This painting fits comfortably into the tradition of 17th century Dutch architectural painting representing the fantastical interiors of fine palaces, a genre which Van Delen made his own.

However, the apparent simplicity of this scene is purely superficial. The size of the two large pillars which taper towards the top is implausible. The way in which the different spaces fit together with the suggestion that other unknown spaces exist conveyed by details such as the open door on the extreme left and emphasized by the interplay of light and shade is extremely complex.

The cracks in the upper part of the central column are perhaps simply designed to demonstrate the artist’s virtuosity, but are more probably intended to give the scene the appearance of a vanitas. The rather unsculptural pose of the triton and siren holding the cartouche are also of note.

A. R.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

It is also possible to download around 12,000 images of the museum’s works free of charge.

Access the Museums of the City of Paris collections portal
Autre base documentaire

Extern databases

Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum.