Seeing Outside the Box: Reexamining the Top of Samuel van Hoogstraten’s London Perspective Box

Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London

The anamorphosis decorating the top of Samuel van Hoogstraten’s perspective box in London has long puzzled art historians; some prescribe a viewing position at the bottom right of the image, which only corrects some of its distortions, while others have dismissed it as a failed attempt. But rather than being a failure, the anamorphosis instead requires a corrective apparatus to mediate its viewing: either a concave lens or a viewing aperture originally mounted atop the box. This article argues for the necessity of such an apparatus and analyzes its implications in the context of the box’s exterior decoration and ideas expounded in the artist’s writings.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.12.2.3

Acknowledgements

I am grateful first and foremost to Celeste Brusati for advising me throughout the development of this article, which began as a term paper for her class in my first semester of the PhD program at the University of Michigan. I wish to dedicate this article to her on the occasion of her retirement. I would also like to thank conservators Kristina Mandy and Claire Shepherd for accommodating my visits to access curatorial files and view the box in storage at the National Gallery. Lastly, I owe thanks to Lydia Aikenhead, Sven Dupré, Alison Kettering, and two anonymous peer reviewers for offering their thoughts and comments.

Samuel van Hoogstraten,  A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch ,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 1 Samuel van Hoogstraten, A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 1655–60, oil and egg on wood, 58 x 88 x 60.5 cm, National Gallery, London, NG3832, presented by Sir Robert and Lady Witt through the National Art Collections Fund, 1924 (licensed under Creative Commons) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch ,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 2 Samuel van Hoogstraten, A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, oblique view (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch ,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 3 Samuel van Hoogstraten, A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, interior layout (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Amoris Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 4 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Amoris Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 58 x 60.5 cm (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Gloriae Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with View,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 5 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Gloriae Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 58 x 60.5 cm (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Lucri Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views ,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 6 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Lucri Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 58 x 88 cm (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 7 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 88 x 60.5 cm (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 8 Fig. 7 seen from viewpoint proposed by previous scholarship [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 9 Fig. 7 overlaid with lines drawn from vertical compositional elements [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 10 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 with a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, mounted 9.5 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 11 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 with a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, mounted 9.5 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 12 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as viewed through a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, placed 9.5 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 13 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as viewed through a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, placed 9.5 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 14 Mock-up of an aperture/peephole mounted atop a full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 15 Mock-up of an aperture/peephole mounted atop a full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 16 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as seen through an aperture/peephole of 2.5 cm diameter, placed 9.8 cm above the image [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 17 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as seen through an aperture/peephole of 2.5 cm diameter, placed 9.8 cm above the image [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 18 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as seen through an aperture/peephole of 2.5 cm diameter, placed 9.8 cm above the image [side-by-side viewer]
Figure 1 in Perspective (Latin edition), 1604, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Fig. 19 Hans Vredeman de Vries, Figure 1 in Perspective (Latin edition), 1604, engraving on laid paper, 27 x 36 cm (sheet), Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Carel Fabritius,  A View in Delft, 1652,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 20 Carel Fabritius; A View in Delft; 1652; National Gallery, London; NG3714, presented by The Art Fund, 1922; (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Jan van der Heyden,  Amsterdam, Dam Square with the Town Hall and the , 1668,  Musée du Louvre, Paris
Fig. 21 Jan van der Heyden, Amsterdam, Dam Square with the Town Hall and the Nieuwe Kerk, 1668, oil on canvas, 73 x 86 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris, INV1337 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Jan van der Heyden,  View of the Town Hall of Amsterdam with the Dam, 1667,  Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Fig. 22 Jan van der Heyden, View of the Town Hall of Amsterdam with the Dam, 1667, oil on canvas, 85 x 92 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Inv. 1890: 1211 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep, 1655-60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 23 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as reflected in a convex mirror [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep, 1655-60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 24 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as reflected in a convex mirror (close-up; a view that would be difficult to achieve with the actual box) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep, 1655-60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 25 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as viewed through a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, held about 9 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Urania, 1678,  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library, Williamstown
Fig. 26 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Urania, 1678, etching on laid paper, 16.3 x 12.4 cm (plate), Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library, Williamstown, ND653 H655.8i 1678 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Author Self-Portrait, 1677,  Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Fig. 27 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Author Self-Portrait, 1677, etching on laid paper with pen and ink inscription, state i/iii, 16.2 x 12.3 cm (plate), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, RP-P-OB-12.783 (Photo: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Melpomene, 1678,  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library
Fig. 28 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Melpomene, 1678, etching on laid paper, 16.2 x 12.4 cm (plate), Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library, Williamstown, ND653 H655.8i 1678 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Page from Descartes's Discours de la methode, 1637, Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Washington, D.C.
Fig. 29 Page from Descartes’s Discours de la methode, 1637, woodcut and letterpress on laid paper, 15 x 21 cm, Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Washington, Q155.D43 (book in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
  1. 1. National Gallery, London (Inv. NG3832); Detroit Institute of Arts (Acc. 35.101); Bredius Museum (Inv. 217-1946, Cat. 57); Staatsmuseum voor Kunst, Copenhagen (Inv. DEP602); Nationalmuseet Copenhagen (two boxes, on view in gallery 126). Also called peepboxes, all six are described in Susan Koslow, “De Wonderlijke Perspectyfkas: An Aspect of Seventeenth Century Dutch Painting,” Oud Holland 82, no. 1/4 (1967): 35–56.

  2. 2. Originally, this was probably covered with translucent paper to let in a diffused light. Christopher Brown, David Bomford, Joyce Plesters, and John Mills, “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” National Gallery Technical Bulletin 11 (1987): 63.

  3. 3. Seneca, De Beneficiis 2.33; Joanna Woodall discusses these paintings and the privileged position van Hoogstraten affords Love in “Love is in the Air: Amor As Motivation and Message in Seventeenth-Century Netherlandish Painting,” Art History 19 (1996): 208–46.

  4. 4. I use the term “corrective” not in the sense that the image has a right and wrong way to view it, but in that it is a sort of puzzle that has a solution, and both the puzzle and its resolution are showcased in the anamorphosis. This thinking is supported by a passage in the Inleyding in which van Hoogstraten describes anamorphoses, saying that through the use of various kinds of mirrors, “mismaekte gedaentens . . . haer opregte form kan geeven” (“distorted shapes . . . can give their correct forms”; emphasis my own). Samuel van Hoogstraten, Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt. . . . Ten hoogsten noodzakelijk, tot onderwijs (Rotterdam: Fransois van Hoogstraeten, 1678), 274. Translations are my own; some of these translations of the Inleyding were done with input from Celeste Brusati and I also consulted Charles Ford’s beta translation published on The University College London’s website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/grondt.

  5. 5. Celeste Brusati, Artifice and Illusion: The Art and Writing of Samuel Van Hoogstraten (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 86, 177–91.

