Impeccable Taste: Seventeenth-Century Ornamental Design in Print
Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 to Sunday, Dec 22, 2019
If you were going to buy a piece of furniture or jewelry, how would you decide which one to buy? Would you buy the least expensive? The most decorated or ornamented? Or would you pick the one that showed your neighbors and friends that you could afford the best and that you had “impeccable taste?” The seventeenth century saw a remarkable flourishing of printed designs, which served both to promote the designers’ work and disseminate tastes to various audiences. With the expansion and success of the Dutch economy in this period, buyers of art and luxury included newly rich traders and others involved in commerce. They sought means to announce their success and newly acquired status in the same way that the church, royalty, and the nobility had shown power and wealth through lavish architecture, furniture, clothing, jewelry, and other items. The designs shown in this exhibition were used by artisans to build ornamental furniture, create fine jewelry, and add flourish to leather and other materials. This exhibition features designs from two artists. Paul Vredeman de Vries was part of a family of designers; his 1630 catalogue included his own original designs and those of his father, Hans. Christian Engelbrecht’s engraved designs, after work by jeweler Friedrich Jacob Morisson, were used by artisans to make jewelry as well as to ornament woodwork, fabrics, armor, leather, or other materials.