In honor of the five hundredth anniversary of Albrecht Dürer's Melencolia I (1514), a group of impressions of the famous engraving are on view, as well as several works by artists from the sixteenth through the twentieth century who looked to the print as a model.
This exhibition also features a selection of colored Netherlandish landscape drawings made around 1600, as well as newly acquired Dutch drawings by artists who specialized in depictions of Southern landscapes, including notable works by Hendrick Avercamp and Nicolaes Berchem, respectively. A selection of drawings by Anthony van Dyck and Peter Lely show the close stylistic affinities between the two greatest portraitists active in Britain in the seventeenth century. In addition, a grouping of prints, drawings, and books depicting the triumphal Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome and spanning more than two centuries illustrates the different approaches to the remains of Roman antiquity—from the archaeological to the picturesque.
A section of the gallery is dedicated to the display of prints selected to complement the exhibition The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy: British Art and Design, on view in gallery 955 from May 20 through October 26, 2014. Prints were important to British Pre-Raphaelites as sources of inspiration and as a means of artistic expression. From the 1850s, London publishers commissioned engravings of successful paintings, and artists who had belonged to the original Brotherhood—John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti—as well as members of their circle—Ford Madox Brown, Frederick Sandys, and Simeon Solomon—designed wood-engraved illustrations for books and journals.
Also on display are a number of vibrant color linocuts depicting dynamic images of industry, transportation and sport by members of the Grosvenor School, an international group of artists based in London between the first and second World Wars. The fast pace of modern life, a recurring theme in their work, is highlighted in Speed (1923), an energetic image by the group's charismatic leader, Claude Flight. Trenton Doyle Hancock's fantastical portfolio of twenty candy-colored prints, Fix (2008), made at the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions in 2008, is on view as are three contemporary etching portfolios by Jonathan Lasker, David Musgrave, and Gert and Uwe Tobias made with the Los Angeles-based publisher and master printer Jacob Samuel.