This selection of paintings and prints from a major private Charleston collection of Northern Renaissance art introduces a world of intensely, and sometimes disturbingly, vivid imagery.

Devotion and Fantasy, Witchcraft, and the World’s End” is an exhibition on view at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina.

Created in the Low Countries and Germany between 1440 and 1590, this is a world of contradictions and unease—whether the subject is a troubled Virgin Mary contemplating her young son, or a menacing group of malevolent figures inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, or Albrecht Dürer’s famous scenes from Revelations.

In the turbulent era of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Reformation in Northern Europe, viewers found their hopes, desires, and anxieties mirrored in images like these inspiring pious belief or depicting fantastic visions of good and evil.

Woodcut of The Four Horsemen with multiple figures and action
“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” from “The Apocalypse,” 1496-98, from the Latin edition of 1511, by Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528); Woodcut on laid paper, courtesy of private collection
Woodcut image of a man lying on the floor
Hans Baldung Grien (1475–1545), “The Bewitched Groom,” c. 1544, woodcut on ivory laid paper, 13 3/8 x 7 7/8 in. (sheet), private collection

Guest curated by Lawrence Goedde, Ph.D., professor of art history, University of Virginia

This exhibition is sponsored by Charleston Magazine and David and Claudia Cohen.

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