A Monograph and Catalogue Raisonne
By: Lawrence W. Nichols, William Hutton Senior Curator,
European and American Painting and Sculpture before 1900 at the Toledo Museum of Art
Binding: Hardcover, 466 pp. text, 207 plates and ills. (145 in colour)
This long-awaited volume is a comprehensive study of the paintings of Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), the most important artist in the Netherlands at the turn of the seventeenth century. A poem published in Haarlem in 1617 lamented the death that year of "the most artful master Hendrick Goltzius, in his life [a] skillful painter, draftsman, and artful engraver." The fact that "painter" heads the list of his accomplishments is significant, for although Goltzius enjoyed international fame as a draughtsman and engraver, to his contemporaries he was equally renowned for his skill in the art of painting, which was considered the highest artistic calling. This volume on his paintings, the first since Hirschmann's short study of 1916, finally completes a full assessment of this artist of Haarlem, whose drawings were the subject of Reznicek's publication of 1961 and whose prints were catalogued by Leesberg in the New Hollstein series that appeared in 2012.
Four chapters are dedicated to a consideration of the reasons for Goltzius's conversion to painting, his biography in the years 1600 to 1617, an examination of the style and iconography of his works in oil, and a thorough review of the critical appraisal of his paintings from his day to the present.
The extensive catalogue discusses 59 paintings by Goltzius, and also includes 160 pictures known only from descriptions and 38 rejected works. A lengthy appendiz - the result of extensive archival research - includes, in the original language, all known sources that mention Goltzius and every known inventory listing of his paintings.
The catalogue of accepted works is ordered iconographically, whereas the color plates of Goltzius's entire extant oeuvre are arranged in chronological order, visually demonstrating the development of his career as a painter. In addition to the color plates, 121 black-and-white figures provide material for comparison. A complete bibliography and three indexes enhance the accessibility and usefulness of this volume.