  6. 6. Thijs Weststeijn, The Visible World: Samuel Van Hoogstraten’s Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age, tr. Beverley Jackson and Lynne Richards (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008); Brown, Bromford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 60–85; Celeste Brusati, “Paradoxical Passages: The Work of Framing in the Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten” in The Universal Art of Samuel Van Hoogstraten (1627–1678): Painter, Writer, and Courtier, ed. Thijs Weststeijn (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013), 53–75; Herman Colenbrander, “A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss: Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Perspective Box in the National Gallery, London,” in The Universal Art of Samuel Van Hoogstraten, 138–59; Woodall, “Love Is in the Air”; Justina Spencer, “Illusion as Ingenuity: Dutch Perspective Boxes in the Royal Danish Kunstkammer’s ‘Perspective Chamber,’” Journal of the History of Collections 30/2 (2018) : 187–201.

  7. 7. On the theme of love and marital readings, see Woodall, “Love Is in the Air” and Colenbrander, “A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss,” respectively; on its interpretation as a brothel, see Piotr Oczko, “Miotły i zamtuzy: jeszcze raz o ‘znaczeniach ukrytych’ w sztuce holenderskiej XVII w. : (malarstwo rodzajowe i kasety perspektywiczne),” Biuletyn Historii Sztuki 75/1 (2013): 19–26.

  8. 8. Colenbrander, “A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss,” 148.

  9. 9. Brown, Bomford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 68.

  10. 10. Brown, Bomford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 68.

  11. 11. The top panel has a split down its center with a small area of loss that had to be filled and repainted. This split lines up well with where a proposed apparatus would have been mounted, and the split could have formed along a hole from the mount; still, the presence of a similar crack in the end panel cautions against drawing such conclusions. David Bomford et. al., “Brief History of Condition and Treatment,” “Condition Report (2/24/1984),” and “Treatment Report (6/12/1986),” National Gallery Dossier NG3832, The National Gallery, London; Brown, Bomford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 76.

  12. 12. As with the brown strip atop the box, there are two areas within the interior of the box that have been left unresolved because they probably would have been hidden from view when seen through the opposite peepholes. Bomford also posits that a no-longer-extant wooden piece would have hidden each peephole from the line of sight of the opposite peephole. Brown, Bomford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 75.

  13. 13. Van Hoogstraten may have known Caspar Kalthof, a lensmaker praised by Christiaan Huygens for his lens grinding forms. They both signed Johan Mulheuser’s album amicorum in 1650 and both lived in Dordrecht prior to moving to England. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 292–293n101; beyond Kalthof, there were two other lens grinders working in nearby Delft in the 1650s: Evert Harmansz Steenwijck and Johan van der Wyck, the latter having made lenses for Huygens. By 1655, Van der Wyck had also apparently invented some kind of peepbox in which the view alternated between an Italianate mountain landscape with a castle and a seascape populated with ships. For such a project, he likely would have had to collaborate with a painter. Huib J. Zuidervaart and Marlise Rijks, “‘Most rare workmen’: Optical practitioners in early seventeenth-century Delft,” The British Journal for the History of Science 48, no. 1 (2015): 16-21. 

  14. 14. Magia Naturalis was published in the Netherlands five times between 1644 and 1664, in both Dutch and Latin editions. The English translation I quote here closely follows the Latin edition. Giambattista della Porta, Natural Magick by John Baptista Porta, a Neapolitane; in Twenty Books . . . Wherein Are Set Forth All the Riches and Delights of the Natural Sciences (London: Printed for Thomas Young and Samuel Speed, 1658), 369. For a discussion of Kepler, della Porta, and Van Hoogstraten’s use of lenses and their relation to seventeenth-century theories of perspective, see Arthur K. Wheelock, “Carel Fabritius: Perspective and Optics in Delft,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 24 (1973): 69–70.

  15. 15. Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 263; See also Celeste Brusati, “Perspectives in Flux: Viewing Dutch Pictures in Real Time,” Art History 35, no. 5 (2012): 918.

  16. 16. For the reconstruction I used a biconcave lens 7.5 cm diameter, 20 cm focal length. The ideal lens would have a focal length around 15 cm and could be either plano-concave or biconcave, with a 5–10 cm diameter.

  17. 17. Della Porta, Natural Magick, 361–370; on Kepler and “images that hang in the air,” see Sven Dupré, “Inside the Camera Obscura: Kepler’s Experiment and Theory of Optical Imagery,” Early Science and Medicine 13 (2008).

  18. 18. Della Porta, Natural Magick, 368–69; della Porta was using a broad definition of “images that float in the air,” due to his misunderstanding of differences between the geometric, perceived, and projected (optical) loci of images. Sven Dupré, “Playing with Images in a Dark Room: Kepler’s Ludi inside the Camera Obscura,” in Inside the Camera Obscura: Optics and Art Under the Spell of the Projected Image, ed. Wolfgang Lefèvre (Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 2007), 67–69. Similar floating images—also called “flying images” or “projected reflections”—could likewise be achieved through the use of catoptric devices, which were described in the seventeenth century by Athananius Kircher and Gaspar Schott. On these, see Marie Theres Stauffer, “Mirror Art: Early Modern Catoptric Devices in Books, Collections, and Demonstrations,” in “The Most Noble of the Senses”: Anamorphosis, Trompe-L’Oeil, and Other Optical Illusions in Early Modern Art, ed. Lilian H. Zirpolo (Ramsey, NJ: Zephyrus Scholarly Publications, 2016), 67–86, esp. 80–84.

  19. 19. Kepler and della Porta describe lenses up to a foot wide. Johannes Kepler, Optics: Paralipomena to Witelo & Optical Part of Astronomy, tr. William H. Donahue (Santa Fe, NM: Green Lion Press, 2000), 194; della Porta, Natural Magick, 379.

  20. 20. René Descartes, Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison et chercher la vérité dans les sciences, plus la dioptrique, les météores et la géométrie qui sont des essais de cette méthode (Leiden: Jan Maire, 1637), Dioptrique discourses 3–9, esp. 5.

  21. 21. Kepler, Optics, 181.

  22. 22. Svetlana Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), 34–35; Alistair C. Crombie, trans., “Kepler: De Modo Visionis” in L’aventure de la science: Melanges Alexander Koyré, vol. 1 (Paris: Hermann, 1964), 144–5.

  23. 23. “[D]ewijl ’er niets lichter bedroogen wort, als het gezigt. Maer ik zegge dat een Schilder, diens werk het is, het gezigt te bedriegen, ook zoo veel kennis van de natuur der dingen moet hebben, dat hy grondig verstaet, waer door het oog bedroogen wort.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 274.

  24. 24. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 177.

  25. 25. Daniel L. Collins, “Anamorphosis and the Eccentric Observer: Inverted Perspective and Construction of the Gaze,” Leonardo. 25, no. 1 (1992): 73–74.

