In a majestic forecourt of a palace an company of guards receive two soldiers on the stairs to the left. Two figures with exotic headdresses, a turban and a Chinese hat, look down on the scene from the marble balustrade above. The fanciful architecture of the palace, inventively combining Renaissance motifs, such as the grotesque reliefs and the sculpted fruit garlands, is minutely rendered and possesses the glossy finish typical of Dirck van Delen’s earlier works. With its date of 1626, the present picture is, indeed, one of the earliest know paintings by the artist.
Active in the city of Arnemuiden near Middelburg, Dirck van Delen specialised in these highly polished renditions of imaginary architectural scenes and, very much in the practice of the day, he joined forces with various figure painters to populate his grand interiors. He was among the most formidable architectural painters of the seventeenth century Netherlands.