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Hendrick Goltzius

“TO BECOME AND BEHAVE LIKE SOMETHING ELSE,” wrote Walter Benjamin, “. . . is really a life-determining force.” Long before Andy Warhol or Cindy Sherman tinkered with mechanical reproduction and artistic identity, there was Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617), a sulky, petulant artist of astonishing versatility. Dubbed “the Netherlandish Proteus” by famed contemporary Karel van Mander, Goltzius made a career of ventriloquizing the styles and techniques of older Italian and German artists. His “Dürers” and “Lucas van Leydens” duped connoisseurs, and as a reproductive printmaker he (legitimately) published dozens of copies after antique sculpture. He also issued more than two hundred of his own sheets at his firm in Haarlem—images of writhing, elongated nudes lifted from Mediterranean sculpture, tableaux of modish Prague Mannerism—all translated into a chilly Netherlandish patois. Around seventy

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