Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts (active from c. 1657-after 1683), Trompe l'oeil med en brevvæg med Frederik III's proklamation

Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts (active from c. 1657 after 1683),Trompe l'oeil of a Letter Rack with Proclamation by Frederik III, 1672. Oil on canvas. 145.5 x 183 cm. KMS1901.
Download the image in high resolution|Public Domain

Envelopes were not used in the seventeenth century; instead, letters were folded up and sealed with red wax and a signet. This letter rack holds many letters, opened and unopened, as well as wax sticks marked by soot from being heated over a candle. There is also a vanity case, a large purse, combs, writing implements, sheet music, a pair of scissors and much more.

A special memorial
In the middle hangs a large document: a proclamation bearing the calligraphic headline “….Tertius Dei Gratia ….”, the Latin introduction used for proclamations during the reign of Frederik III. Given that Frederik III died two years before the painting was created, its proclamation offers a kind of memorial to the late king, who appointed the Flemish artist Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts as court painter in 1668.

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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