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

October 6, 2010–January 17, 2011

The Renaissance Style Emerges in Gossart's Work

Gossart's exploration in paintings, drawings, and prints of the interaction of figures, including the heightened sensual relationship between them, was not restricted to the mythological subjects that he painted for humanist courts. In the 1520s, with themes such as the Virgin and Child and Adam and Eve, he began to develop compositional strategies for conceiving his figures in the round and projecting them into the viewer's space, occasionally using trompe l'oeil frames or nichelike architecture to set them off from the background. Often taking his inspiration from sculpture, Gossart imbued his figures with a convincing volumetric form and, calling upon his mastery of the illusionistic properties of oil painting, mimicked the polished sheen of marble for flesh tones. Albrecht Dürer's prints were a source of inspiration for expressive figures, compositions, and the construction of the human form according to idealized proportions.