Paintings of Paintings: The Rise of Gallery Paintings in Seventeenth-Century Antwerp



Taylor, Charlotte

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In this paper I examine the conditions that fostered the development of gallery paintings; a type of cabinet painting invented and refined in seventeenth-century Antwerp. Numerous authors have acknowledged the primacy of Antwerp in giving rise to this subgenre of painting, no previous scholars have considered at length why this subgenre arose in this city. I demonstrate that a confluence of factors coalesced at the same time precipitating their rise. Notions of authorship, unique to seventeenth-century Antwerp, underpin how works of art and specifically gallery paintings were valued and discussed. These ideas of authorship embrace collaboration between high masters and laud the creation of art through imitation and emulation all while building on tradition and the artistic developments of the preceding century. They are the same ideas that frame how gallery paintings were viewed by a contemporary audience. I consider how these ideas of authorship served the interests of both collectors and artists, to explain the conditions of the city that fostered the development of gallery paintings.



Gallery paintings, Antwerp, Collaboration, Liefhebber, Authorship, Flemish painting