STANFORD, Calif – 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.
Opening at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center on February 10, 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. The exhibition of engravings, etchings, woodcuts and chiaroscuro woodcuts by renowned artists and famous printmakers of the era continues through June 20, 2016.
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. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Cantor Arts Center is co-publishing an illustrated catalogue of Kirk Edward Long’s entire collection of 700 works, with essays by 10 scholars and 146 entries discussing individual works and suites.
“We are delighted that the Cantor has had a long and fruitful collaboration with such an astute and dedicated collector, resulting in this beautiful exhibition and the enlightening publication cataloguing Mr. Long’s complete holdings of 16th-century prints,” said Connie Wolf, the John and Jill Freidenrich director. “These works provide extraordinary opportunities for new and important scholarship, allow for unique interdisciplinary perspectives on this dynamic moment in history and support exciting collaborations with students and faculty. I am thrilled that we can bring these important works to Stanford University and share them with our colleagues and students on campus as well as the greater community. The exhibition and the accompanying publication are invaluable to scholars of the period as well as anyone interested in art and history. This exhibition shows what a dedicated scholar-collector can accomplish, and the catalogue shares new knowledge of an important period in art history.”
Throughout the exhibition, visitors can enjoy the accomplishments of the print designers Raphael, Giulio Romano and Maarten van Heemskerck — as well as the virtuosity of printmakers Marcantonio Raimondi, Ugo da Carpi, Giorgio Ghisi, Cornelis Cort and Hendrick Goltzius. Some images may be familiar, but many rare works by less known artists are also on view.
Mannerism, the style dominant throughout Europe from about 1520 to 1590, followed the High Renaissance and then led into the Baroque. Mannerists broke with the naturalistic idealism of the High Renaissance, rejecting the imitation of nature in favor of subjective imagination and the
aesthetic values of the artist. Mannerist art — painting and sculpture as well as prints — typically shares characteristics that include elongated figures in graceful, complex and stylized poses; complex compositions, often with multiple figures; a stress on contour; ornamental embellishments; and high finish. Pressure from the Catholic church at the end of the century lead to new styles of representation and the Baroque period. The Long collection represents the range of 16th century styles, with an emphasis on Mannerism.
Prints played a crucial role in the dissemination of the Mannerist style through Europe. The 16th century, encompassed by the Kirk Edward Long Collection, is notable for the multitude of printmakers who published a remarkable variety of compelling images. In addition, the emergence of professional print publishers advanced the dissemination and development of the medium during this period. European printmaking was invented in the 15th century: first came the woodcut, then engraving and etching. In the early 16th century, the painter Raphael was key among those who recognized the artistic as well as the fiscal potential of prints and integrated them into their studio production. The success of the enterprise continued after Raphael’s death in 1520 with the next generation of artists, printmakers and publishers. Mannerism was further spread by the artistic diaspora that followed the Sack of Rome in 1527.
“Through prints we can trace lines of filiation that connected the centers of European art throughout the 16th century, contributing to the formation of a common Mannerist language that was inflected by local traditions as the style evolved outside Florence and Rome, or that retained the native accent of the artists who worked in Italy, where they assimilated classical traditions at their source and contributed to their modern expression,” Barryte explained in an essay for the collection catalogue. “In terms of style, in the 16th century all roads did lead to Rome, and they were paved with prints.”
The Cantor Arts Center is open six days a week: Wednesday-Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday until 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday. Admission is free. The Cantor is located on the Stanford campus, off Palm Drive at Museum Way. Parking is free after 4 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends and major holidays.
For more information, call 650-723-4177 or visit museum.stanford.edu.