  26. 26. “[G]elijk gy zien kunt voor een gebouw of Kerk staende, dat niet alleen beyde de einden der mueren, maer ook de Torens van ons afloopen, verkorten en verschieten. Hoe dwaeslijk waer’t, dit aldus af te beelden, ten waer u werk, ook van zeer naby gezien wordende, ’t zelve nootzakelijk vereischte.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 34.

  27. 27. Hans Vredeman de Vries, Perspective: Dat is, de hooch-gheroemde conste eens schijnende in oft door-siende ooghen-ghesichtes punt . . . (Leiden: Hendrick Hondius, 1604).

  28. 28. Brusati discusses this image with respect to the interior of the box in Artifice and Illusion, 184–91; see also Alpers, The Art of Describing, 56–58.

  29. 29. Walter A. Liedtke, “The ‘View in Delft’ by Carel Fabritius,” The Burlington Magazine 118, no. 875 (1976): 61–73, esp. 65–69; see also Walter A. Liedtke, Michiel Plomp, and Axel Rüger, Vermeer and the Delft School (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001), 114, 250–55, cat. 18. More recently, Caroline Fowler has explored the resolution of “dissonant” perspectives in Fabritius’s View in Delft, relating perspectival theory to early modern music theory and the common tool that they shared: string. Fowler, “Consonant and dissonant perspectives: Carel Fabritius’ A View in Delft (1652),” in “The Most Noble of the Senses” (see note 18), 49–66, esp. 58–60, 65–66.

  30. 30. “[W]y met onze oogen rondom ons zien, en desweegen geen rechte linie kan getogen worden, die op alle plaetsen onze oogen eeven na is; maer wel een kromme, als den omtrek van een kring, waer van het middel punt in ons oog is.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 34.

  31. 31. Peter C. Sutton and Jonathan Bikker, Jan Van Der Heyden (1637–1712) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 122–26; Brusati, “Perspectives in Flux,” 925.

  32. 32. Van Hoogstraten remarked that “the wondrous perspective box . . . if painted correctly and with skill, shows a finger-length figure as if life-sized” (“de wonderlijke perspectyfkas, die, alsze regt en met kennisse geschildert is, een figuur van een vinger lang als leevensgroot vertoont”). Inleyding, 274–75.

  33. 33. One finds another unusual addition to a Van Hoogstraten painting in his Court of the Hofburg, Vienna (1652), in which a functioning timepiece was embedded into the clock tower. While it is possible that the timepiece was added by someone else, it would have had to have been added before 1737, when it is first noted in an inventory. It has since been replaced by a painted clock. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 73, 287n49.

  34. 34. Mathematician Michael A. B. Deakin proposed placing a mirrored arc above the box in a letter sent to the National Gallery in 1981. Though this solution would only correct only some of the distortions while also introducing some of its own, Deacon recognized the need for some kind of mediation for the anamorphosis to be corrected. Then-curator Christopher Brown dismissed the need for any corrective to the box. Michael A. B. Deakin to The National Gallery Director, May 5, 1981, National Gallery Dossier NG3832, The National Gallery, London; Christopher Brown to Mr. Deakin, June 19, 1981, National Gallery Dossier NG3832, The National Gallery, London.

  35. 35. Van Hoogstraten only mentions them in a sort of apophasis, saying that he will skip over explaining how one can correct distorted images in various kinds of mirrors (see note 4). Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 274.

  36. 36. Sven Dupré, “How-To Optics,” in Perspective as Practice: Renaissance Cultures of Optics, ed. Sven Dupré (Turnhout: Brepols, 2019), 291.

  37. 37. Woodall has a more in-depth discussion of the primacy of love in the artist’s motivations. Woodall, “Love is in the Air,” 235–37.

  38. 38. Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 345.

  39. 39. Woodall argues a tertiary identification as Poetry. Woodall, “Love is in the Air,” 214.

  40. 40. “de natuur in hare eigenschappen.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 11–12.

  41. 41. Woodall asserts that this panel represents an artist working uit den geest on the basis of the allegorical figure, with the panel being representative of history painting. However, her identification of the figure as Natura complicates such a reading, as working after nature or ad naturam is often defined in opposition to working uit den geest. Woodall, “Love is in the Air,” 212–14, 228, 236–37n13; ad naturam was itself a concept closely aligned with ad vivum and naar het leven. See Claudia Swan, “Ad Vivum, Naer Het Leven, from the Life: Defining a Mode of Representation,” Word & Image 11/4 (1995): 362–63.

  42. 42. Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 325; Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 252–56; Hans-Jörg Czech, Im Geleit der Musen: Studien zu Samuel van Hoogstratens Malereitraktat Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt (Münster: Waxmann, 2002), 362–63; Weststeijn, Visible World, 253; Koslow, “Wonderlijke,” 45–46.

  43. 43. The celestial globe above the head is also an attribute of Fortune, the subject of the Eighth Book of the Inleyding, but here she lacks her cornucopia or additional attributes that would indicate positive or negative Fortune. The figure is iconographically potent but purposefully ambiguous, suggesting some amalgamation of Urania, Natura, Fortune, and Poetry. Cesare Ripa, Dirck Pers, and Giovanni Zaratino Castellini, Iconologia, of Uytbeeldingen Des Verstands . . . Met. . . De Uytnemende Verbeteringe Van G. Zaratino Castellini . . . (Amsterdam: D. P. Pers 1644), 131.

  44. 44. Brusati and others have noted that the bestowal of the gold chain is a reference to van Hoogstraten’s own gold chain, given to him by Emperor Ferdinand III. Van Hoogstraten appears to have valued the honors of the court more than courtly patronage itself, and he used his honors as a way to increase the value of his works outside of the courtly context. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 54–55; Brusati, “Capitalizing on the Counterfeit: Trompe L’Oeil Negotiations,” in Still-Life Paintings from the Netherlands, 1550–1720, ed. Alan W. Chong and Wouter Kloek (Zwolle: Waanders, 1999), 59–71.

  45. 45. A number of light yellow-green daubs of paint are visible at the top right of the picture, which could either suggest a still life of grapes—Zeuxis’s grapes must have never been far from van Hoogstraten’s mind—or foliage in a landscape. Given Van Hoogstraten’s own penchant for trompe l’oeil and his success in attaining glory (and a gold chain) through it, a grape still life reading is tempting. Immediately above and to the right of the painter one can very faintly see wispy white strokes which may have been preparatory for something to be placed in front of him, but they are too faint and sketchy to make any substantial claims.

  46. 46. Koslow, “Wonderlijke,” 46.

  47. 47. However, he does seem to be holding what may be a palette. In any case, the painting appears largely finished.

  48. 48. Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 345–61; Clotilde Brière-Misme pointed out the relation of the outer panels to these chapters in the Inleyding in “Deux ‘boites à perspective’ hollandaises du XVIIe siècle,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 1 (1925): 160–61.

