Sensitive chiaroscuro drawings, critical moral satires, portraits, or vast landscapes - hardly any epoch in European history saw such an astonishing variety of draughtsmanship as the Netherlands of the 16th century. With the greatest technical virtuosity and extraordinary inventiveness, the artists of the time created images of a radically changing world. The Reformation, the flourishing of colonial trade and increasing urbanisation led to a new discussion of social norms. In window panes for the windows of mighty cathedrals and private residences, in designs for precious luxury objects, paintings or prints, drawing found a wide field of practical application. In addition, however, the medium also became an independent means of artistic expression, which received new attention as a collector's item among the financially strong elites.

The ALBERTINA exhibition presents a selection of around 90 works from its own holdings that illustrate this incomparable blossoming of drawing. In addition to famous masterpieces by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and other artists such as Jan de Beer, Maarten van Heemskerck and Hendrick Goltzius, the exhibition also features sheets that can now be presented to a wider public after having been processed for the first time.

The exhibition will be on view at the ALBERTINA from 15 February to 24 May 2023.

Photo credits: Albertina