|Author||Karel van Mander|
|Original title||Het Schilder-Boeck Waer in haer ghestalt, aerdt ende wesen, de leer-lustighe Jeught in verscheyden Deelen in Rijm-dicht wort voor ghedraghen; Daer nae in dry delen 't leven der vermaerde doorluchtighe Schilders des ouden, en nieuwen tyd: Eyntlyck d'wtlegghinhe op den METAMORPHOSEON Pub. Ouidij Nasonis; Oock daer beneffens wtbeeldinghe der figuren. Alles dienstich en nut den schilders Const beminders en dichters. Oock alle staten van menschen.|
|Translator||Hessel Miedema (to modern Dutch and to English)|
|Illustrator||Original edition had only a few plates|
|Genre||Art history, Biography, Art theory, Art education|
|Publisher||First edition: Passchier Wesbusch, Haarlem Second edition: Jacob Pietersz Wachter, Amsterdam|
|First edition: 1604 Second edition: 1618|
Published in English
|Media type||Print (Hardcover), Online version of original text available from the DBNL|
|ISBN||90-70288-85-0 , ISBN 90-70288-91-5, ISBN 90-70288-92-3, ISBN 90-70288-93-1, ISBN 90-70288-94-X, ISBN 90-70288-95-8|
Het Schilder-Boeck or Schilderboek is a book written by the Flemish writer and painter Karel van Mander first published in 1604 in Haarlem in the Dutch Republic, where van Mander resided. The book is written in 17th century Dutch and its title is commonly translated into English as 'The Book of Painters' or 'The Book of (or on) Painting' and sometimes as 'The Book on Picturing'. Het Schilder-Boeck consists of six parts and is considered one of the principal sources on the history of art and art theory in the 15th and 16th century Low Countries. The book was very well received and sold well. Karel van Mander died two years after its publication. A second posthumous edition, which included a brief, anonymous biography of van Mander was published in 1618. This second edition was translated by Hessel Miedema into English and published in 1994-1997 together with a facsimile of the original and 5 volumes of notes on the text.
The Southern Netherlands, also called the Catholic Netherlands, was the part of the Low Countries largely controlled by Spain (1556–1714), later Austria (1714–1794), and occupied then annexed by France (1794–1815). The region also included a number of smaller states that were never ruled by Spain or Austria: the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, the Imperial Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy, the County of Bouillon, the County of Horne and the Princely Abbey of Thorn. The Southern Netherlands were part of the Holy Roman Empire until the whole area was annexed by Revolutionary France.
Karel van Mander (I) or Carel van Mander I was a Flemish painter, poet, art historian and art theoretician, who established himself in the Dutch Republic in the latter part of his life. He is mainly remembered as a biographer of Early Netherlandish painters and Northern Renaissance artists in his Schilder-boeck. As an artist and art theoretician he played a significant role in the spread and development of Northern Mannerism in the Dutch Republic.
Haarlem is a city and municipality in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland and is situated at the northern edge of the Randstad, one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. Haarlem had a population of 159,556 in 2017. It is a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam, and many residents commute to the country's capital for work.
Het Schilder-Boeck is divided into six parts that have separate title pages and are indexed. The parts are:
The history of early Netherlandish painting was first described by the Italian Lodovico Guicciardini in his Descrittione di Lodovico Guicciardini patritio fiorentino di tutti i Paesi Bassi altrimenti detti Germania inferiore (1567; The Description of the Low Countries). This book formed a source for Giorgio Vasari's famous biographical accounts of painters in his book Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects , often referred to as the "Vite". That tradition took little account of the geographic topology of the Low countries and the van Eyck brothers were considered the fathers of Netherlandish painting concentrated in Bruges. Karel van Mander intended to correct this misconception by listing all the famous early Netherlandish painters. He encountered many difficulties in obtaining accurate information, due to the political and religious unrest at the time.
Lodovico Guicciardini was an Italian writer and merchant from Florence who lived primarily in Antwerp from 1542 or earlier. He was the nephew of historian and diplomat Francesco Guicciardini.
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, architect, writer, and historian, most famous today for his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.
The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, also known as The Lives, is a series of artist biographies written by 16th-century Italian painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, which is considered "perhaps the most famous, and even today the most-read work of the older literature of art", "some of the Italian Renaissance's most influential writing on art", and "the first important book on art history". The title is often abridged to just the Vite or the Lives.
The biographies in the Schilder-Boeck are similar in style and format to Vasari's Vite. Karel van Mander digresses only rarely from the format: starting per painter with an overview of the childhood years and a list of teachers, followed by some career information and concluding with a list of notable works. The second edition includes a biography of van Mander himself that Miedema believes was written by his brother, who may have been with him on his deathbed. Other candidates have been proposed as authors of the biography. Recently his son Karel van Mander the Younger was identified as a possible author. His son would have relied on biographical information that Karel van Mander had written himself as well as on his own recollections and notes. The information in the biographical sketch is not entirely reliable but is still regarded as the best source of information on van Mander's life.
Karel van Mander the Younger (1579–1623) was a Dutch Golden Age painter and the son of Karel van Mander.
