Warning message

We are currently experiencing issues with our website that may make some content unavailable. We are actively working to fix these issues. We apologize for any inconvenience.

What is AAT?

The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) (r) is a structured vocabulary for generic concepts related to art and architecture. It was developed by The Getty Research Institute to help research institutions become consistent in the terminology they use.Learn More

Object Name: 
Reverse Painting
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 28 cm, W: 22.7 cm, D: 1.8 cm
Not on Display
Web Description: 
Reverse-painting on glass, a technique with roots in antiquity, flourished in Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries. This reverse-painting panel was made by an unknown artist in Augsburg, Germany, a center of trade and culture during the last quarter of the 18th century. It is one of a series of four reverse-paintings depicting the “Four Continents,” a popular subject matter in the arts from the 16th through the 18th centuries. The “Four Continents” consisted of America, Asia, Europe, and Africa, each visually depicted by landscapes, people and motifs specific to that part of the world. For Europe, images of cities, royalty, and wealth were common. Asia might be depicted by a camel, an exotic individual smoking, and/or religious motifs, while Africa might include individuals wearing elephant headdresses, scorpions, snakes, and desert scenery. America was usually identified by figures wearing feathered headdresses, carrying bows and arrows, and alligators. The subjects of many reverse-paintings are based on images found in printed materials, which were becoming more widely available in the early 16th century because of copper-plate engravings and printing presses.
Four Continents
Fischer, Jurgen, Former Collection
Nr. 6
Affixed on front
61491 / 175
Affixed on reverse
Primary Description: 
Glass, paint, wood, gilding, metal; painted, assembled. Reverse-painted panel of an allegorical representation of Asia (after print set of 'Four Continents'), showing two lavishly dressed merchants, one smoking a pipe, and a third man riding a camel, all in front of a palm tree. Partially gilded wood frame with metal mounts.