March 6, 2009     
Contact: Karen Cardinal
Accounting, Web and Marketing Manager, Mead Art Museum

AMHERST, Mass.—On Tuesday, March 10, Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum will open a new exhibition titled Hendrick Goltzius’s Life of the Virgin: Surpassing Tradition. Curated by interim Andrew W. Mellon Coordinator of College Programs Susan Anderson, this installation of 14 prints in the museum’s Rotherwas Room contextualizes a series of six engravings by 16 th-century Dutch artist Hendrick Goltzius depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. The free exhibition is supported by the Amherst Art Series, the Hall and Kate Peterson Fund and the Collins Print Fund. 

One of the most versatile artists of his age, Goltzius developed a bold engraving style marked by swelling lines, robust figures and striking compositions. His Life of the Virgin series (1593-94) served as his entrée into the ranks of the Great Masters—Albrecht Dürer, Lucas van Leyden, Federico Barocci and Jacopo Bassano—from whose work he drew inspiration. Rather than slavishly copy Dürer’s woodcut Circumcision, for example, Goltzius based his variant on elements from two different woodcuts by the master while mimicking his hallmark engraving style.
Life of the Virgin: Surpassing Tradition is inspired by the ongoing Amherst College Faultlines Festival jazz series and its themes of pluralism and experimentation. The exhibition’s opening, in fact, coincides with a Faultlines event at the Mead: At 8 p.m. on March 10 in the Rotherwas Room, Bruce Diehl (saxophone) and Adam Larrabee (guitar) will perform the most recent concert in the series. “Like the composers and musicians highlighted in Faultlines, Goltzius combined disparate sources to produce experimental work of the highest caliber,” said Anderson. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join printmaking in 16th-century Holland with today’s cutting-edge jazz scene.” 

Life of the Virgin: Surpassing Tradition also relates to Emulation or Imitation: The Case of Dürer vs. Raimondi, an exhibition on view at the Smith College Museum of Art through April 19 that features several prints from the Mead’s collections.

The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the academic term, the museum is open Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to midnight and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, please visit the museum’s Web site, www.amherst/museums/mead, or call 413/542-2335.