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Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance

October 6, 2010–January 17, 2011

A Master in Antwerp

Gossart is documented as having come from Maubeuge, a town originally in the medieval county of Hainaut, which was ceded to France at the Peace of Nijmegen in 1678. The details of his early training as a painter remain obscure; we first learn of him when he became a master in the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke in 1503 under the name of Jennyn van Hennegouwe, or Jan of Hainaut. The guild records also relate that Gossart took on two apprentices, Henne Mertens (possibly Jan Mertens [Van Dornicke]) in 1505 and Machiel in't Swaenken in 1507, two artists about whom virtually nothing is known. Curiously, almost no paintings by Gossart may be assigned to his Antwerp years. Rather, it is to his drawings that we must look for his virtuosity as a key proponent of Antwerp Mannerism, particularly to The Emperor Augustus and the Tiburtine Sibyl, which best expresses Gossart's extraordinary skills at this stage of his career.