an Integrated Technical, Visual and Historical Study of 17th and 18th Century Dutch Painting Ensembles
Technical and stylistic developments within the genre of pandde wall hangings
‘Het schilderen der Zolderwerken’: The Amsterdam production of ceiling paintings in residences during the late Golden Age
From De Lairesse to Simis. Decorative painting in the Republic: a quantitative approach
Chemical-analytical research into the aging processes in painted chambers
Ige Verslype examines technical and stylistic developments within the genre of painted wall hangings, known as behangselschilderkunst, in her doctoral dissertation. In the seventeenth century Dutch citizens decorated the rooms of their residences predominantly with easel paintings. But over the course of the century an additional trend developed among those who were most affluent, to decorate one (or multiple) rooms with large paintings covering the wall surfaces almost entirely. These “painted chambers” (geschilderde kamers) or “painted wall hangings” (geschilderde behangsels) were remarkably popular until the early nineteenth century.
This doctoral dissertation focuses on the development, production, function and meaning of ceiling paintings with figurative subjects between ca. 1650 and 1750. Amsterdam plays a central role in the study as the most important center of production for such decorations. In the period under investigation the demand for easel paintings declined, while fixed interior decorations in canal residences and country houses were increasingly sought after by regent and merchant elites. Especially the zaal, the most important reception room, was often elaborately decorated and could in this capacity give expression to the patron’s social identity through the selected artistic styles and themes.
Compared to easel paintings, relatively few decorative paintings have been preserved. The reason for this is obvious. Contrary to easel paintings, they were often, quite literally, inextricably connected with the residences for which the artist had made them. Since the decorations left behind in a move only seldom agreed with the tastes of new occupants, they were frequently removed and replaced by new ones. As most decorations have thus disappeared over the course of time, both the artistic and economic importance of this genre of art are difficult to appreciate today.
Katrien Keune performs scientific research on painted wall hangings and related painted architectural elements. The examination of miniscule paint samples aims to increase knowledge of the paintings’ pigment composition, use of bindings and the succession of paint layers. The analysis of these paint samples is conducted using various techniques, including light and electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. The analytical data provides insight into the choice of materials and techniques used by the artist.