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With the absence of the frame that traditionally serves as the architectural transition between the spectator’s reality and the picture’s painted universe, this work by the Flemish painter Gijsbrechts is moving beyond the usual realms of art and into the illusionistic domains of the stage.

The deception of the eye

The deception of the eye is certainly there. When viewing the picture from afar, we are truly cheated into believing that the artist has left a painting behind on the floor with its reverse facing outwards. With its ability to surprise and deceive the spectators, this work was eminently qualified to be part of the royal Kunstkammer.

A cutout

Another cutout - showing an easel bearing a still life and the reverse of a painting standing at its foot, the actual panel cut out to follow the contours of the objects painted on it - is described in the Royal Danish

Cabinet of Curiosities’ first inventory from 1674 as: "A stand with painter’s paraphernalia painted on perspective."

The Royal Danish Cabinet of Curiosities

Back then the cabinet of curiosities was still housed at the Copenhagen Castle, but a few years later when the monarch set up the cabinet in a new building, the present-day Danish National Archives, the easel became part of the décor of the entrance hall where it was presumably joined by The Reverse of a Framed Painting.

Details

  • Title: Trompe l'oeil. The Reverse of a Framed Painting
  • Creator: Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts
  • Date Created: 1668-1672
  • Værktekst: Med fraværet af den ramme, der normalt udgør den hævdvundne arkitektoniske overgang mellem betragterens virkelighed og den malede billedverden, er den flamske maler Gijsbrechts’ værk på vej ud over maleriets gængse virkefelt og ind i teaterkulissens illusionistiske domæne. Øjenbedrag Øjenbedraget er der. Set på lang afstand snydes man virkelig til at tro, at maleren har stillet et maleri fra sig på gulvet med bagsiden udad. Med sin evne til at overraske og snyde beskueren, var værket selvskrevet som kunstkammergenstand. Et søsterværk Et søsterværk, som forestiller et staffeli med et stilleben på hylden og bagsiden af et maleri ved foden, alt sammen udskåret efter de malede genstandes kontur, er beskrevet i Det Kongelige Danske Kunstkammers første inventarium. Det er dateret 1674 og ordene er: "En frugtstøche med Contrafejers instrumenter maalit paa Perspectiv." Kunstkammeret Dengang var kunstkammeret endnu på Københavns Slot, men da enevoldskongen nogle år senere indrettede kunstkammeret i en nyopført bygning, det nuværende rigsarkiv, blev staffeliet og formentlig også Bagsiden af et indrammet maleri del af forstuens udsmykning.
  • Teknik: Olie på lærred
  • Proveniens: Erhvervet 1670-1672
  • Provenance: Acquired 1670-1672
  • Physical Dimensions: w87 x h66.4 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=1151
  • Dansk Titel: Trompe l'oeil. Bagsiden af et indrammet maleri
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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