David Teniers and the Theatre of Painting

Margret Klinge

Date Published :
September 2006
Publisher :
Paul Holberton Publishing
Series :
The Courtauld Gallery
Illustration :
100 illustrations
No associated books available.


This is an overdue investigation into one of the most remarkable artistic enterprises of the seventeenth century, much cited but seldom discussed, David Teniers the Younger’s publication in 1660 of the magnificent Theatrum Pictorium or Theatre of Painting, the first illustrated and printed collection catalogue. In 1651 David Teniers (1610–1690) was appointed painter to the Brussels court of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, Governor of the Hapsburg Netherlands and proud owner of one of the finest princely collections in Europe. Teniers first documented this collection in a now famous series of detailed views of the interior of the Archduke’s picture gallery. The Archduke having returned to Vienna in 1656, his collection forms the core of the present Kunsthistorisches Museum. But by this time Teniers had already embarked on a far more ambitious project, a lavishly illustrated single-volume catalogue of 243 of the Archduke’s Italian paintings. When Teniers finally published the Theatrum Pictorium in 1656 it immediately attracted widespread attention and praise.

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