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A Masterpiece in Focus: Goltzius’s Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus Would Freeze

November 16, 1991–February 2, 1992

This painting of great rarity and superb quality by Hendrick Goltzius is the most important old master work to enter the collections in the past two decades. In celebration of its coming to Philadelphia, the Museum has organized an ambitious and intensely focused international loan exhibition of works by Goltzius that relate to this remarkable painting and clarify its unique position in Northern Mannerist art. When Goltzius created this so-called "pen painting," which combines pen and ink and brush with oil color, it caused a sensation in Europe and was immediately purchased by Emperor Rudolf II for his collection in Prague. Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus Would Freeze, c. 1600-1603, marks the critical moment when Goltzius, the most famous draftsman and printmaker in Europe, turned to large-scale painting. This exhibition unites the work with the only other known extent "pen-painting" of 1606 from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, a renowned pen work on parchment of 1593 from the British Museum, and related works from museums in Malibu, New York, London, Oxford, Vienna, Haarlem, Rotterdam, Stockholm and Paris.

Main Building


Lawrence W. Nichols

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