Albert Godetzky - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Albert Godetzky

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Dr Albert Godetzky

Associate Lecturer

Thesis: Strength and Sinews: ‘Haarlem Mannerism’ and the Emergence of a Dutch Body Politic.

Supervised by: Professor Joanna Woodall

Funded by: The Consortium of the Humanities and the Arts South-East England  (2014-2017), The Mrs Jane Wrightsman Scholarship (2014-15), The Arbuthnot Bequest, Lisbet Rausing, and The Guilford Foundation.

For artists active in Holland in the late sixteenth-century, the seismic social change and political turmoil resulting from the Dutch Revolt were an undeniable reality. This thesis investigates the ways in which two of these artists – Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) and Cornelis van Haarlem (1562-1638) – related to the politics of the day through their work. Centred around the depiction of the nude male, the paintings, prints and drawings they created in the last two decades of the sixteenth century present hyperbolically muscular bodies with attention to convoluted anatomies, bodies depicted in scenes of conflict, struggle, victimisation and even defeat. To what extent can their appearance be accounted for by the war-torn environment prevailing in the Netherlands at the time?

While the works of Goltzius and Cornelis have often been examined with respect to artistic exchanges, principally with Italy and the Rudolphine court in Prague, the four case-studies presented in this thesis attempt to build a more holistic understanding of their art, an art labelled with the uneasy term ‘Mannerism’ throughout art historiography. Reading key political events, textual and iconographic sources alongside the pictorial strategies undertaken by the Haarlem artists reveals a vision of their works as embodiments of the Dutch lands and waterways, of historical identities and contemporary social aspirations. Transformations of the depicted body trace the rifts in established models of the ‘body politic,’ paralleling discourses on the notion of Dutch identity during this formative period. Ultimately, it can be argued that Goltzius and Cornelis acted not merely as passive respondents to the changes around them but as dynamic agents responsible for the visualisation of a new and specifically Dutch body politic.


  • Ph.D, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 2020
  • MA, Institute of Art History, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, 2012
  • History of Art Research Scholarship, École pratique des hautes études, (Sorbonne IV), Paris, 2011-2012
  • BA, Department of Art History, New York University, New York, 2007

Research Interests

  • Northern European Art, 1400-1800
  • Early Modern ideas of nature
  • Rudolfine art, patronage and cultural exchanges with the Netherlands
  • ‘Mannerism’
  • History of collecting
  • The body; fragmentation

Selected Publications

Book review: Marisa Bass, Insect Artifice: Nature and Art in the Dutch Revolt (Princeton, 2019) in The Burlington Magazine March 2020:162, pp. 260-61.

Catalogue contributions: The National Gallery Catalogue of 18th-century French Paintings by Humphrey Wine (National Gallery, London, 2018).

Article: “Jean Etienne Liotard and seventeenth-century Dutch Painting,” The Burlington Magazine February 2017:159, pp. 117-21.

Article: “Countenances of the Deepest Attentiveness: The Historical Reputation of Jan van Scorel’s Portraits,” in R. Woodfield and M. Grzeda (eds.), “Reconsidering the Origins of Portraiture.” Journal of Art Historiography, No. 17 (2017).

Book review: Marisa Bass, Jan Gossart and the Invention of Netherlandish Antiquity, (Princeton, 2016) in Art History May 2017:40 no. 3, pp. 675-76.

Exhibition and catalogue review: Sally Metzler, Bartholomeus Spranger: Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague (2014), in The Burlington Magazine March 2015:157, pp. 216-17.

Book review: Christopher D.M. Atkins, The Signature Style of Frans Hals: Painting, Subjectivity, and the Market in Early Modernity (2011), in The Burlington Magazine February, 2014:156, p. 115.

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