  49. 49. Woodall also discusses the primacy of love in the artist’s motivations. Woodall, “Love is in the Air,” 235–37.

  50. 50. Van Hoogstraten dedicated three pages to the discussion of hair in his Inleyding, but he says nothing about how hair might reflect age or experience; 144–47. Though not discussed by van Hoogstraten, unkempt hair could also signify artistic inspiration.

  51. 51. Joyce Plesters in Brown, Bomford et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 83.

  52. 52. Colenbrander, “A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss,” 148–49; Jan Blanc, Peindre et penser la peinture au XVIIe siècle: la théorie de l’art de Samuel van Hoogstraten (Bern: Peter Lang, 2008), 24–25.

  53. 53. “Heeft hy laten maken van koper een heymelijcke Camer onder zijn Sale onder d’aerde, waer in hy zijn Dochter met de Voester liet besluyten . . . op datse niet soude van yemandt worden bevrucht.” Van Mander notes that some say she was put in a tower. Wtlegghingh op den metamorphosis Pub. Ouidij Nasonis . . . (Haarlem: Paschier van Westbusch, 1604), 37v.

  54. 54. Emphasis added. “ . . . besloot hy de Moeder met het kindt . . . in een houtten kist, dicht en wel besloten,” Van Mander, Wtlegghingh op den metamorphosis, 38r.–40v.

  55. 55. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 213, 319n64; Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 122–23.

  56. 56. “ . . . open ons de binnekameren, daer de Hofjufferen zich ten dans bereyden, of in haer sierlijke bedkameren van liefde zuchten.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 123; Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 240.

  57. 57. Thijs Weststeijn, “Between Mind and Body: Painting the Inner Movements According to Samuel van Hoogstraten and Franciscus Junius,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 60 (2010): 261, 265.

  58. 58. Weststeijn, “Between Mind and Body,” 262–63; Weststeijn, Visible World, 182–83.

  59. 59. Van Hoogstraten’s chosen word for passion was hartstocht, literally a movement of the heart. Weststeijn, Visible World, 172–73.

  60. 60. Arnold Houbraken, De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (‘s Gravenhage: J. Swart, C. Boucquet, en M. Gaillard, 1753), 2:157–58.

  61. 61. On both orbs the text is truncated and nearly illegible, having been obscured with hatching. On the Invisible World orb, one can only make out “Onzic[htbare] [We]rel[d].” Neither orb is labeled in the preparatory study for the print, in the collection of the Huis van Gijn, Dordrecht, inv. 1641. For more on the self-portrait, see Czech, Im Geleit, 367–75.

  62. 62. “Zy schept vermaek in’t geen vermindert of vermeert: / Verdonkert en verklaert: ontluikt of raekt aen’t zwichten;” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 243; this passage discussed in Celeste Brusati, “Looking at Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Dogs in Perspective,” in Liber amicorum Marijke de Kinkelder: collegiale bijdragen over landschappen, marines en architectuur, ed. Dumas et al. (Zwolle: Waanders, 2013), 52, 61, 66.

Alpers, Svetlana. The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. https://doi.org/10.5117/ivn2012.0.boer

Blanc, Jan. Peindre et penser la peinture au XVIIe siècle: la théorie de l’art de Samuel van Hoogstraten. Bern: Peter Lang, 2008. https://doi.org/10.4000/contextes.66

Brière-Misme, Clotilde. “Deux ‘boites à perspective’ hollandaises du XVIIe siècle.” Gazette Des Beaux-Arts 1 (1925): 156–66.

Brown, Christopher, David Bomford, Joyce Plesters, and John Mills. “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting.” National Gallery Technical Bulletin 11 (1987): 60–85.

Brusati, Celeste. Artifice and Illusion: The Art and Writing of Samuel Van Hoogstraten. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

—. “Capitalizing on the Counterfeit: Trompe L’Oeil Negotiations.” In Still-Life Paintings from the Netherlands, 1550–1720, edited by Alan W. Chong and Wouter Kloek, 59–71. Zwolle: Waanders, 1999.

—. “Looking at Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Dogs in Perspective.” In Liber amicorum Marijke de Kinkelder: collegiale bijdragen over landschappen, marines en architectuur, edited by Charles Dumas, Jan Kosten, Eric Jan Sluijter, and Nicolette C. Sluijter-Seijffert, 49–68. Zwolle: Waanders, 2013.

—. “Paradoxical Passages: The Work of Framing in the Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten.” In The Universal Art of Samuel Van Hoogstraten (1627–1678): Painter, Writer, and Courtier, edited by Thijs Weststeijn, 53–75. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1515/9789048518593-004

—. “Perspectives in Flux: Viewing Dutch Pictures in Real Time.” Art History 35, no. 5 (2012): 909–33. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8365.2012.00930.x

Colenbrander, Herman. “A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss: Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Perspective Box in the National Gallery, London.” In The Universal Art of Samuel Van Hoogstraten (1627–1678): Painter, Writer, and Courtier, edited by Thijs Weststeijn, 138–59. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1515/9789048518593-008

Collins, Daniel L. “Anamorphosis and the Eccentric Observer: Inverted Perspective and Construction of the Gaze.” Leonardo 25, no. 1 (1992): 73–82. https://doi.org/10.2307/1575625

Crombie, Alistair C., trans. “Kepler: De Modo Visionis.” In L’aventure de la science: Melanges Alexander Koyré, 1:135–72. Paris: Hermann, 1964.

Czech, Hans-Jörg. Im Geleit der Musen: Studien zu Samuel van Hoogstratens Malereitraktat Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt. Münster: Waxmann, 2002.

Della Porta, Giambattista. Natural Magick by John Baptista Porta, a Neapolitane; in Twenty Books . . . Wherein Are Set Forth All the Riches and Delights of the Natural Sciences. London: Printed for Thomas Young and Samuel Speed, 1658.

Descartes, René. Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison et chercher la vérité dans les sciences, plus la dioptrique, les météores et la géométrie qui sont des essais de cette méthode. Leiden: Jan Maire, 1637.

Dupré, Sven. “How-To Optics.” In Perspective as Practice: Renaissance Cultures of Optics, edited by Sven Dupré, 279–300. Turnhout: Brepols, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1484/m.techne.5.117730

—. “Inside the Camera Obscura: Kepler’s Experiment and Theory of Optical Imagery.” Early Science and Medicine 13 (2008): 219–44.

—. “Playing with Images in a Dark Room: Kepler’s Ludi inside the Camera Obscura.” In Inside the Camera Obscura: Optics and Art Under the Spell of the Projected Image, edited by Wolfgang Lefèvre, 59–74. Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 2007.

