JOACHIM WTEWAEL and Dutch Mannerism
aetas aurea vi
Anne W. Lowenthal
1986. 4to. 280 pp. text containing a full catalogue raisonné. 319 plates and ills. from which 28 color plates. Cloth bound with dustjacket
ISBN 90 70288 24 9The art of Joachim Wtewael (1566-1638) exemplifies the richness and artifice of late Dutch mannerism. As one of the primary exponents of that sixteenth-century tradition, Wtewael remained faithfull to mannerist conventions throughout his life. At the same time, however, aspects of his style and approach adumbrate burgeoning Dutch 'realism', which grew on mannerist foundations. This book explores Wtewael's position at a transitional moment in Dutch art. It is a study of the last efflorescence of mannerism and an assessment of that tradition's importance for the seventeenth century. Emphasis is on Wtewael as a painter, with his related drawings also considered. Most often choosing his themes from classical mythology and the Bible, he was a history painter, when that calling was considered the highest level of art. He also, however, painted portraits and genre scenes. The variety of his subjects is matched by protean shifts in format, from brilliant little pictures on copper to panel paintings and canvases on a grand scale.
The text begins with an overview of Dutch mannerism - its definition, history, and relationship to other European manifestations of the style. Subsequent chapters provide a biography of Wtewael, trace the stylistic development of his paintings, and discuss his choice and treatment of subjects. A review of his and his colleagues' reputations with artists, critics, and collectors presents the vicissitudes of Dutch mannerism since the seventeenth century. And, finally, a chapter of connoisseurhip devotes particular attention to the multiple versions of Wtewael's paintings and the separate artistic identity of his son Peter.
The catalogue raisonné of ninety-six authentic paintings and nine problematic ones amplifies C.M.A.A. Lindeman's monograph of 1929 with many newly discovered works. Each catalogue entry includes vital statistics and a discussion of style, dating, sources, and iconography. Over 100 rejected attributions are separately listed. The 25 known paintings of Wtewael's son Peter, including 4 signed and dated pictures, are also fully catalogued and discussed in relation to Joachim's works.