TENIERS, David the Younger
(b. 1610, Antwerpen, d. 1690, Bruxelles)

The Gallery of Archduke Leopold in Brussels

Oil on canvas, 96 x 128 cm
Staatsgalerie, Schleissheim

Art cabinets belong to the Flemish tradition of "Kunstkamers" (Cabinets of Curiosities) paintings. This genre appeared in Antwerp at the beginning of the 17th century and included paintings of interiors covered in works of art. In fact, it is relatively common to see these paintings portraying collections that actually existed. It was for this reason that David Teniers the Younger was put in charge of compiling a richly illustrated in-folio catalogue illustrated with all the paintings belonging to Archduke Leopold William. This collection figured among the most prestigious in Europe and served as a basis for the rich collection of paintings at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. In 1658, the famous Theatrum Pictorum saw the light of day; Teniers was responsible for copying all the Italian paintings from the Archduke's collection into a small format. These copies served as modelli for the team of artists employed to create engravings of the collection under his supervision.