History of Art and Architecture

Saskia Beranek Colloquium


Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

‘Et in Batavia Ego’: Pastoral, Portraiture and Palaces in the United Provinces

Saskia Beranek, PhD Candidate, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

In the 1630s, the most prominent aristocrats in the United Provinces, Frederik Hendrik and Amalia van Solms, commissioned a series of paintings from the Italian play Il Pastor Fido for Amalia’s private rooms in their new palace of Honselaarsdijk.  Though the palace itself no longer exists, extensive documentation of both the design of the palace and its decoration survive.  Previously, it has been suggested that these scenes contained a portrait of their patron.    This paper furthers this hypothesis through a consideration not only of the iconography and political allegory of the cycle, but also through an examination of how portraits became an active element within elite spaces in the early modern period.  Using two other examples of site specific allegorized portraiture of the same patron, this paper not only explores the artistic policies of a significant female patron, but also raises issues about the interaction of architectural spaces and their decoration and the dynamic and flexible power of the portrait.