Reclaiming the 'Ancient Luster' of Painting: Pieter de Grebber's Regulen and Haarlem Classicism
Wheelock, Jr., Arthur K.
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A single specimen survives of Pieter de Grebber's 1649 Regulen, or "Rules to be observed and followed by a good Painter and Draughtsman." Though infrequently discussed, I argue that De Grebber's Regulen manifest a lofty, patriotic vision for the art of painting. First, I demonstrate that the iconography of the printed broadsheet announces history painting as a way to honor important patrons, glorify the Dutch Republic, and elevate painting to a liberal art. Next, I relate the Regulen to the recently reformed Haarlem Guild of St. Luke, which established a hierarchy of professions according to universal principles of beauty. Finally, I use the Regulen to show that the Haarlem classicists paired theory with drawing from life. Guidelines like De Grebber's Regulen appealed to the Haarlem classicists as they strove to adapt the classical mode of painting to contemporary tastes and concerns.