‘Het schilderen der Zolderwerken’: The Amsterdam production of ceiling paintings in residences during the late Golden Age (‘Het schilderen der Zolderwerken’: De Amsterdamse productie van plafondschilderingen in woonhuizen tijdens de late Gouden Eeuw).

Tatjana van Run, MA

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.
Our knowledge of the production of ceiling paintings in the Republic is still limited. In the current project this topic is approached via various investigative methods that embed the results of stylistic and iconographic analysis and material-technical research in their cultural and sociohistorical contexts, with special attention for the relationship between patron and artist. In addition the production methods and techniques of the paintings are analyzed and compared to those prescribed by contemporary art theoretical treatises.
Finally the iconography and style of the images are considered in their relation to other decorations in the room – such as wall hangings and architectural elements.

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