Strange Beauty: Masters of German Renaissance
19 February – 11 May 2014
Exploring the great artists of the German Renaissance, a cultural awakening that spread across Northern Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries.
German renaissance paintings have polarised critical opinion over the last few centuries; some marvelling at their technical mastery, others declaring them to be excessive or even ugly.
Exploring why this artistic genre is as celebrated as it is deplored, this exhibition brings together key works by its master painters, including Hans Holbein the Younger, Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach the Elder.
While these paintings were valued in the 16th century for their expressive and inventive qualities, the display will chart how perception evolved, looking at the mixed attitudes towards including them in the National Gallery collection when it was formed in the 1800s.
A collaboration with the University of York, the exhibition comprises paintings, drawings and prints and will also compare the renaissance movement in Germany to its Italian predecessor.