Multiple Fascinations: Dutch and Flemish Prints from Bruegel to Rembrandt

Friday September 15, 2006 - Sunday December 10, 2006
Multiple Fascinations: Dutch and Flemish Prints from Bruegel to Rembrandt

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669), Rembrandt and His Wife Saskia, 1636, etching. Gift of George W. Davison (B.A. Wesleyan 1892), 1947.D1.214.

From the satire of Pieter Bruegel's peasants to the contemplative gaze of Rembrandt's self-portraits, 16th- and 17th-century Dutch and Flemish prints delight and inspire.

As part of a Wesleyan University seminar, students selected 70 prints from the treasures of the Davison Art Center collection to discuss what fascinated them most. The exhibition explored 17th-century ways of ordering knowledge, narrative techniques, the representation of peasants, the Dutch landscape, and the evolution of the "unfinished" print. These multiple viewpoints presented new insights into one of the richest periods in print history.

Kermis at Hoboken


Frans Hogenberg (Flemish, ca. 1540-1590) after Pieter Bruegel the elder (Dutch, ca. 1525-1569),Kermis at Hoboken, ca. 1559, etching and engraving. Gift of George W. Davison (B.A. Wesleyan 1892), 1939.D1.162.


On Friday, September 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., a reception and gallery talk by the student curators was held at the Davison Art Center.

On Thursday, October 5, at 5 p.m., Dr. Nadine M. Orenstein, Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, gave a lecture titled "Scratches, Speckling, and Crooked Lettering: Rembrandt's Messy Prints." Rembrandt van Rijn was without question one of the great printmakers in the history of art; we marvel at the high drama that he could pack into a small sheet of paper and at the recognizable human emotion he could achieve with only a few lines of drypoint. Yet, the printed works that he made diverged aesthetically from highly professional prints produced in Holland of his day. The talk looked at the messy nature of Rembrandt's printmaking and suggested some sources for this messy aesthetic. The lecture took place in the Center for the Arts Cinema, Wesleyan University and was followed by a reception and special viewing of the exhibition at the Davison Art Center.