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Timeless Eroticism - Renaissance Prints and Fashion Photography

from August 13 2016 until October 9 2016

Jakob Binck naar Caraglio, Venus, 1530, gravure, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen / Maryan Mehlhorn – Masterpiece: Bikini&Pareo, Crystal Blue, Summer 2016. Cristofano Robetta, Allegory of Love (detail), ca. 1500-1520, print / Dolce & Gabbana fragrances, advertisement (detail), publication unknown, 2009. Photo: Mario Testino. Antonio da Trento, A Naked Man (Narcissus?) Seen From Behind, ca. 1527-30, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen / Davidoff, ad., publication unknown, 2010, photo: Will Davidson. Marcantonio Raimondi & Francesco di Francia, Crouching Venus, circa 1510-1527, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen / Gucci, adv., publication unknown, 2014/2015, photo: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott

What do a Davidoff advert and a print by Antonio da Trento from c.1530 have in common? More than you think. Both the print and the advert are intended to captivate and seduce the viewer. And the images are almost identical: a semi-naked man viewed from behind.


The Swiss guest curator Martin Hesselbein discovers how classical the poses in fashion adverts actually are and the extent to which they are copied from prints from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He has curated a small yet exquisite exhibition in the museum’s Print Room, juxtaposing prints from the period 1475-1550 by artists such as Jakob Binck, Marcantonio Raimondi and Cherubino Alberti with adverts for labels such as Armani, Jil Sander, Red and Versace.


Prints had a clear function during the Renaissance: for artists they were like a showcase to demonstrate their skill in perspective and their magnificent technique. Like adverts today, they were a way of generating publicity.

Print Room

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection of 65,000 prints and 15,000 drawings is among the finest in the world. It includes famous drawings by Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish old masters, including Bruegel, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt and Goya. The Print Room also contains prints and drawings by modern and contemporary artists such as Paul Cézanne , Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Yayoi Kusama and Paul Noble.