Friday, January 15, 2021

The Lusty Creativity of Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem

By Arthur Lubow
Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem’s “The Massacre of the Innocents” (1590) at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Courtesy of the Rijksmuseum
On a visit last winter to the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, I encountered three Cornelis pictures (the largest holding by an American museum) and remembered my intention to learn more about this Dutch painter. I obtained the massive catalogue raisonné. I talked to academic experts. I studied his work, and also that of his colleagues — Hendrick Goltzius being the most renowned — and his predecessors. I came away with the conviction that in a flare of lusty creativity, from the late 1580s until the early 1590s, this underappreciated Haarlem Mannerist produced some of the greatest — and strangest — homoerotic paintings of all time. And that this glaringly obvious fact had been studiously ignored in almost all the art historical commentary on his work. [More]
Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem’s “The Fall of Lucifer” (1588-90), also known as “The Fall of the Titans,” at the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) in Copenhagen.