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The Universal Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-1678)

The Universal Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-1678): Painter, Writer, and Courtier

Edited by Thijs Weststeijn
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 356
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  • Book Info
    The Universal Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-1678)
    Book Description:

    Samuel van Hoogstraten was not only one of Rembrandt's most successful pupils but also a versatile painter in his own right. His experiments in optical illusion also attracted the interest of the natural scientists of his time, and he wrote some of the first Dutch novels, plays, and a treatise on painting. This rich interdisciplinary study examines how van Hoogstraten understood the relationship between art, literature, and science and how these reflected the general views of his time. Bringing to the fore hitherto unknown works, the book is an important contribution to our understanding of van Hoogstraten's life and art.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1859-3
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. PREFACE Approaches to a Multifaceted Master
    (pp. 7-19)
  4. PROLOG Samuel van Hoogstraten and the Golden Age of Dutch Art, Literature, and Science: The Present Book and Future Research
    (pp. 21-33)

    The one connecting factor in the different chapters in this book is obviously Van Hoogstraten himself: there was a single personality – although our knowledge of it may be shifting with each new historiographical focus – that linked art, literature, and scholarship during a foundational era of Dutch cultural history. Even though getting to know the ‘real’ Samuel van Hoogstraten may be beyond our ken as historians, it is a legitimate ambition to try to sketch the conceptual and ideological framework which implicitly connected his varied efforts. Four major themes surface throughout the present book’s chapters and determine the surplus value of...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Van Hoogstraten’s Theory of Theory of Art
    (pp. 35-51)

    Nowadays, it is quite common to remark that theory and practice are two different things. For many artists – and art historians – theory is nothing more than mere speculation. Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) considered his paintings and ‘ready-mades’ the practical productions of a theory that he was thinking about and working with.¹ In 1972, Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) outlined this modern conception of theory by exhibiting hisPlastische Theorieon a blackboard, as if his ‘theory’ was in fact a kind of schoolroom course [Fig. 4].² In this context, theory describes first of all an intellectual and abstract quality, that serves...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Paradoxical Passages: The Work of Framing in the Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten
    (pp. 53-75)

    Samuel van Hoogstraten’sInleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonstis the most substantial account of painting left to us by a Dutch artist in the later seventeenth century. Yet Van Hoogstraten has only recently received due credit for his text’s distinctive contributions to the historiography of art. This belated valuation owes in no small measure to shifts in the frameworks through which scholars have come to view theInleyding. In his 1924 magnum opus on European art literature, Julius von Schlosser described the treatise dismissively as an unoriginal pastiche of earlier writings, a judgment that remained more or less...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Young Samuel van Hoogstraten, Corrected by Rembrandt
    (pp. 77-95)

    A long-haired young man wearing a large bowler hat sits facing us at an open window. Poised to draw or write on a blank page of a sketch- or notebook, he uses a goose quill cut to a fine point and holds an ink-well in his left hand [Fig. 21].¹ Due to perspectival distortion, his hands may seem a little too large. Light washes lend relief to his clothing and face. It is, I believe, a self-portrait, corresponding along general lines with what the young artist must have seen in a mirror, but with an added setting and the customary...

  8. CHAPTER 4 “Zwierich van sprong”: Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Night Watch
    (pp. 97-113)

    It is probably true to say that the lines of Hoogstraten’sInleydingwhich have been quoted most often in the literature on Dutch art are those which discuss Rembrandt’sNight Watch[Fig. 31 and 32]. These lines appear in an absorbing passage, which treats of pictorial composition and the balance of imitation and invention within the artwork. Hoogstraten tells us that the painter should not line up figures in rows, as has happened in too many Dutch militia portraits. True masters, he tells us, manage to make their whole work into a compositional unity.¹ He goes on:

    Rembrandt achieved this...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Personal Letter-Rack Paintings: Tributes with a Message
    (pp. 115-137)

    Trompe-l’oeilpaintings have a special and intriguing place in the oeuvre of Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627–1678).² These illusionistic works include a series of letter racks which he painted over much of his active life.³ They are still lifes that realistically depict relatively flat objects in life-size and inserted behind leather straps. About half of the letter racks can be characterized as personal in nature. This subcategory is identified by objects that belonged to van Hoogstraten himself or that allude to his person. In this contribution it shall be argued that these pictures could very well have been tributes with...

  10. CHAPTER 6 A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss: Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Perspective Box in the National Gallery, London
    (pp. 139-159)

    This essay explores Samuel van Hoogstraten’s reasons for designing his intriguing perspective box in the National Gallery in London [Fig. 45].¹ Susan Koslow, one of the scholars who dealt in depth with the few extant boxes, presumed that there was a romantic love story behind the London work. More recently, Celeste Brusati did not deny that there was an erotic element to the depictions on the outside of the box, but she was inclined to regard the work as an artful self-portrait and a proud self-reflexive demonstration of the artist’s accomplishments in the art of perspective.² In what follows, I...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Van Hoogstraten’s Success in Britain
    (pp. 161-181)

    This chapter will retrace the footsteps of Samuel van Hoogstraten’s grand tour, considering his travels through Central Europe and Italy, which ultimately inspired his extended stay in England. Although Van Hoogstraten initially soldtrompe-l’oeilpaintings to his British patrons – harking back to his career in Vienna and Dordrecht – he soon chose to focus on an entirely new theme, namely, architectural scenes. We shall explore how these scenes were related to his travels. They are oriented towards Mediterranean examples; however, they do not depict the actual buildings that Van Hoogstraten saw.

    The artist adapted his works in accordance with his patrons’...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Samuel van Hoogstraten, the First Dutch Novelist?
    (pp. 183-207)

    Samuel van Hoogstraten wrote two books that can be called novels,Beautiful Roselijn, or the Steadfast Love of Panthus(1650) andThe Punished Abduction, or the Victorious Reparation of the Youth Haegaenveld, Illuminated with the Curious Adventures of the Dutch Nymphs(1669 ) [Figs.76 and 77]. Written in an idiosyncratic Dutch, rich in detail, plot Sideroads, and even some engravings, they feature Dordrecht youngsters whose amorous escapades eventually involve Finnish shamans, Ukrainian Cossacks, African elephants, and a high priest devoted to Isis.

    In a 2002 lecture, the Amsterdam historian of literature, Marijke Spies, put forward the thesis that Van Hoogstraten...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Great Respect and Complete Bafflement: Arnold Houbraken’s Mixed Opinion of Samuel van Hoogstraten
    (pp. 209-239)

    Every specialist in the Northern Baroque period knows that Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627–1678) was the principal teacher of Arnold Houbraken (1660–1719) and that both artists wrote important books about art. They had a lot more in common, however. Both men were born in the city of Dordrecht, came from a Mennonite background, married outside the Community and joined the Dutch reformed Church instead.² Both had the benefit of a great teacher, this being Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) in the case of Van Hoogstraten. Both became authors, each with a significant literary production, including both prose and poetry,...

  14. APPENDIX Arnold Houbraken’s references to Samuel van Hoogstraten and his ‘Introduction to the Academy of Painting’
    (pp. 241-258)
    (pp. 259-278)
    (pp. 279-284)
    (pp. 285-288)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 289-296)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 297-297)