- Museum number
- Series: Theatrum Pictorium
Title-page with title written on a pedestal standing in a circular gallery with pillars decorated with sculpted busts, the pedestal surmounted by a bust of Leopold Wilhelm in an oval, Minerva standing at left, putti lifting three painting to hang them in the gallery beyond; separate plate with publisher's address below. 1658
- Production date
Height: 360 millimetres (trimmed)
Width: 208 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is the title-page to a series of 246 plates, for other impressions see also 1872,0511.1014 and 1913,0415.142. For an impressions of a later state (with number) see also 1983,U.126. The painted copy by Teniers sold at Christie's London (Marlborough Sale, 26 July 1886, no.76).
This is the first edition title-page of David Teniers the Younger's Theatre of Paintings ('Theatrum Pictorium'), a series of 246 plates by several engravers (243 after almost half of the Italian paintings then owned by the Hapsburg Archduke Leopold Wilhelm; a dedication to the Archduke; the frontispiece with a portrait of Teniers as the editor; and an interior view of the galleries in Vienna where the collection was housed). Leopold Wilhelm was the viceroy of Philip IV of Spain and governor of the Spanish Netherlands between 1646 and 1656 during which he appointed Teniers as his court painter in Brussels. He was also a vivid art collector and his collection amounted to around 1300 pictures (of which 517 Italian paintings) which now form the heart of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. As court painter, Teniers was commissioned to produce an illustrated catalogue of the archduke's most admired Italian paintings. As the editor of this large-scale project, Teniers himself first painted reduced copies of the paintings, intended as modelli for the several engravers employed by Teniers to execute the prints for this project. These modelli were quickly executed oil sketches on panels or canvas, of the same size as the prints themselves (approximately 17 on 25 cms). The printmakers working on this project include Jan van Troyen (56 plates), Lucas Vorsterman II (52 plates), Pieter van Lisebetten (40 plates), Coryn Boel (29 plates), Theodor van Kessel (27 plates); smaller numbers of plates were also engraved by Jan van Ossenbeeck, Frans van der Steen, Nicolaus van Hoy (who also made some intermediary drawings), Remoldus Eynhoudts, Coenrad Lauwers, Dominicus Claessens and Jan Popels. Although the dedication is dated 1658, it can be assumed that most of the plates were finished between 1656 and 1660. The catalogue was first published in 1660 by Hendrick Aertssens at Teniers' own expense because the by then the archduke had withdrew from office and taken his collection back to Vienna. The plates of this publication are unnumbered. A second edition (with numbers) was published in 1684 in Antwerp by Jacob Peeters (the letterpress title-page with an engraved coat-of-arms by Coenraad Waumans, a Latin preface, and an index with the names of the artists is kept in the departmental library, shelfmark PP.7.11); a third edition by Hieronymus and Jan Baptist Verdussen (without publication date); and a fourth French edition published in 1755 by Arkstée and Merkus (in Amsterdam and Leipzig).
Literature: E. Vegelin van Claerbergen, 'David Teniers and the Theatre of Painting', exh.cat. Courtauld Institute, London, 2006.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number