Van Mander was writing in a country where Calvinists were powerful and religious art was regarded with suspicion. The market for religious subjects was quickly replaced in favor of genre scenes and historical allegories. It became fashionable to choose politically correct subjects such as stories too old to be offensive to either Protestants or Catholics. The city of Haarlem needed to reinvent itself after losing its attraction as a pilgrimage site for St. Bavo. Its leaders commissioned paintings depicting the city's glorious past, such as in the story of the crusade against Damietta, which was the basis for the Coat of arms of Haarlem. Artists and writers helped update the local source of inspiration for art. Van Mander contributed to this effort by supplying a list of biographies of ancient painters in Lives of Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman painters and his commentaries on Ovid's Metamorphoses and the depiction of figures.
Damietta also known as Damiata, or Domyat, is a port and the capital of the Damietta Governorate in Egypt, a former bishopric and present multiple Catholic titular see. It is located at the Damietta branch, an eastern distributary of the Nile, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the Mediterranean Sea, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) north of Cairo.
The coat of arms of Haarlem is the official symbol of the city of Haarlem. The sword and stars can be found as public decorations throughout the city.
Publius Ovidius Naso, known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is often ranked as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature. The Imperial scholar Quintilian considered him the last of the Latin love elegists. He enjoyed enormous popularity, but, in one of the mysteries of literary history, was sent by Augustus into exile in a remote province on the Black Sea, where he remained until his death. Ovid himself attributes his exile to carmen et error, "a poem and a mistake", but his discretion in discussing the causes has resulted in much speculation among scholars.
The book begins with a book on the "foundation" of the art of paintings. This introductory book has fourteen chapters on art theory listing such subjects as landscapes, animals, drapery, and arrangements of subjects.
Het Schilder-boek's biographies of ancient painters is almost entirely based on Pliny's Naturalis Historia and offers no new material.
Pliny the Elder was a Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and friend of emperor Vespasian.
Van Mander's list of ancient Greek painters
Agatharchus or Agatharch was a self-taught painter from Samos who lived in the 5th century BC. He is said by Vitruvius to have invented scene-painting, and to have painted a scene for a tragedy which Aeschylus exhibited. Hence some writers, such as Karl Woermann, have supposed that he introduced perspective and illusion into painting.
Androcydes of Cyzicus was a Greek painter of the 4th century BC, whose Battle of Plataea became involved in a political controversy. Plutarch's remarks concerning this work are of interest to art historians who study history painting as a genre.
Antiphilus (Ἀντίφιλος) was an ancient Greek painter from Naucratis, Egypt, in the age of Alexander the Great. He worked for Philip II of Macedon and Ptolemy I of Egypt. Thus he was a contemporary of Apelles, whose rival he is said to have been, but he seems to have worked in quite another style. Quintilian speaks of his facility: the descriptions of his works which have come down to us show that he excelled in light and shade, in genre representations, and in caricature.
Van Mander based this part of the Schilder-Boeck on Vasari's Vite. The Vite had been published half a century earlier. For this reason he only translated about half of Vasari's biographical sketches, and he added Italian artists from his years in Italy, such as Tintoretto who became known after Vasari's work was published. Van Mander also purposefully editorialized Vasari's biographies by reinterpreting some of Vasari's material and by adding to Vasari's text with a view to updating it.What follows is a list of Vasari sketches that van Mander translated and included in his work:
Van Mander is less known for his translated work on Italian art, than he is for his biographical sketches of Netherlandish painters. What follows is the list of already famous painters from the low countries discussed in the book.
Van Mander also described contemporary painters whom he felt were of note. The following is a list of all of these painters.
Van Mander had received a humanist training and had earlier published a translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. In the Schilder-Boeck he provided a commentary on the Metamorphoses. Van Mander accepted the Renaissance view that there was no conflict between classical mythology and Old Testament history and that mythology was able to convey evangelical truths and lessons. For instance, the myth of the Titans assaulting Jupiter's throne could be interpreted as an illustration of the Christian dictum that pride is the cause of all evil. The allegorized interpretation of the Metamorphoses of Ovid in the Schilder-Boeck is inspired by this Renaissance view of classical mythology.
This part was well-received and was later sold as a separate book.
The final book about the depiction of figures contains a list of various animals, birds and other objects that can have meaning for the painter to include in his arrangement. This book includes some pagan rituals for use in historical allegories. Included before the index to the Metamorphoses, it is meant as an extra guide for that book.
Because the pages are numbered only on the right-hand page, the indexes have an addendum to the page number to indicate the front (recto) or back (verso) of the "folio" to be able to locate text more efficiently. Looking up painters remains difficult because the indexes use first names rather than last names, since the last names in use by the painters themselves were not consistent in all regions where the painters were active. Many painters were better known by their nicknames than their given names. For this reason, the spelling of the names used in the text does not always match the names in the indexes.
The Schilder-Boeck introduced Dutch and Flemish artists to Italian art and encouraged them to travel to Italy.
