Jan Gossart (ca. 1478-1532) was among the first Netherlandish artists to travel to Rome to make drawings after antique monuments and sculpture and then, upon his return, to introduce biblical and mythological subjects with erotic nude figures into the mainstream of Northern painting. Often credited with successfully assimilating Italian Renaissance style into the art of 16th-century northern Europe, Gossart is the pivotal old master who redirected the course of early Netherlandish art from the legacy of its founder, Jan van Eyck, toward a new style that would eventually lead to the great age of Peter Paul Rubens.
Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures offers a much-needed comprehensive reappraisal of the artist's accomplishment-the first in 45 years. It is not only an exhibition catalogue but also a study of the artist's complete oeuvre as a painter, draftsman, and printmaker. The majority of the paintings in this volume have for the first time undergone rigorous technical examination. As a result, many problems relating to attributions, dating, versions, and copies have been clarified, and a fuller understanding has been obtained of the artist's working procedures. The text draws on these unprecedented technical investigations as well as on recent original scholarship concerning many issues not adequately examined in the past, such as Gossart's early career as a proponent of Antwerp Mannerism and the patronage of Philip of Burgundy (including a closer look at the erotic nature of court art).