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"The Painter and the Surveyor"
2000-09-15 until 2000-12-17
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
rom the 16th century, closer attention to the outside world became prevalent. Both the countryside and the city attracted unprecedented interest and inspired
many a painting and drawing. Some of these works reveal a remarkable sense of observation. Indeed, artists turned themselves into topographers and gave the
illusion to have faithfully reproduced the sites they visited. Nevertheless, though this may not seem a dominant feature to viewers of today, the representations
did have an allegorical and conventional character.
Despite this aspect, their seeming accuracy does indicate the ties between artists and scientists, a relationship
that will continue to exist until the end of the Ancien Régime. For instance, painters drew maps, they sometimes became fortification specialists or military
engineers. Moreover, the art of perspective was normally included in their training. Thus artists found themselves united to surveyors and cartographers in their
common effort to translate territories into images.
The exhibition The Painter and the Surveyor proposes to explore this universe of exchange and discovery with the example of the former duchy of Brabant.
Structured around different themes, the exhibition will explore the ways in which the city and its surroundings were represented, as well as the artistic, cultural
and sometimes even historical significance of the images. Special attention will be given to the city of Brussels, one of the cultural capitals of Europe in the year
2000, which then enjoyed the prestige of being a court residence.
To achieve all this, the exhibition will display about 170 works from the 16th to 18th centuries, including paintings by Herri met de Bles, Antoon van Dyck and
Hercules Seghers. It will also exhibit numerous drawings, by such masters as Pieter Jansz. Saenredam and Bernard van Orley. The latter created the designs for
the famous Chasses de Maximilien tapestries. The travel albums of the Italian Remigio Cantagallina will offer a unique look into the region of Brussels at the
beginning of the 17th century. Drawn from museums across Europe, collections of engravings, treaties, maps and precious measuring instruments will complete
Theodoor van Heil
View of Brussels. (C)
Speltdoorn and sons