Historien schilderIn the hierarchy of the different skills and specialisms for 17th century painters, the HISTORIEN SCHILDER (history painter) had to combine all possible categories, like portraits, single and multiple figures, still lifes, animals, nudes, interiors, exteriors and also landscapes into his works of art. That is why the history painter was considered the highest in rank amongst his colleagues, who usually were focussing on just one or two specialisms. Next to his all round technical skills and widespread visual and narrative imagination, a history painter was considered to be just as much a true craftsman as a studied scholar. Apart from extensive knowledge of the important scriptures of not only the Bible, Greek and Roman mythology, ancient and current historical events, he was also expected to be aware of military, noble, royal and religious hierarchies and decorum, geology, geography, philosophy, poetica, music etc. Just as much as he was considered to have studied the great works of art produced by generations of important history painters before him. This rather humble but obligatory awareness of the grand tradition was fully in line with the aims of IMITATIO, which, of course when strengthened with sufficient innovative artistic ambition, could and should lead to AEMULATIO: surpassing the great masters of the past.

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