Scholar of the Dutch Baroque painting and costume; editor of the Algemeene kunst geschiedenis. Van Thienen attended high school (Gymnasium) in Delft. He studied art history at Utrecht University, where he obtained his doctor’s degree in 1929, under Willem Vogelsang. His dissertation dealt with the history of the costume in Holland between 1600 and 1670, Studien zur Kostümgeschichte der Blütezeit Hollands. After its publication, a broader edition followed in 1930, Das Kostüm der Blütezeit Hollands. Between 1933 and 1938 he held the position of teacher and keeper at the Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. In 1935 he was appointed as research assistant of applied arts at the Hague Gemeentemuseum, where he subsequently became curator in 1938, (until 1943). In that period he published two monographs, one on Vermeer (1939) and one on Pieter de Hoogh (1941), both in the Palet series. In the late 1930s he was among the Dutch art historians who accepted the painting Christ at Emmaus, actually painted by forger Han van Meegeren, as a Vermeer, following the authentication by Abraham Bredius. Assisted by K. G. Boon he became, in 1941, the editor of Algemeene kunstgeschiedenis, a Dutch-language art-history survey (1941-1951). In 1943 he was appointed professor of iconography at the Amsterdam Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten, succeeding Pieter Hendrik van Moerkerken (1877-1951), and subsequently, in 1944, professor of art history. In 1945 he in addition obtained a teaching position at the Amsterdam Theatre School. From 1945 to 1949 he was an editorial board member of the Dutch monthly Apollo, Maandschrift voor literatuur en beeldende kunst. In 1951 he published Het Noord-Nederlands costuum van de Gouden Eeuw. This study was translated in English as The Great Age of Holland, 1600-1660. In 1952 Thienen was elected vice president of the international conference of the history of costume in Venice. In the academic year 1952-1953 he was visiting professor of art history at Groningen University. In 1960 he published an overview of the development of costume in Europe, from the 1100s up to the present (the second edition up to 1967), Acht eeuwen kostuum (The costume during eight centuries). He retired from the Amsterdam Rijksacademie in 1967, succeeded by Jan Nicolas van Wessem. In 1969 he published a two volume study on the history of the European theatre from antiquity to the present day, Het doek gaat op: vijfentwintig eeuwen in en om het Europese theater (25 centuries European theatre).
[Dictionary of art historians]
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- 2 editions - first published in 1968
- 2 editions - first published in 1951
- 1 edition - first published in 1961
- 1 edition - first published in 1949
- 1 edition - first published in 1960
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