Changing Forms

Willem van Meiris, Portrait of Dina Margareta de Bye, 1705 o/c, The Leiden Collection, New York

November 17, 2021.

Elizabeth Nogrady (VC'99), Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Academic Programs at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar, Lara Yeager-Crasselt (VC'06) Curator of The Leiden Collection, and Ronald Patkus,  Associate Director of the Libraries for Special Collections and Associate Professor of History at Vassar on the Frederic Weyerhauser Chair, discuss the exhibition on view at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center entitled Changing Forms: Metamorphosis in Myth, Art, and Nature 1650-1700, on view September 28 - December 19, 2021 at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

This Focus Gallery exhibition explores the rich concept of metamorphosis—with links to art, myth, science, and the exchange of knowledge—in the late seventeenth-century Netherlands. The paintings, drawings, prints, and illustrated books on view include artists’ renderings of Ovid’s Metamorphoses from around 1600 by Virgil Solis, Abraham Bloemaert, and Hendrick Goudt. This tradition contributed to a dynamic moment later in the 1600s, when painters such as Godefridus Schalcken, Willem van Mieris, and Samuel van Hoogstraten created their own mythological imagery. Meanwhile, the book market for Ovid kept pace and contemporaries explored biological metamorphosis in lavishly illustrated insect studies like those by Johannes Goedaert, Jan Swammerdam, and Maria Sibylla Merian. Works in the exhibition come from Vassar collections and include significant loans from Cornell University, Bard College, Lehigh University, and The Leiden Collection—the preeminent private collection of Dutch art in the United States.

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