Reverse-Painted View of the Singelgracht, Amsterdam

Object Name: 
Reverse-Painted View of the Singelgracht, Amsterdam

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Object Name: 
Reverse-Painted View of the Singelgracht, Amsterdam
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 70 cm, W: 93.3 cm
Not on Display
about 1750-1775
Web Description: 
This reverse painting presents, in transparent enamel and Schwarzlot, a view of the Singelgracht, one of Amsterdam’s principal canals. It shows a cobblestone-paved quay and a market scene on the left, and the domed roof of the New Lutheran Church in the background on the right. This work was executed by an anonymous artist after a painting by Jacobus Storck (1641–1688) in 1686. The same depiction appears twice in etchings printed in Pierre Fouquet’s atlas of Amsterdam (1760–1783). Both the Storck painting (54 x 70 cm) and the etchings (20.5 x 29.7 cm and 25.5 x 36.1 cm) were enlarged in this finely executed reverse painting to take advantage of the vibrant translucent colors of the glass. The artist adopted the setting and perspective found in the Storck painting and the etchings, and added the figures to create a lively scene of fish vendors serving their customers. The Singelgracht was originally a fortified ring moat that encircled the historic old town and medieval port of Amsterdam, and enclosed the canal district in an extensive urban project of the 16th and early 17th centuries. The canals permitted expansion of the city by draining the swampland, and the large-scale urban plan that resulted was regarded as a model throughout the world until the 19th century. For more information on reverse-painted panels and the common practice of painting after prints, see Wolfgang Steiner, Reverse Paintings on Glass, [Munich]: Hirmer, 2004; Bodo von Dewitz and Werner Nekes, Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst! Sehmaschinen und Bilderwelten: Die Sammlung Werner Nekes, [Göttingen]: Steidl, 2002; and Rudy Eswarin, “Reverse Painting on Glass,” The Glass Circle, no. 4, 1982, pp. 46–63.
Lempertz Auktion, Source
Primary Description: 
Reverse painted perspective picture executed in transparent enamel and Schwarzlot paints. The decorated glass pane is protected on both front and back by a plain glass and wooden shutters, all mounted together into an ebonized soft wood.
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2010 (2011) illustrated, Cover, p. 3; BIB# AI90243
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2010 (2011) illustrated, Cover, p. 19, #9; BIB# AI86878
Kunstgewerbe = Decorative arts (2010) illustrated, p.205, #782; BIB# 114421