The Schilder-Boeck was very influential on art writing in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Cornelis de Bie (Gulden Cabinet, 1662), Joachim von Sandrart (Teutsche Akademie, 1675), Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten (Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst, 1678), Filippo Baldinucci (Notizie de' Professori, 1681) and Arnold Houbraken (Schouburg, 1720) are some of the early biographers who used material from the Schilder-Boeck for their biographical sketches of Netherlandish painters or as a basis for developing their own art theory.
The Lives of the illustrious Netherlandish and German painters is the longest book in the Schilder-Boeck. It has historically been and still is the most important book for historians looking for details on (early) Netherlandish painters.This book is still the most-cited primary source in biographical accounts of the lives of many artists he included. Of most interest to historians is his criticism of the work of these artists, especially when he describes the painting style, use of color, location and owner of the paintings, thus becoming a valuable source for art provenance.
The Schilder-Boeck is included in the Basic Library of the dbnl (Canon of Dutch Literature), which contains what its compilers believe to be the 1,000 most important works in Dutch literature from the Middle Ages to today.
The Lives of the illustrious Netherlandish and German painters was translated into modern Dutch and English by Miedema and published in the 1990s. In his attempt to provide a systematic overview of the Lives, Miedema includes a long list of the sources on which Karel van Mander relied as he did for his own modern translation, and includes prints, photos of paintings, sculpture, architecture and stained glass window cartoons to illustrate the text. He also publishes new archival evidence.
Maerten van Heemskerck or Marten Jacobsz Heemskerk van Veen was a Dutch portrait and religious painter, who spent most of his career in Haarlem. He was a pupil of Jan van Scorel, and adopted his teacher's Italian-influenced style. He spent the years 1532–6 in Italy. He produced many designs for engravers, and is especially known for his depictions of the Wonders of the World.
Geertgen tot Sint Jans, also known as Geertgen van Haarlem, Gerrit van Haarlem, Gerrit Gerritsz, Gheertgen, Geerrit, Gheerrit, or any other diminutive form of Gerald, was an Early Netherlandish painter from the northern Low Countries in the Holy Roman Empire. No contemporary documentation of his life has been traced, and the earliest published account of his life and work is from 1604, in Karel van Mander's Schilder-boeck.
Albert van Ouwater was one of the earliest artists of Early Netherlandish painting working in the Northern Netherlands, as opposed to Flanders in the South of the region.
Floris van Dyck, also called Floris van Dijck or Floris Claesz. van Dyck was a Dutch Golden Age still life painter.
Dominicus Lampsonius was a Flemish humanist, poet and painter. A secretary to various Prince-Bishops of Liège, he maintained an extensive correspondence with humanists and artists at home and abroad. His writings on Netherlandish artists formed an important contribution to the formation of the so-called Netherlandish canon.
Cornelis de Bie was a Flemish rederijker, poet, jurist and minor politician from Lier. He is the author of about 64 works, mostly comedies. He is known internationally today for his biographical sketches of Flemish and Dutch painters in his Het Gulden Cabinet der Edel Vry Schilderconst, first printed in 1662.
Hessel Miedema is a leading Dutch art historian and the world authority on Karel van Mander.
Jacob de Backer was a Flemish Mannerist painter and draughtsman active in Antwerp between about 1571 and 1585. Even though he died young at the age of 30, the artist was very prolific and an extensive body of work has been attributed to him. Art historians are not agreed on how many of these works are autograph or the product of a workshop. The works attributed to the artist or his workshop are executed in a late-Mannerist style clearly influenced by Italian models.
Cornelis or Cornelius Ketel was a Dutch Mannerist painter, active in Elizabethan London from 1573 to 1581, and in Amsterdam from 1581 to the early 17th century, now known essentially as a portrait-painter, though he was also a poet and orator, and from 1595 began to sculpt as well.
Matthys Cock or Matthijs Wellens de Cock was a Flemish landscape painter and draughtsman. He is known for his landscapes, marine art and architectural drawings.
Isaak Nicolai or Isaac Claesz van Swanenburg was a Dutch Renaissance painter and glazier active in Leiden and Gouda. He was a city council member from 1576 and became mayor of Leiden five times.
Het Gulden Cabinet vande Edel Vry Schilder-Const or The Golden Cabinet of the Noble Liberal Art of Painting is a book by the 17th-century Flemish notary and rederijker Cornelis de Bie published in Antwerp. Written in the Dutch language, it contains artist biographies and panegyrics with engraved portraits of 16th- and 17th-century artists, predominantly from the Southern Netherlands. The work is a very important source of information on the artists it describes. It formed the principal source of information for later 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.
Claes Jacobsz van der Heck, was a Dutch Golden Age painter.
Frans Mostaert (1528–1560) was a Flemish Renaissance painter specializing in landscape paintings.
Hubert Goltz or Goltzius was a Renaissance painter, engraver, and printer from the Southern Netherlands. He is not to be confused with the much more famous Hendrik Goltzius, who seems not to have been a relation.
Huybrecht Jacobsz, or Hubertus Grimani, was a Dutch Golden Age painter.
Claes Dircksz van der Heck, was a Dutch Golden Age landscape painter.
Jacob de Punder or Jacques de Punder, was a Flemish Renaissance painter mainly known for his portrait paintings.
Herman van der Mast was a Dutch Renaissance painter from the Northern Netherlands.