Exposition : « Faszination Rom. Maarten van Heemskerck zeichnet die Stadt », Berlin, Kulturforum, 26 avril-4 août 2024

The Kupferstichkabinett Berlin owns two spectacular albums with around 160 drawings by the Dutch artist Maarten van Heemskerck (1498–1574), executed in Rome between 1532 and 1536/37. During these years he wandered through the city, visited collections of antiquities, made pilgrimages to the holy sites, and filled his sketchbook with drawings.

These include wide panoramas and city views as well as studies of ancient ruins and sculptures. In this way, he compiled an extensive stock of motifs from which he was to draw throughout his life. After his death, the drawings were passed on, first to artists and later to collectors. Individual sheets were sold on, the majority were probably pasted into two albums in the 18th century – together with other drawings by other artists. Thus the core of Van Heemskerck’s Roman drawings remained together until today, a unique case in art history. In 1886 and 1892, the two albums entered the holdings of the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett; since then, they have never been exhibited in their entirety.

Reassembled Drawing Book

For conservation reasons, the binding of the so-called first Roman album, which was renewed in the 1980s, had to be opened, so that 66 sketchbook pages with their 130 drawn recto and verso pages can now be shown in public for the first time. In preparation for the exhibition, extensive examinations of the inks and papers are taking place, making it possible to reconstruct the original sequence of the pages even more precisely than before, to better understand the drawing processes, and to trace the later use of the drawings. A reconstruction of the drawing book as a digital copy and facsimile gives an impression of the original ensemble. The second album, containing only twenty sheets by Van Heemskerck, is exhibited in bound form and pages will regularly be turned over.

Sketches, Drawings, Paintings, Engravings and Plaster Casts

Numerous loans from various collections of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, but also from important museums such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein, the National Gallery in Prague, the Dresden State Art Collections, the Hamburg Kunsthalle, and the Bibliotheca Hertziana enrich the exhibition. The Berlin sheets are complemented by further drawings and paintings from Van Heemskerck’s Roman period, as well as plaster casts of sculptures that Van Heemskerck studied, and contextualized by series of engravings that were created after his return to Holland and take up motifs from his journey to Rome. Prints in particular contributed to the rapid dissemination of the iconic motifs throughout Europe. They were to shape visual memory for centuries.


The exhibition is curated by Christien Melzer (Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Tatjana Bartsch (Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome), and Hans-Ulrich Kessler (Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin).

OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Florence Larcher (26 avril 2024). Exposition : « Faszination Rom. Maarten van Heemskerck zeichnet die Stadt », Berlin, Kulturforum, 26 avril-4 août 2024. Collectif d'Historiens de l'Art de la Renaissance. Consulté le 19 juillet 2024 à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/wb66

Florence Larcher

Florence Larcher est doctorante à l'Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Ses recherches sur les images de saint Roch en Italie de 1350 à 1680 l'amènent à étudier la peinture murale, la sérialité et l'itinérance des peintres.

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