CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Call for papers: Architectural painting from the Antwerp School, 16th-17th century (Antwerp, 10 October 2016)

Information from the organizers, 28 July 2016

This summer, Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp, is opening wide the doors to the 17th century. Divine Interiors, a unique exhibition of architectural paintings, leads visitors into the sacred interiors of churches from that time.

When the Iconoclastic Fury took Antwerp by storm in 1566, the city’s churches were stripped of their former opulence. Religious instability followed and there was a massive exodus of artists from the city. The meeting of Hendrik van Steenwijck and Hans Vredeman de Vries in Aachen resulted in the emergence of a new genre: architectural painting, known as ‘perspectives’. The return of a number of artists to Antwerp marked the beginning of Antwerp architectural painting, a genre that reached its high point under the auspices of the ‘Antwerp School’. This new painting style gained many passionate adherents, who painted thousands of church interiors and, to a lesser extent, some secular interiors as well. The paintings tended to be small and highly ornamental, which is one reason why they were such a popular genre during the 17th century and were considered collectibles.

Museum Mayer van den Bergh has gathered forty-four paintings and drawings for the exhibition, under the direction of its curator, Dr Claire Baisier. Some of the works on display are from national and international public collections, including the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna), the Fondation Custodia (Paris), the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge), the Szépművészeti Múzeum (Budapest) and the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam). Divine Interiors also features pieces from various private collections that never have been exhibited before.

As finissage, Museum Mayer van den Bergh is organizing with the collaboration of the Rubenianum an international conference dedicated to architectural painting, especially from the Antwerp School, and related subjects. The conference offers the opportunity for researchers to present the results of their research in a 25-minute presentation. Your proposal can be of an art-historical, historical as well as a technical or scientific nature. A multidisciplinary approach is encouraged.

Abstracts with a maximum of 500 words, including a short résumé, can be sent to: Dr Claire Baisier, Director Museum Mayer van den Bergh,, before August 31th, 2016.

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