Erasmus de Bie, The Meir, Rockoxhuis, Antwerp


One of the 17th-century specialisms is the art of architectural painting. The genre originates under the influence of the architectural treaties of Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527-1607). His model books are disseminated all over Northern Europe and inspire artists because of the presentation of interiors of Renaissance palaces by means of the advanced usage of mathematical perspective.

Such achievements bring artists such as Hendrik van Steenwijck II (1580-1649) and Pieter Neeffs I (ca. 1578-after 1656) into contact with painted church interiors that are popular in 17th-century Antwerp. Neeffs makes many variations on the interior of the Antwerp Cathedral of Our Lady.

City views also enjoy success in Antwerp because of the cartographic tradition. The city, with its typical skyline and placement on the Schelde, figures in various paintings. Elsewhere as well in the Southern Netherlands, there is demand for city views that on the topographical level are considerably accurate and thereby have a documentary worth.

Matthias Depoorter