Volume 22,  Volume 22, Issue 2

DAAP Library exhibit celebrates Renaissance painter Catharina van Hemessen

By Christopher Platts, assistant professor of art history

On display from March 8 through April 8 in the Robert A. Deshon and Karl J. Schlachter Library for Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), the exhibition, Rediscovering Catharina van Hemmessen’s Scourging of Christ: Women Artists, Patrons and Rulers in Renaissance Europe, features paintings, woodcuts, engravings, illuminated manuscripts, and illustrated printed books from the special collections of UC Libraries as well as a local private collection.

Catharina van Hemessen was arguably the most important woman artist in Northern Europe during the 16th century, and her paintings are currently the highlights of numerous exhibitions and installations worldwide. Museums everywhere are actively trying to acquire paintings by her, and only a handful of institutions, all in Europe, have a signed work by her (only a dozen survive). The DAAP Library is exhibiting one of these, the Scourging of Christ. One of her few narrative paintings, it is relatively unknown to scholars because it has rarely been exhibited or studied at first hand. It is her last dated painting, made when she was an artist at the court of Mary of Hungary, regent of the Netherlands, in Madrid.

The exhibition was curated by Elizabeth Meyer, head of the DAAP Library, Christopher Platts, assistant professor of art history, and Mike Ruzga, independent art conservator. Collaborators on the exhibition include Chris Harter, archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library, Aaron Cowan, director of the UC Art Collection and DAAP Galleries, Sharon Purtee, interim head of the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library, and Holly Prochaska, Preservation Librarian and Lab Co-Manager, Jessica Ebert, Senior Conservation Specialist, and Catarina Figueirinhas Assistant Conservator, all three from the Preservation Lab.

A reception and series of gallery talks are planned for the following dates:

  • March 18, “Women Artists, Patrons, and Rulers in Renaissance Europe: Introduction to the Exhibition,” Christopher Platts (exhibition co-curator and UC assistant professor of art history), 1:00-1:30pm, DAAP Library
  • March 28, “Catharina van Hemessen’s Scourging of Christ: Painting Materials and Techniques in Sixteenth-century Europe,” Mike Ruzga (exhibition co-curator and independent art conservator), 12:30-1:00pm, DAAP Library
  • April 3, “Women Artists in Renaissance and Early Baroque Europe,” Lauren Tate (UC assistant professor of art history), 12:30-1:00pm, DAAP Library
  • April 4, 4:00-5:30pm, Exhibition Reception and Gallery Talk, Reception: 4:00-5:00pm; Galllery Talk: “Women Artists, Patrons, and Rulers in Renaissance Europe: Introduction to the Exhibition”, 5:00-5:30pm, DAAP Library (across from Circulation desk), Christopher Platts (University of Cincinnati Assistant Professor of Art History and exhibition co-curator)

More on the exhibit is available on the DAAP Library web site.

Included in the display are: