• Lucas van Leyden, The Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1510. Engraving.

  • Jan Swart, Jesus Preaching from the Ship, c.1525. Woodcut.

  • Benito Arias Montano, Crossing of the River Jordan from Biblia Sacra Vol.II, 1569-72. Engraving.

  • Cornelis Cort, The Annunciation With Prophets, 1571. Engraving.

  • Hendrick Goltzius, Adoration of the Magi from Life of the Virgin series, 1593-94. Engraving.

  • Pieter Nagel, Man between the Old and New Covenant, c.1567. Engraving.

Scripture for the Eyes

Bible Illustration in Netherlandish Prints of the Sixteenth Century

June 05–September 27, 2009

Scripture for the Eyes: Bible Illustration in Netherlandish Prints of the Sixteenth Century will be the first major exhibition to explore the central role played by printed illustrations of subjects from both the Old and New Testaments in one of the most dramatic artistic and religious transformations in European history. Prints are often viewed as merely mimicking or following artistic developments in the more prestigious medium of painting, and, more generally, the visual arts are seen as mirroring societal change. Through approximately 80 engravings, woodcuts, and illustrated Bibles and books by Lucas van Leyden, Maarten van Heemskerck, Philips Galle, Hendrick Goltzius, Hieronymus Wierix, and others, these views are challenged, and the biblical prints are shown to have been a dynamic force both in the transformation of Northern European art between Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn and in the intensified attention to Scripture in the religious turmoil of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

The exhibition will be organized according to the diverse functions of the prints rather than according to a chronology of their production or a biblical narrative. Scripture for the Eyes, to be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalog, is organized by MOBIA and curated by James Clifton, Director, the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation and Walter Melion, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Art History, Emory University.

Scripture for the Eyes is made possible, in part, by gifts from Roberta and Howard Ahmanson, Sandra and Robert Bowden, Darlene and Walter Hansen, Sarah and Reed Bowden, Magdalena and Graham Laws, and the O’Neil Family Fund, and generous contributions from the American Bible Society, New York City, and Case Systems, Midland, Michigan. These programs have received funding through a grant from the Netherland-America Foundation. These programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.