Fowler, Caroline O. “Consonant and dissonant perspectives: Carel Fabritius’ A View in Delft (1652).” In “The Most Noble of the Senses”: Anamorphosis, Trompe-L’Oeil, and Other Optical Illusions in Early Modern Art, edited by Lilian H. Zirpolo, 49–66. Ramsey, NJ: Zephyrus Scholarly Publications, 2016.

Houbraken, Arnold. De Groote Schouburgh Der Nederlantsche Konstschilders En Schilderessen. ‘s Gravenhage: J. Swart, C. Boucquet, en M. Gaillard, 1753.

Kepler, Johannes. Optics: Paralipomena to Witelo & Optical Part of Astronomy, translated by William H. Donahue. Santa Fe, NM: Green Lion Press, 2000.

Koslow, Susan. “De Wonderlijke Perspectyfkas: An Aspect of Seventeenth Century Dutch Painting.” Oud Holland 82, no. 1 (1967): 35–56. https://doi.org/10.1163/187501767×00206

Liedtke, Walter A. “The ‘View in Delft’ by Carel Fabritius.” The Burlington Magazine 118, no. 875 (1976): 61–73.

Liedtke, Walter A., Michiel Plomp, and Axel Rüger. Vermeer and the Delft School. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001.

National Gallery Dossier NG3832, The National Gallery, London.

Oczko, Piotr. “Miotły i zamtuzy: jeszcze raz o ‘znaczeniach ukrytych’ w sztuce holenderskiej XVII w.: (malarstwo rodzajowe i kasety perspektywiczne).” Biuletyn Historii Sztuki 75/1 (2013): 5–35.

Ripa, Cesare, Dirck Pers, and Giovanni Zaratino Castellini. Iconologia, of Uytbeeldingen Des Verstands . . . Met. . . De Uytnemende Verbeteringe Van G. Zaratino Castellini . . . Amsterdam: D. P. Pers, 1644.

Spencer, Justina. “Illusion as Ingenuity: Dutch Perspective Boxes in the Royal Danish Kunstkammer’s ‘Perspective Chamber.’” Journal of the History of Collections 30/2 (2018): 187–201.

Stauffer, Marie Theres. “Mirror Art: Early Modern Catoptric Devices in Books, Collections, and Demonstrations.” In “The Most Noble of the Senses”: Anamorphosis, Trompe-L’Oeil, and Other Optical Illusions in Early Modern Art, edited by Lilian H. Zirpolo, 67–86. Ramsey, NJ: Zephyrus Scholarly Publications, 2016.

Swan, Claudia. “Ad Vivum, Naer Het Leven, from the Life: Defining a Mode of Representation.” Word & Image 11/4 (1995): 353–72. https://doi.org/10.1080/02666286.1995.10435926

Sutton, Peter C. and Jonathan Bikker. Jan Van Der Heyden (1637–1712). New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Van Hoogstraten, Samuel. Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt. . . . Ten hoogsten noodzakelijk, tot onderwijs. Rotterdam: Fransois van Hoogstraeten, 1678.

Van Mander, Karel. Wtlegghingh op den Metamorphosis Pub. Ouidij Nasonis . . . Haarlem: Paschier van Westbusch, 1604.  https://www.dbnl.org/tekst/mand001schi01_01

Vredeman de Vries, Hans. Perspective: Dat is, de hooch-gheroemde conste eens schijnende in oft door-siende ooghen-ghesichtes punt . . . Leiden: Hendrick Hondius, 1604.

Weststeijn, Thijs. “Between Mind and Body: Painting the Inner Movements According to Samuel van Hoogstraten and Franciscus Junius.” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 60 (2010): 261–81. https://doi.org/10.1163/22145966-90000762

—. The Visible World: Samuel Van Hoogstraten’s Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age, translated by Beverley Jackson and Lynne Richards. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008. https://doi.org/10.5117/9789089640277

Wheelock, Arthur K. “Carel Fabritius: Perspective and Optics in Delft.” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 24 (1973): 63–83. https://doi.org/10.1163/22145966-90000684

Woodall, Joanna. “Love Is in the Air: Amor As Motivation and Message in Seventeenth-Century Netherlandish Painting.” Art History 19 (1996): 208–246.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8365.1996.tb00664.x

Zuidervaart, Huib J. and Marlise Rijks. “‘Most rare workmen’: Optical practitioners in early seventeenth-century Delft.” The British Journal for the History of Science 48, no. 1 (2015): 53-85. HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1017/S0007087414000181

List of Illustrations

Samuel van Hoogstraten,  A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch ,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 1 Samuel van Hoogstraten, A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 1655–60, oil and egg on wood, 58 x 88 x 60.5 cm, National Gallery, London, NG3832, presented by Sir Robert and Lady Witt through the National Art Collections Fund, 1924 (licensed under Creative Commons) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch ,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 2 Samuel van Hoogstraten, A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, oblique view (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch ,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 3 Samuel van Hoogstraten, A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, interior layout (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Amoris Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 4 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Amoris Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 58 x 60.5 cm (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Gloriae Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with View,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 5 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Gloriae Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 58 x 60.5 cm (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Lucri Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views ,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 6 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Lucri Causa, side panel of A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 58 x 88 cm (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 7 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House, 88 x 60.5 cm (© The National Gallery, London) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 8 Fig. 7 seen from viewpoint proposed by previous scholarship [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 9 Fig. 7 overlaid with lines drawn from vertical compositional elements [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 10 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 with a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, mounted 9.5 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 11 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 with a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, mounted 9.5 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 12 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as viewed through a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, placed 9.5 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 13 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as viewed through a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, placed 9.5 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 14 Mock-up of an aperture/peephole mounted atop a full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 15 Mock-up of an aperture/peephole mounted atop a full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 16 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as seen through an aperture/peephole of 2.5 cm diameter, placed 9.8 cm above the image [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 17 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as seen through an aperture/peephole of 2.5 cm diameter, placed 9.8 cm above the image [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep,  1655–60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 18 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as seen through an aperture/peephole of 2.5 cm diameter, placed 9.8 cm above the image [side-by-side viewer]
Figure 1 in Perspective (Latin edition), 1604, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Fig. 19 Hans Vredeman de Vries, Figure 1 in Perspective (Latin edition), 1604, engraving on laid paper, 27 x 36 cm (sheet), Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Carel Fabritius,  A View in Delft, 1652,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 20 Carel Fabritius; A View in Delft; 1652; National Gallery, London; NG3714, presented by The Art Fund, 1922; (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Jan van der Heyden,  Amsterdam, Dam Square with the Town Hall and the , 1668,  Musée du Louvre, Paris
Fig. 21 Jan van der Heyden, Amsterdam, Dam Square with the Town Hall and the Nieuwe Kerk, 1668, oil on canvas, 73 x 86 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris, INV1337 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Jan van der Heyden,  View of the Town Hall of Amsterdam with the Dam, 1667,  Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Fig. 22 Jan van der Heyden, View of the Town Hall of Amsterdam with the Dam, 1667, oil on canvas, 85 x 92 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Inv. 1890: 1211 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep, 1655-60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 23 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as reflected in a convex mirror [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep, 1655-60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 24 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as reflected in a convex mirror (close-up; a view that would be difficult to achieve with the actual box) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Venus/Danaë/Erato and Cupid, top panel of A Peep, 1655-60,  National Gallery, London
Fig. 25 Full-scale facsimile of fig. 7 as viewed through a 7.5 cm diameter biconcave lens with 20 cm focal length, held about 9 cm above the image, angled slightly downward [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Urania, 1678,  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library, Williamstown
Fig. 26 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Urania, 1678, etching on laid paper, 16.3 x 12.4 cm (plate), Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library, Williamstown, ND653 H655.8i 1678 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Author Self-Portrait, 1677,  Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Fig. 27 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Author Self-Portrait, 1677, etching on laid paper with pen and ink inscription, state i/iii, 16.2 x 12.3 cm (plate), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, RP-P-OB-12.783 (Photo: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Samuel van Hoogstraten,  Melpomene, 1678,  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library
Fig. 28 Samuel van Hoogstraten, Melpomene, 1678, etching on laid paper, 16.2 x 12.4 cm (plate), Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library, Williamstown, ND653 H655.8i 1678 (artwork in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]
Page from Descartes's Discours de la methode, 1637, Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Washington, D.C.
Fig. 29 Page from Descartes’s Discours de la methode, 1637, woodcut and letterpress on laid paper, 15 x 21 cm, Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Washington, Q155.D43 (book in the public domain) [side-by-side viewer]

