Imagined Interiors

Taking  reference from history: Domestic interior since renaissance


From across all mediums and social media images, descriptions and discussions of domestic interior world surrounds me, In TV’s, Magazines, trade shows and on internet. Usually  it’s a human reaction to desire  images of  our real or ideal interiors. There is a extraordinary fascination about home, its appearance, function and identity in  mostly everyone’s mind coming across from any part of life and world. Given such interest in interiors  I  wanted to seek some understanding about the meanings and kind of images/ artworks of domestic interior across broad historical span majorly in western part of the art world. For example , during Italian renaissance , domestic details provide, a context for religious scenes, which were more symbolic than actual like in the painting “The Annunciation of St Emidius” and “Filippo Lippi, Virgin and Child”, 1452.

I have always believed that Interiors does not only refer to the physical look, also can refer to the interior of a country or to the interior of a human mind/psyche.

The inside of a house, apartment or other dwelling defines itself in relation to or even, in opposition to the outside, to the surrounding environment whether urban or rural and to a social, political and economic context.

Histories of the home, of course, has existed for a while in the area of analysis of style, and style was central to fine and decorative arts history for most part of the history. And all representation of domestic interiors appears complex and coded with meanings, with visual and material representations, from frescos to miniature, oil paintings and prints to illustrations, furniture, dolls, houses, architectural designs and plans, portraits, exhibitions, photographs, films, social media etc. There is vast range of collection of sources.

The depictions of domestic interior in western world, are radically affected by for Greek and roman culture, particularly influencing theoretical debates and architecture and classical texts as well.

I related to the works and elements of the interior that are rendered with amazing fidelity in 17th century Dutch Paintings, particularly where artist has included the most up to date fashionable objects that had just come onto the market. However, the overall composition is an imaginative construction that actually deviates from the physical reality of the home.

Example; the home that Janssens Elinga paintings describes is pristine in its cleanliness and its pure geometry created by interlocking cubic forms rooms, the rectangular shapes of the windows, the paintings  shows the myth that such Dutch homes were tranquil, light filled and extremely clean spaces, everything is spotless and gleaming.


Reading about the interior changes since 16th century to today, with the growth in the number of consumer goods available in the global market and improved communication and transport. In addition there has also been a prompt increase in written and published documents about the interiors due to development of literature, newspaper and magazines. The private consumption of prints further helped to develop domestic space as one in which representations of different kinds played  important role in the historical distant pastas well as the geographically distant present, fuelled by the recovery of remains of past civilization. This outward vision was balanced by a growing interest in the interior as a focus for female pursuits and, above all, a place of psychological inferiority.