Changing Forms: Metamorphosis in Myth, Art, and Nature, 1650–1700

About the publication

Changing Forms: Metamorphosis in Myth, Art, and Nature, 1650–1700 cover

This Focus Gallery exhibition explores the rich concept of metamorphosis—with links to art, myth, science, and the exchange of knowledge—in the late seventeenth-century Netherlands. The paintings, drawings, prints, and illustrated books on view include artists’ renderings of Ovid’s Metamorphoses from around 1600 by Virgil Solis, Abraham Bloemaert, and Hendrick Goudt. This tradition contributed to a dynamic moment later in the 1600s, when painters such as Godefridus Schalcken, Willem van Mieris, and Samuel van Hoogstraten created their own mythological imagery. Meanwhile, the book market for Ovid kept pace and contemporaries explored biological metamorphosis in lavishly illustrated insect studies like those by Johannes Goedaert, Jan Swammerdam, and Maria Sibylla Merian. Works in the exhibition come from Vassar collections and include significant loans from Cornell University, Bard College, Lehigh University, and The Leiden Collection—the preeminent private collection of Dutch art in the United States.

Changing Forms: Metamorphosis in Myth, Art, and Nature, 1650–1700 was made possible by generous support provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. This project has received funding through a grant from the Netherland-America Foundation.

The accompanying catalogue has been published in conjunction with the exhibition Changing Forms: Metamorphosis in Myth, Art, and Nature, 1650-1700, presented at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, co-organized by the Leiden Collection, New York, September 28-December 19, 2021 and curated by Elizabeth Nogrady and Lara Yeager-Crasselt. The 49-page catalogue includes 12 full-page color images. It was written by Curators Elizabeth Nogrady and Lara Yeager-Crasselt with a foreword from Director T. Barton Thurber and an essay from Professor of History Ronald Patkus.

Exhibition: September 28–December 19, 2021

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