerist prints were said to parallel the style of the great Haarlem artist Hendrick Goltzius. As a painter, his works are endlessly fascinating and compelling, as shown in the complex and densely peopled biblical and mythological narratives that he composed throughout his life. A brilliant colorist as well as a masterful storyteller, he could with equal ease depict the lyrical realm of the Dutch golden age or the spiritual intensity of shepherds adoring the Christ child. He also made larger-scale portraits and genre scenes.
In this first exhibition and catalog devoted to the artist, curators from the National Gallery of Art and the Centraal Museum, working in conjunction with the foremost authority on the artist, will select approximately 35 paintings that represent the artist’s most intriguing and accomplished works. These will include his small-scale copper and panel paintings with religious and mythological themes as well as some of his outstanding portraits and larger narratives, including a wonderful self-portrait. The catalog will include essays on Wtewael’s life and times and entries on each of the works.
248 pages | 170 illustrations | 9.5 x 11 inches