Drs. ir. Louis van Empelen | The development of the realistic cityscape of the Holy City of Jerusalem 1470-1550 | Open University, Art and cultural sciences | Prof. Dr. Paul van de Akker | 2013-2019 | l.empelen1[at]chello.nl
Has the realism of city portraits of Jerusalem increased over the centuries, how can this be determined and how does this development stem from cultural-historical changes?
The research is about the realistic portraits of Jerusalem by Erhard Reuwich (1486) Jan van Scorel (1527) and Anonymous (Pieter Coecke van Aelst ca 1540?). Realism is defined on the basis of three characteristics: the most important buildings, the urban structure and the perspective of the city. By comparing these characteristics in the image with those in reality, the realism of the image can be determined. This can only be achieved if it is known what Jerusalem looked like ‘in reality’ in the fifteenth and sixteenth century. The appearance of the city during this period is well documented: there are many descriptions of pilgrims and (building) historians. Therefor the city is ideally suited for a reconstruction.
The monumental buildings and the structure of Jerusalem did not change much until the end of the nineteenth century. The relatively slight changes that did occur can be traced by the literature on the building history of the city. Therefor early photographs can be used for a visual impression and analyses.
The influence of previous city portraits, the changing technology (a.o. perspective) and functions and the cultural-historical context on the development of the cityscapes of Erhard Reuwich, Jan van Scorel, and Anonymous is an important part of the research. The importance of these cityscapes is underlined by the large number of copies and imitations which were made over the centuries.