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'Veele huyskens daer De Retoryck op was': Stellages van rederijkerskamers bij Blijde Inkomsten

W.M.H. Hummelen
Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek (NKJ) / Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art
Vol. 49, HOF-, STAATS- EN STADSCEREMONIES / COURT, STATE AND CITY CEREMONIES (1998), pp. 94-127
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43888672
Page Count: 34
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Abstract

This article deals with a small number of the illustrations for 16th century accounts of Triumphal Entries in the Netherlands. It concerns illustrations of stages and tableaux vivants of which it is certain that they were done by one or more of the local chambers of Rhetoric. Firstly, these illustrations are a welcome addition to the sparse pictorial information concerning the tableaux vivants, which appeared frequently in the Rhetoricians' plays. Besides that, it is plausible beforehand that the Rhetoricians would use their own stages where they could for showing their tableaux vivants, and a Triumphal Entry would be no exception. Information about the Rhetoricians' stages could be derived from the illustrations in the aforementioned descriptions. The study of the Rhetoricians' stages at the entries of Philip II and the duke of Anjou into Antwerp (in 1556 and 1582 respectively) proves most rewarding. Contrary to other institutions, the Rhetoricians' maintained their preferance for Old Testament subject matter for their tableaux, using stage-properties common to their other performances (a bed, a prison door) and typical stage-subjects, such as the meeting of the "Daughters of God". Furthermore, there is information available about the scale on which the stages were rendered. With the help of this information, the size of each stage and its parts can be determined more accurately then ever before. It also shows how the stages were pompously readjusted for the occasion, especially in height. We come away none the wiser from the Rhetoricians' stages at the entries of the Prince of Orange into Brussels in 1577, and of the duke of Anjou into Ghent in 1582. This is presumably caused by the fact that the coordination of the entire entry was in the hands of one person (J. B. Houwaert and Lucas d'Heere respectively). The use of their own stages in Brussels was precluded, since Houwaert came up with the idea to put each stage crosswise on a barge, although he did maintain the Old Testament subject matter and the use of a prison door. In Ghent, the tradition of the four chambers performing two tableaux together was upheld, with one allegorical tableau and the other one not only dealing with Old Testament subject matter, but also, since D'Heere was a painter, supporting a sizable painted background, which was just coming into fashion. Finally, the contribution of the Brussels chamber Her Mariacransken to duke Ernst of Austria's entry in 1596 proved very informative, not so much because of the (allegorical) subject of the tableau vivant, but because of the character of the stage, which was apparently not designed for this tableau, but for the chamber's theatrical performances. It is a two-storied arcade screen, against which a pavilion which is doubled in height has been drawn up, covering the central compartment openings, at the top and at the bottom of the screen. The lower pavilion is used as a throne compartment, the upper one is empy, except for a candle crown (a symbol of an interior space). In comparison with this, the contributions of the other two chambers (representing the mountains Parnassus and Etna) are not very interesting.

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