Footnotes

  1. 1. National Gallery, London (Inv. NG3832); Detroit Institute of Arts (Acc. 35.101); Bredius Museum (Inv. 217-1946, Cat. 57); Staatsmuseum voor Kunst, Copenhagen (Inv. DEP602); Nationalmuseet Copenhagen (two boxes, on view in gallery 126). Also called peepboxes, all six are described in Susan Koslow, “De Wonderlijke Perspectyfkas: An Aspect of Seventeenth Century Dutch Painting,” Oud Holland 82, no. 1/4 (1967): 35–56.

  2. 2. Originally, this was probably covered with translucent paper to let in a diffused light. Christopher Brown, David Bomford, Joyce Plesters, and John Mills, “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” National Gallery Technical Bulletin 11 (1987): 63.

  3. 3. Seneca, De Beneficiis 2.33; Joanna Woodall discusses these paintings and the privileged position van Hoogstraten affords Love in “Love is in the Air: Amor As Motivation and Message in Seventeenth-Century Netherlandish Painting,” Art History 19 (1996): 208–46.

  4. 4. I use the term “corrective” not in the sense that the image has a right and wrong way to view it, but in that it is a sort of puzzle that has a solution, and both the puzzle and its resolution are showcased in the anamorphosis. This thinking is supported by a passage in the Inleyding in which van Hoogstraten describes anamorphoses, saying that through the use of various kinds of mirrors, “mismaekte gedaentens . . . haer opregte form kan geeven” (“distorted shapes . . . can give their correct forms”; emphasis my own). Samuel van Hoogstraten, Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt. . . . Ten hoogsten noodzakelijk, tot onderwijs (Rotterdam: Fransois van Hoogstraeten, 1678), 274. Translations are my own; some of these translations of the Inleyding were done with input from Celeste Brusati and I also consulted Charles Ford’s beta translation published on The University College London’s website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/grondt.

  5. 5. Celeste Brusati, Artifice and Illusion: The Art and Writing of Samuel Van Hoogstraten (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 86, 177–91.

  6. 6. Thijs Weststeijn, The Visible World: Samuel Van Hoogstraten’s Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age, tr. Beverley Jackson and Lynne Richards (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008); Brown, Bromford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 60–85; Celeste Brusati, “Paradoxical Passages: The Work of Framing in the Art of Samuel van Hoogstraten” in The Universal Art of Samuel Van Hoogstraten (1627–1678): Painter, Writer, and Courtier, ed. Thijs Weststeijn (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013), 53–75; Herman Colenbrander, “A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss: Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Perspective Box in the National Gallery, London,” in The Universal Art of Samuel Van Hoogstraten, 138–59; Woodall, “Love Is in the Air”; Justina Spencer, “Illusion as Ingenuity: Dutch Perspective Boxes in the Royal Danish Kunstkammer’s ‘Perspective Chamber,’” Journal of the History of Collections 30/2 (2018) : 187–201.

  7. 7. On the theme of love and marital readings, see Woodall, “Love Is in the Air” and Colenbrander, “A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss,” respectively; on its interpretation as a brothel, see Piotr Oczko, “Miotły i zamtuzy: jeszcze raz o ‘znaczeniach ukrytych’ w sztuce holenderskiej XVII w. : (malarstwo rodzajowe i kasety perspektywiczne),” Biuletyn Historii Sztuki 75/1 (2013): 19–26.

  8. 8. Colenbrander, “A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss,” 148.

  9. 9. Brown, Bomford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 68.

  10. 10. Brown, Bomford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 68.

  11. 11. The top panel has a split down its center with a small area of loss that had to be filled and repainted. This split lines up well with where a proposed apparatus would have been mounted, and the split could have formed along a hole from the mount; still, the presence of a similar crack in the end panel cautions against drawing such conclusions. David Bomford et. al., “Brief History of Condition and Treatment,” “Condition Report (2/24/1984),” and “Treatment Report (6/12/1986),” National Gallery Dossier NG3832, The National Gallery, London; Brown, Bomford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 76.

  12. 12. As with the brown strip atop the box, there are two areas within the interior of the box that have been left unresolved because they probably would have been hidden from view when seen through the opposite peepholes. Bomford also posits that a no-longer-extant wooden piece would have hidden each peephole from the line of sight of the opposite peephole. Brown, Bomford, et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 75.

  13. 13. Van Hoogstraten may have known Caspar Kalthof, a lensmaker praised by Christiaan Huygens for his lens grinding forms. They both signed Johan Mulheuser’s album amicorum in 1650 and both lived in Dordrecht prior to moving to England. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 292–293n101; beyond Kalthof, there were two other lens grinders working in nearby Delft in the 1650s: Evert Harmansz Steenwijck and Johan van der Wyck, the latter having made lenses for Huygens. By 1655, Van der Wyck had also apparently invented some kind of peepbox in which the view alternated between an Italianate mountain landscape with a castle and a seascape populated with ships. For such a project, he likely would have had to collaborate with a painter. Huib J. Zuidervaart and Marlise Rijks, “‘Most rare workmen’: Optical practitioners in early seventeenth-century Delft,” The British Journal for the History of Science 48, no. 1 (2015): 16-21. 

