The dancing lesson

Willem van der Kloet1707

National Azulejo Museum

National Azulejo Museum
Lisbon, Portugal

This panel by Willem van der Kloet is dated circa 1707. It depicts the "Dancing Lesson" and is the image of the daily life of the aristocracy adapted to the revetment of a palatial environment. At the end of the 17th century, beginning of the 18th century, the technical and artistic quality of Dutch ceramic painting gave rise to commissions of azulejo panels for Portuguese palaces and churches. Normally, Dutch production was limited to single figure azulejos, whilst the monumental compositions then created were mainly bound for Portugal and territories under Portuguese influence. The execution of these panels, painted by skilled artists, exemplifies the use of optical techniques to enlarge the engraving from which they are taken. This characteristic can sometimes be viewed in the brushstroke that follows the original outline of the source of inspiration. Thus, the painting lacks spontaneity, the element that constitutes one of the distinctive features of the Portuguese way of doing things, as well as the monumentality of the frames that was characteristic of Portuguese azulejos in the first half of the 18th century. Herein lies a possible reason why these commissions no longer came from Holland.

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  • Title: The dancing lesson
  • Creator: Willem van der Kloet
  • Date Created: 1707
  • Physical Location: MNAz, Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Physical Dimensions: 170 cm x 400 cm
  • Provenance: Palácio Galvão Mexia, Lisbon
  • Medium: Blue on white faience