Technical and stylistic developments within the genre of pandde wall hangings (Technische en stilistische ontwikkelingen binnen de behangselschilderkunst).

Drs. Ige Verslype

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.
Contrary to easel paintings, which were mostly purchased as finished products, these painted wall hangings were often commissioned for a specific location. Their contents and formal aspects (color, light, composition and perspective) were typically coordinated with the function of the chosen location; a change in function that had significant stylistic consequences. The increased scale of the paintings and their different function – from “autonomous image” to “encompassing décor” – necessitated adjustments in painting materials and techniques on the part of artists. One can think in this regard of different painting grounds and new ways of stretching the canvas, as well as quicker and cheaper painting techniques.
In this dissertation, these material-technical and stylistic developments are studied through several ensembles that have been preserved in situ, and which have undergone no or limited restoration; therefore retaining their “pure” material and historical contexts. In addition paintings from museum collections – in particular from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam – that originally formed part of ensembles, are examined.

This doctoral research project is made possible in part by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

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