  14. 14. Magia Naturalis was published in the Netherlands five times between 1644 and 1664, in both Dutch and Latin editions. The English translation I quote here closely follows the Latin edition. Giambattista della Porta, Natural Magick by John Baptista Porta, a Neapolitane; in Twenty Books . . . Wherein Are Set Forth All the Riches and Delights of the Natural Sciences (London: Printed for Thomas Young and Samuel Speed, 1658), 369. For a discussion of Kepler, della Porta, and Van Hoogstraten’s use of lenses and their relation to seventeenth-century theories of perspective, see Arthur K. Wheelock, “Carel Fabritius: Perspective and Optics in Delft,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 24 (1973): 69–70.

  15. 15. Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 263; See also Celeste Brusati, “Perspectives in Flux: Viewing Dutch Pictures in Real Time,” Art History 35, no. 5 (2012): 918.

  16. 16. For the reconstruction I used a biconcave lens 7.5 cm diameter, 20 cm focal length. The ideal lens would have a focal length around 15 cm and could be either plano-concave or biconcave, with a 5–10 cm diameter.

  17. 17. Della Porta, Natural Magick, 361–370; on Kepler and “images that hang in the air,” see Sven Dupré, “Inside the Camera Obscura: Kepler’s Experiment and Theory of Optical Imagery,” Early Science and Medicine 13 (2008).

  18. 18. Della Porta, Natural Magick, 368–69; della Porta was using a broad definition of “images that float in the air,” due to his misunderstanding of differences between the geometric, perceived, and projected (optical) loci of images. Sven Dupré, “Playing with Images in a Dark Room: Kepler’s Ludi inside the Camera Obscura,” in Inside the Camera Obscura: Optics and Art Under the Spell of the Projected Image, ed. Wolfgang Lefèvre (Berlin: Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 2007), 67–69. Similar floating images—also called “flying images” or “projected reflections”—could likewise be achieved through the use of catoptric devices, which were described in the seventeenth century by Athananius Kircher and Gaspar Schott. On these, see Marie Theres Stauffer, “Mirror Art: Early Modern Catoptric Devices in Books, Collections, and Demonstrations,” in “The Most Noble of the Senses”: Anamorphosis, Trompe-L’Oeil, and Other Optical Illusions in Early Modern Art, ed. Lilian H. Zirpolo (Ramsey, NJ: Zephyrus Scholarly Publications, 2016), 67–86, esp. 80–84.

  19. 19. Kepler and della Porta describe lenses up to a foot wide. Johannes Kepler, Optics: Paralipomena to Witelo & Optical Part of Astronomy, tr. William H. Donahue (Santa Fe, NM: Green Lion Press, 2000), 194; della Porta, Natural Magick, 379.

  20. 20. René Descartes, Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison et chercher la vérité dans les sciences, plus la dioptrique, les météores et la géométrie qui sont des essais de cette méthode (Leiden: Jan Maire, 1637), Dioptrique discourses 3–9, esp. 5.

  21. 21. Kepler, Optics, 181.

  22. 22. Svetlana Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), 34–35; Alistair C. Crombie, trans., “Kepler: De Modo Visionis” in L’aventure de la science: Melanges Alexander Koyré, vol. 1 (Paris: Hermann, 1964), 144–5.

  23. 23. “[D]ewijl ’er niets lichter bedroogen wort, als het gezigt. Maer ik zegge dat een Schilder, diens werk het is, het gezigt te bedriegen, ook zoo veel kennis van de natuur der dingen moet hebben, dat hy grondig verstaet, waer door het oog bedroogen wort.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 274.

  24. 24. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 177.

  25. 25. Daniel L. Collins, “Anamorphosis and the Eccentric Observer: Inverted Perspective and Construction of the Gaze,” Leonardo. 25, no. 1 (1992): 73–74.

  26. 26. “[G]elijk gy zien kunt voor een gebouw of Kerk staende, dat niet alleen beyde de einden der mueren, maer ook de Torens van ons afloopen, verkorten en verschieten. Hoe dwaeslijk waer’t, dit aldus af te beelden, ten waer u werk, ook van zeer naby gezien wordende, ’t zelve nootzakelijk vereischte.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 34.

  27. 27. Hans Vredeman de Vries, Perspective: Dat is, de hooch-gheroemde conste eens schijnende in oft door-siende ooghen-ghesichtes punt . . . (Leiden: Hendrick Hondius, 1604).

  28. 28. Brusati discusses this image with respect to the interior of the box in Artifice and Illusion, 184–91; see also Alpers, The Art of Describing, 56–58.

  29. 29. Walter A. Liedtke, “The ‘View in Delft’ by Carel Fabritius,” The Burlington Magazine 118, no. 875 (1976): 61–73, esp. 65–69; see also Walter A. Liedtke, Michiel Plomp, and Axel Rüger, Vermeer and the Delft School (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001), 114, 250–55, cat. 18. More recently, Caroline Fowler has explored the resolution of “dissonant” perspectives in Fabritius’s View in Delft, relating perspectival theory to early modern music theory and the common tool that they shared: string. Fowler, “Consonant and dissonant perspectives: Carel Fabritius’ A View in Delft (1652),” in “The Most Noble of the Senses” (see note 18), 49–66, esp. 58–60, 65–66.

  30. 30. “[W]y met onze oogen rondom ons zien, en desweegen geen rechte linie kan getogen worden, die op alle plaetsen onze oogen eeven na is; maer wel een kromme, als den omtrek van een kring, waer van het middel punt in ons oog is.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 34.

  31. 31. Peter C. Sutton and Jonathan Bikker, Jan Van Der Heyden (1637–1712) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 122–26; Brusati, “Perspectives in Flux,” 925.

  32. 32. Van Hoogstraten remarked that “the wondrous perspective box . . . if painted correctly and with skill, shows a finger-length figure as if life-sized” (“de wonderlijke perspectyfkas, die, alsze regt en met kennisse geschildert is, een figuur van een vinger lang als leevensgroot vertoont”). Inleyding, 274–75.

  33. 33. One finds another unusual addition to a Van Hoogstraten painting in his Court of the Hofburg, Vienna (1652), in which a functioning timepiece was embedded into the clock tower. While it is possible that the timepiece was added by someone else, it would have had to have been added before 1737, when it is first noted in an inventory. It has since been replaced by a painted clock. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 73, 287n49.

  34. 34. Mathematician Michael A. B. Deakin proposed placing a mirrored arc above the box in a letter sent to the National Gallery in 1981. Though this solution would only correct only some of the distortions while also introducing some of its own, Deacon recognized the need for some kind of mediation for the anamorphosis to be corrected. Then-curator Christopher Brown dismissed the need for any corrective to the box. Michael A. B. Deakin to The National Gallery Director, May 5, 1981, National Gallery Dossier NG3832, The National Gallery, London; Christopher Brown to Mr. Deakin, June 19, 1981, National Gallery Dossier NG3832, The National Gallery, London.

