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A courtyard of a Venetian Palace

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (city) (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1620 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Caullery, Louis de (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on oak panel

  • Museum number:

    698-1883

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case WS

The courtyard of a Venetian palace filled with elegantly dressed and posed figures in conversation, playing music and drinking. A green arbour shelters a splashing fountain in the middle ground and frames the classical palace beyond. At left, visitors disembark from gondolas on the lagoon. Louis de Caullery (ca. 1580 - 1621, Antwerp) was a pioneer in the genre of courtly gatherings in Flemish painting of the 17th century. He probably came from the village of Caulery near Cambrai, but moved to Antwerp in 1594 to train with Joos de Momper and was accepted as a Master there in 1602. While the date he went to Italy in uncertain, his works reveal that he spent time in Venice, Florence and Rome. He was particularly interested in genre painting and dealt with a high variety of scenes: carnivals on ice, fireworks, bull-fights, open-air entertainments, allegories of the five senses and get-togethers in the spirit of the Fontainebleau School. His figures are particularly elongated and strike elegant poses and are generally characterised with smooth pale faces and broad foreheads. His colour palette reveals the influence of the Italian painters: half tones, ocher-yellow, Veronese green and Burgundy red. He was particularly interested in the depiction of architecture and was skillful in representing his figures and their settings in perspectivecomposition and figures in 698-1883 are reminiscent of many of de Caullery's caprricci, fantastical painted compositions which combine features of imaginary and/or real architecture, in a picturesque setting. Two other works attributed to the artists also include a verdant cupola/arbour in the centre mmiddle groundwithin a rectangularly defined space receding into the distance such as A Garden Festival (Denis Vanderker Gallery, Winter 1967-68) and Elegant companionship under a garden bower (Rijksmuseum, inv. A 1956). The couple walking hand in hand at center left is a particularly popular motif and reappears throughout de Caullery's oeuvre in works such as the Galant companionship at a Venetian Palace (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper, inv. 873-1-237).

Physical description

The courtyard of a Venetian palace filled with elegantly dressed and posed figures in conversation, playing music and drinking. A green arbour shelters a splashing fountain in the middle ground and frames the classical palace beyond. At left, visitors disembark from gondolas on the lagoon.

Place of Origin

Venice (city) (probably, painted)

Date

ca. 1620 (painted)

Artist/maker

Caullery, Louis de (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on oak panel

Dimensions

Height: 47.5 cm approx., Width: 70 cm approx., Height: 592 mm frame, Width: 794 mm frame, Depth: 39 mm frame

Object history note

Purchased, 1883

Historical context note

The composition and figures are reminiscent of many of de Caullery's cappricci, fantastical painted compositions which combine features of imaginary and/or real architecture, in a picturesque setting.

Two other works attributed to the artists also include a verdant cupola/arbour in the centre middleground within a rectangularly defined space receding into the distance such as A Garden Festival (Denis Vanderker Gallery, Winter 1967-68) and Venus, Bacchus and Ceres with Mortals under a Garden Bower (Rijksmuseum, inv. SK-A-1956).

The couple walking hand in hand at center left is a particularly popular motif and reappears throughout de Caullery's oeuvre in works such as the Galant companionship at a Venetian Palace (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper, inv. 873-1-237).

The treatment of the greenery and of the costume in 698-1883 is less sophisticated than the Rijksmuseum picture however, suggesting that the work is not by the artist's own hand but a contemporary artist working in the style of de Caullery.

Louis de Caullery (ca. 1580 - 1621, Antwerp) was a pioneer in the genre of courtly gatherings in Flemish painting of the 17th century. He probably came from the village of Caulery near Cambrai, but moved to Antwerp in 1594 to train with Joos de Momper and was accepted as a Master there in 1602. While the date he went to Italy in uncertain, his works reveal that he spent time in Venice, Florence and Rome. He was particularly interested in genre painting and dealt with a high variety of scenes: carnivals on ice, fireworks, bull-fights, open-air entertainments, allegories of the five senses and get-togethers in the spirit of the Fontainebleau School. His figures are particularly elongated and strike elegant poses and are generally characterised with smooth pale faces and broad foreheads. His colour palette reveals the influence of the Italian painters: half tones, ocher-yellow, Veronese green and Burgundy red. He was particularly interested in the depiction of architecture and was skillful in representing his figures and their settings in perspective.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'A Courtyard of a Venetian Palace', attributed to Louis de Caullery, ca. 1620

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 66, cat. no. 63
Pavel Štepánek, 'Louis de Caulery, alegorie Peti smyslu' Umení : casopis Kabinetu theorii a dejin umení Ceskoslovenske akademie ved, N.S. 26.1978, p. 183-185.
Annamária Gosztola, 'The paintings of Louis de Caulery in Hungary' in Flemish art in Hungary : Budapest, 12 - 13 May 2000 / Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van Belgie voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten. Ed.: Carl Van de Velde (Brussels, 2004),pp. 63-72.
Didier Bodart, Les peintres des Pays-Bas méridionaux et de la principauté de Liège à Rome au XVIIème siècle 2 vols. (Brussels : Institut historique belge de Rome, 1970), Bd.1.2.
Andrzej Chudzikowski, 'Louis de Caulery et ses tableaux en Pologne' in Bulletin du Musée National de Varsovie, 8. 1967, pp. 25-31.
Carl van de Velde, 'Enkele biografische gegevens betreffende Louis de Caulery' in Jaarboek: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten 1966, pp. 211-214.
Jeanne et Robert Genaille, 'Deux tableaux de Louis de Caulery,' Gazette des beaux-arts, 6.Pér. 67.1966, pp. 111-114.
Georges Marlier, 'Unbekannte Gemälde von Louis de Caulery' in Weltkunst, München, 24. 1954, 19, p. 10.
Édouard Michel, 'Louis de Caulery au Musée d'Anvers' in Revue belge d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art, 3.1933, pp. 224-229.
Selwyn Brinton, Venice past and present. London : The Studio, 1925.
Jacob Burckhardt, The civilization of the renaissance in Italy. Vienna, The Phaidon Press; London, G. Allen & Unwin, ltd. [1937]
A Catalogue of the National Gallery of British Art at South Kensington with a supplement containing works by modern foreign artists and Old Masters, 1893. p. 191.

Labels and date

A Courtyard of a Venetian Palace
About 1620

In the early 17th century, Venice was the musical capital of Europe. A centre for instrument making and music publishing, it became the home of opera, a new form of sung drama that developed around 1600. Music was also a popular form of private entertainment, as shown in this fantasy of a gathering in a Venetian courtyard.

Italy (probably Venice)

Possibly by Louis de Caullery

Oil on oak panel [09.12.2015]

Production Note

A letter from H. Gerson of the Rijsbureau voor Kunsthisstoriesche Documentatie (RKD) dated 20 April 1948 to Mr. Graham Reynolds (Deputy Keeper, Dept. of Paintings at V&A) states that, in consultation with de Vries, they are not convinced that the picture is by de Caullery and state that the quality of the architecture is week. They propose a German attribution.

Materials

Oil paint; Oak

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Fountains; Costume; Gondolas; Musical instruments; Carnival (pre-Lenten festival)

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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