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Reinier Vinkeles

(1741–1816, Amsterdam)

Afbeelding der Teeken Academie (The Amsterdam Drawing Academy). Etching and engraving. 34.8 x 39.3 cm. 1768. F. Muller, De Nederlandse geschiedenis in platen..., Amsterdam 1863–82, vol. II, p. 207, no. 4195A. Watermark: Dovecote.

This spirited and accurately observed depiction shows the interior of the Amsterdam Drawing Academy in 1764. Lessons took place in a dark attic above the recreation rooms of the Corps de Garde in Leidsepoort in Amsterdam. The sparse, poorly furnished room is lit by a single hanging lamp and in the gloomy ambience it is possible to pick out numerous drawing students and dilettantes, who are drawing after a nude male model. The whole is treated in a vibrant, accurate etching technique which radiates atmosphere and a great deal of local colour. Vinkeles gives the viewer a realistic and detailed picture of what a drawing academy looked like in the Age of Enlightenment. In December 1767 the Academy moved to worthier premises in the Town Hall on Dam.

The engraver, Reinier Vinkeles, was born in Amsterdam and trained in Paris under none other than J. Ph. Lebas. He was obviously a local patriot, as he turned down Catharine II’s offer of an appointment in St. Petersburg and spent his entire artistic life in Amsterdam, where he produced an extensive printed oeuvre. A very fine, contrasting impression with margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in perfect condition.

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