About this artwork

This large painting shows the airy interior of an imaginary palace or public space that leads out to an elaborate garden in the distance. The scene is dominated by the enormous barrel vault that runs from the foreground to the garden; while the geometric pattern of paving stones helps create the effect of depth and perspective. The figures, dwarfed by the massive columns and vaults, consist of both wealthy people dressed in fashionable Dutch costumes, as well as servants and beggars. Although Houckgeest painted this early in his career, it demonstrates his mastery of chiaroscuro and sophisticated use of shadows. This evokes a real sense of depth and atmosphere and brings the fantastic structure to life.

  • title:
    An Architectural Fantasy with Figures
  • accession number:
    NG 46
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    Dated 1638
  • measurements:
    131.10 x 152.00 cm (framed: 159.50 x 181.00 x 11.20 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased by the RI 1830; transferred 1859
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Gerrit Houckgeest

Gerrit Houckgeest