The  Wall-Map  as  the  Real  Worth 
of  the  World-Famous  Painting

Jan Vermeer van Delft, The Art of Painting

Deciphered  in  Academic  Research  after  300  Years

Vermeer van Delft, Jan (1632 Delft 1675). The Art of Painting. Back view of the master before the easel with Clio (Kleio) as Muse of history and in such a way also patroness of history painting with trumpet + folio (Cesare Ripa, 1644: Thucydides) on his left in front of a room dominating wall-map of the Seventeen Provinces by Jan van Doetechum of 1594 in an edition after 1652 at Nicolas Visscher (Piscator) I. (C. 1667.) Steel engraving by William French (c. 1815 – East Grinstead 1898). 3rd quarter of the 19th cent. Inscribed: Czernin-Galerie zu Wien / Jan van der Meer und (erroneously) Pieter de Hoogh pinxnt / W. French sc. / Des Malers Atelier / The Painters Study and address of the publisher A. H. Payne’s. 8⅜ × 6¼ in (21.2 × 15.8 cm).

James A. Welu in IMAGO MUNDI XXX (1978), 9-30 with (color) illustrations; Hedinger (1986) 105-120 with illustrations; Klemp (1971) per color-frontispiece (erroneously as a map by Blaeu of 1658); van Straaten (1977) no. 15 with color ills.

Vermeer’s “De Schilderkunst”, kept life long for himself and regarding its size the largest among the oils after 1656, as “allegory of painting and history” with the map painted after in highest precision as the one and only illustrated documentation for its original of which only the pure map image is provable, thus without the title head, the lateral town views, and the rich caption, and this also in a one and only copy (Bibliothèque Nationale). In contrast to the caption prevailing as lost the views are, sold apart, too, largely provable thanks to the oil.

“ In the program defined in the Art of Painting … Vermeer’s effort with map interiors has been summarized. Between 1657 and 1669 the painter is busied in eight paintings with the motif of map standing in the center in six cases. Arranged side by side in one line the golden thread appears in the variations on the map theme spreading over the province as the smallest geographical and politcal unit to the largest (here), that of the United Netherlands, following the painter’s political interest, who in his relations with the map, as whose culmination we realize the Art of Painting, lets become also the Dutch map interior the history picture in the guise of genre … (shortly,) a panorama of the ‘Seventeen Provinces’ from history, cartography, and topographical depiction of landscape ”


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„ Herzlichen Dank für Ihre freundlichen und aufschlussreichen Ausführungen, die mir die Beschreibung des vorliegenden Exemplars sehr erleichtern. Schön wärs natürlich, wenn sich Ihre vielfältigen Kenntnisse zum Werk Ridingers vielleicht als Artikel, oder Artikelserie, im Aus dem Antiquariat oder einer Bibliophilen-Zeitschrift einem breiten interessierten Publikum zur Kenntnis gebracht werden könnten … Ich würde mich jedenfalls sehr darüber freuen, Expertenwissen aus erster Hand zu erhalten. “

(Kollege U. K., 12. Mai 2015)