A view down a corridor | Samuel van Hoogstraten | 1662
After the death of his father, the artist moved to Amsterdam, where he joined Rembrandt’s school of art, in the middle of the Golden Age of Dutch painting.
In addition to his skill for the painting of interiors, Van Hoogstraten was very interested in art theory, especially in the writings of Leon Battista Alberti, one of the first art theorist of the Renaissance. Such was his interest that he even will write his own theoretical treatise.
His paintings will be based almost exclusively on the laws of perspective. In his city, he was known for his peepshows, rectangular wooden boxes painted inside according the anamorphic perspective where, through a lens, one could see a three-dimensional image, for example, the interior of a house.
A view down a corridor is a canvas the artist painted while he was living in England. The painting takes literally Alberti’s principle which states that works of art should be as convincing as if they were seen through a window. The point of view and the amount of details, confirm that the artist took very seriously Alberti’s ideas.
In the scene, we see the main corridor of the house of Samuel Pepys, a British official, close friend of Van Hoogstraten. The corridor is long and the arches divide three rooms of the house. The elements placed in the foreground (like the broom and the dog), the floor with black and white tiles and the mirror’s reflection in the second room, increase the illusion of three-dimension and the feeling of depth.
Currently, this work is hanged at the end of a corridor in the Museum of Dyrham Park, England.