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Jan Gossaert’s Renaissance - National Gallery

Exhibition preview

AN EXHIBITION entitled Jan Gossaert’s Renaissance is on display in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery until May 30, 2011.

The first exhibition dedicated to the artist for over 40 years, it presents the results of a complete re-examination of his work, including new technical discoveries.

Jan Gossaert, a native of Flanders (active 1503; died 1532) was one of the most startling and accomplished artists of the Northern Renaissance.

Working for wealthy and extravagant members of the Burgundian court in the Low Countries in the first three decades of the 16th century, Gossaert was especially noted for his sensuous nudes, painted to evoke the sheen of marble, and his stunning illusionistic portraits in which he plays intriguing spatial games.

The first northern artist to draw directly from antiquity in Italy (during a visit to Rome in 1808-9), Gossaert was a peerless exponent of the illusionistic properties of oil paint as practised by his countrymen from Jan van Eyck onwards.

The exhibition features over 80 works, including many of the artist’s most important paintings such as The Virgin and Child, 1527, Prado, Madrid, and Hercules and Deianeira, 1517, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham. It also features drawingsand contemporaneous sculptures of the Northern Renaissance.

The National Gallery has one of the largest and finest collections of Gossaert’s paintings in the world, a highlight being The Adoration of the Kings (1510-15). This exhibition allows them to be set in the context of the full range of the artist’s work, from the fruits of his early visit to Rome to the unusually erotic presentation of the nude in his Adam and Eve series.

Van Eyck to Gossaert: Towards a Northern Renaissance, published alongside the exhibition, is a comprehensive account of the Renaissance in the Netherlands and the Low Countries.

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN