Het Gulden Cabinet

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The Golden Cabinet of the Noble Free Art of Painting
Guldencabinet.jpg
Title page of the Gulden Cabinet[1]
Author Cornelis de Bie
Original title Het Gulden Cabinet vande Edel Vry Schilder-const
Country Spanish Netherlands
Language Dutch
Subject Artist biographies
Publisher Jan Meyssen (1662)
Publication date
1662

The Golden Cabinet of the Noble Free Art of Painting, or Het Gulden Cabinet vande Edel Vry Schilder-Const, as it was originally known in Dutch, is a series of artist biographies and panegyrics with engraved portraits written by the 17th century notary and rederijker Cornelis de Bie. This work is considered to be a very important source of information on 17th century Southern Netherlandish artists and was later used as a source by the art historians such as Arnold Houbraken and Jacob Campo Weyerman. It was published in 1662, although the work also mentions 1661 as date of publication. Het Gulden Cabinet is part of the Basic Library of the dbnl (Database of Dutch Literature) which contains the 1000 most important works in Dutch literature from the Middle Ages to today.[2]

Background and influence[edit]

Het Gulden Cabinet is an important work in a long standing tradition of artist biographies. This tradition goes back to Pliny, but was most important during the Renaissance. In 1550, the Italian Giorgio Vasari published his Vite and Karel van Mander was the first author to introduce this genre in the Dutch language with his Schilder-boeck of 1604. Cornelis de Bie explicitly places himself in the tradition of Van Mander, but wants to give an updated version of the work.

The concept of Het Gulden Cabinet did not come from Cornelis de Bie himself, but rather from the Antwerp publisher Jan Meyssen. In 1649, Meyssen had already published Image de divers hommes in imitation of Anthony van Dyck's Iconography. Most of the portraits in Het Gulden Cabinet had, in fact, previously been published in this Image de divers hommes and few new engravings were made especially for De Bie's work.

In his work, De Bie clearly presents himself as a rederijker whose duty it is to broadcast the fame of the artists. In this, he puts himself in a tradition of which also Alexander van Fornenbergh is an exponent.

The work is divided into three parts, the first of which deals with artists who had died before De Bie's time and this part relies heavily on Van Mander's work. The second part deals with artists living at the time of De Bie and is mostly based on original research by De Bie and on the comments added to the engravings. The third part deals with living sculptors and other artists who had been omitted in the first two parts.

Artists in Het Gulden Cabinet, Part I[edit]

The engraved portraits included as illustrations in Book I are below, followed by the artists listed in order of appearance in the text. The first illustration is of Antoine van Leyen, to whom the book is dedicated.

Artists in Het Gulden Cabinet, Part II[edit]

The engraved portraits included as illustrations in Book II are below, followed by the artists listed in order of appearance in the text. Book II begins on page 181.

Artists in Het Gulden Cabinet, Part III[edit]

The engraved portraits included as illustrations in Book III are below, followed by the artists listed in order of appearance in the text. Book III begins on page 419.

Second edition[edit]

De Bie seems to have planned a second edition of the work, but this was never published. A personal manuscript of De Bie is still extant in the Royal Library of Belgium.[3] In this manuscript he clearly mentions his plan to have the second edition published. This manuscript is dated in 1672. The reason why it never happened is unclear, although the publisher of the first edition, Jan Meyssen had died in 1670 and it is plausible that he did not find another publisher.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The same title page was later re-used by S. Resta in his The True Effigies of the most Emminent Painters and other Famous Artists that have Flourished in Europe Curiously Engraven on 125 Copper Plates. London, 1694
  2. ^ Website of the Basic Library of the dbnl, the section on the Golden Age (in Dutch)
  3. ^ ms. KBR14648

References[edit]

  • Digital version of the work on Google Books
  • G. Lemmens, "Introduction", in: Cornelis de Bie, Het Gulden Cabinet, Soest, 1971, p. 1-15 (reprint).
  • Ch. Schuckman, "Did Hendrick ter Brugghen revisit Italy? Notes from an unknown manuscript by Cornelis de Bie." in: Hoogsteder-Naumann Mercury, 4 (1986), 7-22.
  • P. Calu, "Tot verheffinghe der vermaerste Gheesten ende Lief-hebbers der Schildry. Literaire aspecten van Het Gulden Cabinet (1662) van Cornelis de Bie." in: "Spiegel der Letteren", 53 (1), 29-59.