Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts
Reverse side of a painting, 1670
Oil on canvas, 66.6x86.5 cm
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen
Gijsbrechts' betriegertje is maent to lead the viewer astray by thinking that the ought to turn the picture the right way round. The scrap of paper with the number 36 on it gives the impressionthat this deceptive illusionist painting is actually meant for sale. It is therefore likely thatthe painting was originally put up at a sales exhibition as a practical joke. The saleabilitywhich is associated with the picture probably also explains why it apears so abstract. At first sight, the painting certainly seems modern to today's viewer. However, it is not an abstract painting like Malevich's two-dimensional Suprematist colour configurations. The accurate rendering of the stretching frame and its borders, as well as the canvas, show that the basic intention is totally different: it is meant to emphasize plasticity, thus functioning as a substitute for a real object.