  35. 35. Van Hoogstraten only mentions them in a sort of apophasis, saying that he will skip over explaining how one can correct distorted images in various kinds of mirrors (see note 4). Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 274.

  36. 36. Sven Dupré, “How-To Optics,” in Perspective as Practice: Renaissance Cultures of Optics, ed. Sven Dupré (Turnhout: Brepols, 2019), 291.

  37. 37. Woodall has a more in-depth discussion of the primacy of love in the artist’s motivations. Woodall, “Love is in the Air,” 235–37.

  38. 38. Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 345.

  39. 39. Woodall argues a tertiary identification as Poetry. Woodall, “Love is in the Air,” 214.

  40. 40. “de natuur in hare eigenschappen.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 11–12.

  41. 41. Woodall asserts that this panel represents an artist working uit den geest on the basis of the allegorical figure, with the panel being representative of history painting. However, her identification of the figure as Natura complicates such a reading, as working after nature or ad naturam is often defined in opposition to working uit den geest. Woodall, “Love is in the Air,” 212–14, 228, 236–37n13; ad naturam was itself a concept closely aligned with ad vivum and naar het leven. See Claudia Swan, “Ad Vivum, Naer Het Leven, from the Life: Defining a Mode of Representation,” Word & Image 11/4 (1995): 362–63.

  42. 42. Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 325; Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 252–56; Hans-Jörg Czech, Im Geleit der Musen: Studien zu Samuel van Hoogstratens Malereitraktat Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst: anders de zichtbaere werelt (Münster: Waxmann, 2002), 362–63; Weststeijn, Visible World, 253; Koslow, “Wonderlijke,” 45–46.

  43. 43. The celestial globe above the head is also an attribute of Fortune, the subject of the Eighth Book of the Inleyding, but here she lacks her cornucopia or additional attributes that would indicate positive or negative Fortune. The figure is iconographically potent but purposefully ambiguous, suggesting some amalgamation of Urania, Natura, Fortune, and Poetry. Cesare Ripa, Dirck Pers, and Giovanni Zaratino Castellini, Iconologia, of Uytbeeldingen Des Verstands . . . Met. . . De Uytnemende Verbeteringe Van G. Zaratino Castellini . . . (Amsterdam: D. P. Pers 1644), 131.

  44. 44. Brusati and others have noted that the bestowal of the gold chain is a reference to van Hoogstraten’s own gold chain, given to him by Emperor Ferdinand III. Van Hoogstraten appears to have valued the honors of the court more than courtly patronage itself, and he used his honors as a way to increase the value of his works outside of the courtly context. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 54–55; Brusati, “Capitalizing on the Counterfeit: Trompe L’Oeil Negotiations,” in Still-Life Paintings from the Netherlands, 1550–1720, ed. Alan W. Chong and Wouter Kloek (Zwolle: Waanders, 1999), 59–71.

  45. 45. A number of light yellow-green daubs of paint are visible at the top right of the picture, which could either suggest a still life of grapes—Zeuxis’s grapes must have never been far from van Hoogstraten’s mind—or foliage in a landscape. Given Van Hoogstraten’s own penchant for trompe l’oeil and his success in attaining glory (and a gold chain) through it, a grape still life reading is tempting. Immediately above and to the right of the painter one can very faintly see wispy white strokes which may have been preparatory for something to be placed in front of him, but they are too faint and sketchy to make any substantial claims.

  46. 46. Koslow, “Wonderlijke,” 46.

  47. 47. However, he does seem to be holding what may be a palette. In any case, the painting appears largely finished.

  48. 48. Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 345–61; Clotilde Brière-Misme pointed out the relation of the outer panels to these chapters in the Inleyding in “Deux ‘boites à perspective’ hollandaises du XVIIe siècle,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 1 (1925): 160–61.

  49. 49. Woodall also discusses the primacy of love in the artist’s motivations. Woodall, “Love is in the Air,” 235–37.

  50. 50. Van Hoogstraten dedicated three pages to the discussion of hair in his Inleyding, but he says nothing about how hair might reflect age or experience; 144–47. Though not discussed by van Hoogstraten, unkempt hair could also signify artistic inspiration.

  51. 51. Joyce Plesters in Brown, Bomford et al., “Samuel van Hoogstraten: Perspective and Painting,” 83.

  52. 52. Colenbrander, “A Pledge of Marital Domestic Bliss,” 148–49; Jan Blanc, Peindre et penser la peinture au XVIIe siècle: la théorie de l’art de Samuel van Hoogstraten (Bern: Peter Lang, 2008), 24–25.

  53. 53. “Heeft hy laten maken van koper een heymelijcke Camer onder zijn Sale onder d’aerde, waer in hy zijn Dochter met de Voester liet besluyten . . . op datse niet soude van yemandt worden bevrucht.” Van Mander notes that some say she was put in a tower. Wtlegghingh op den metamorphosis Pub. Ouidij Nasonis . . . (Haarlem: Paschier van Westbusch, 1604), 37v.

  54. 54. Emphasis added. “ . . . besloot hy de Moeder met het kindt . . . in een houtten kist, dicht en wel besloten,” Van Mander, Wtlegghingh op den metamorphosis, 38r.–40v.

  55. 55. Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 213, 319n64; Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 122–23.

  56. 56. “ . . . open ons de binnekameren, daer de Hofjufferen zich ten dans bereyden, of in haer sierlijke bedkameren van liefde zuchten.” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 123; Brusati, Artifice and Illusion, 240.

  57. 57. Thijs Weststeijn, “Between Mind and Body: Painting the Inner Movements According to Samuel van Hoogstraten and Franciscus Junius,” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 60 (2010): 261, 265.

  58. 58. Weststeijn, “Between Mind and Body,” 262–63; Weststeijn, Visible World, 182–83.

  59. 59. Van Hoogstraten’s chosen word for passion was hartstocht, literally a movement of the heart. Weststeijn, Visible World, 172–73.

  60. 60. Arnold Houbraken, De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (‘s Gravenhage: J. Swart, C. Boucquet, en M. Gaillard, 1753), 2:157–58.

  61. 61. On both orbs the text is truncated and nearly illegible, having been obscured with hatching. On the Invisible World orb, one can only make out “Onzic[htbare] [We]rel[d].” Neither orb is labeled in the preparatory study for the print, in the collection of the Huis van Gijn, Dordrecht, inv. 1641. For more on the self-portrait, see Czech, Im Geleit, 367–75.

  62. 62. “Zy schept vermaek in’t geen vermindert of vermeert: / Verdonkert en verklaert: ontluikt of raekt aen’t zwichten;” Van Hoogstraten, Inleyding, 243; this passage discussed in Celeste Brusati, “Looking at Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Dogs in Perspective,” in Liber amicorum Marijke de Kinkelder: collegiale bijdragen over landschappen, marines en architectuur, ed. Dumas et al. (Zwolle: Waanders, 2013), 52, 61, 66.

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