Pintrest Boards….1600s Style

Pintrest Boards….1600s Style

Developing collections of images is really nothing new, just maybe how to go about it is. After having recently become interested in The Gallery of the Louvre I decided to compile my own collection of historic encyclopedic paintings, or Pintrest boards of long ago, if you will. This collection type painting became popular in the 1600s. Sometimes called cabinet paintings, because they displayed a collection of things in a cabinet, or small room, like setting, these paintings are monumentally detailed works of art. I am finding them fascinating particularly  when related to the present day obsession with Pintrest and other sites that provide a format for a personal collection of images in essentially  a cabinet like setting. So look with me at these interesting paintings, and remember collecting an image before 1850 was not an easy task, you painted it, drew it or carved it or had someone do this for you and this accomplishment was known as art. Put down your iPhone long enough to think about and grasp this unfamiliar concept.

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The Gallery of the Louvre, Samuel B Morse, The Terra Museum of American Art

I have decided to place Gallery of the Louvre first in my collection of cabinet paintings although it is, admittedly, the weakest of the paintings I have collected as examples for this post. I think it is important to remember the development of fine art has always been about studying the great art that came before and learning the techniques. An American in 1832,  I am unsure where Morse would have had an opportunity for study that would enable him to develop, an in depth understanding of the techniques of the great masters until he went to Europe on his “study abroad.” So naturally, without this crucial training his painting would be weak in comparison. Unfortunately, when Morse brought the painting home to America, he did not develop the “followers” he had hoped. None the less his cabinet painting, Gallery of the Louvre, is considered a key piece in the development of American art.

The Tribuna of the Uffizi
The Tribuna of the Uffizi
The Royal Collection © 2012,
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
In the summer of 1772 Queen Charlotte commissioned Johann Zoffany to paint an encyclopedic rendering of the Tribuna of the Uffizi. Unfortunatly, when completed Zoffany’s magnificent “Pintrest Board” was rejected by the Queen. Apparently there was a great flap about the inclusion of so many unknown figures in the front of the painting and the King and Queen found them offensive. Queen Charlotte could “not suffer the picture to be placed in any of her apartments” So after this five year laborious undertaking of the copies of the great masters paintings, lamps, statues, bronzes and minute details of the frames and the exact representation of the room, Zoffany fell from favor and never was allowed to paint for the court again. Really?
Use the magnifier and closely look at exactly what so offended Queen Charlotte.
(FYI: The Uffizi Gallery, located in Florence, Italy,  is one of the oldest and most treasured museums of the Western World. The art contained within it’s stone walls is magnificent beyond imagining. The Tribuna of the Uffizi is a cabinet painting of the Tribuna, a depiction of a  gallery within the Uffizi in 1772, most likely the art shown was rearranged by the artist, to show contrasts thus making the painting more interesting and complete. Recently, I spent a day at the Uffizi, and could have spent a year.)
 
The Academicians of the Royal Academy
The Academicians of the Royal Academy
The Royal Collection © 2012,
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
1771-2

I have included Zoffany’s Academicians, which has hung next to Tribuna for two hundred years in the Royal Collection. Believed to have been conceived as a pair the two paintings show an interesting contrast and tell an interesting story. Tribuna displays a collection of the art…Academicians displays a collection of the artists. Interesting side by side because of  the contrast of light and dark, and the contrast of  the amount of detail in one, the more casual interpretation in the other. However, both reflect the tools of the artistic trade…notice in the foreground of Tribuna the tools needed to stretch a canvas are meticulously conceived…probably also insulting to Queen Charlotte.

 

towerofsleep:</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Willem van Haecht, The Cabinet of Cornelis Van der Geest, 1628<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Currently working on a paper about early-17th-century Flemish paintings of painting collections. Early modern tumblr, kind of.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />  

Willem van Haecht, The Cabinet of Cornelis Van der Geest, 1628
This Flemish cabinet painting is interesting in more than one way. Not only does it show the important art collection of Van der Geest, but it also shows his collection of important friends. I guess there is more than one way to keep track of followers.

 

The Royal Collection © 2007, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; used with permission

 A Cabinet of Pictures, 1659 Jacob de Formentrou (Flemish, 17th century). The Royal Collection © 2007, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Probably first recorded in The Royal Collection during the reign of George III. The Queen seems to have the market cornered on these most magnificent of all the cabinet paintings. I wonder if she is on Pintrest…I have heard she has an iPhone.

 

File:Frans Francken (II), Kunst- und Raritätenkammer (1636).jpg

Chamber of Art and Curiosities
Franz Francken
Many times cabinet paintings of this type included not only an art collection but also other collected curiosities. Remember with only the painted image for reference, many unknown and unseen before images were interesting and educational. Such as this collection of shells and other sea creatures.

Ancient_Rome_PaniniAncient Rome, Giovanni Panini , Metropolitan Museum of Art

This painting depicts many of the most significant architectural sites of Ancient Rome. Even though really placed in the category of architectural paintings this is still an exquisite example of an encyclopedic painting.

Art, an interesting concept. Collecting art an even more interesting concept. Collecting an image without an iPhone, to most,  an unimaginable concept.