The 17th-century interior
The layout of the Mauritshuis is strictly symmetrical. Both storeys have the same series of rooms on left and right, starting with an antechamber and continuing through a chamber and a cabinet to a cloakroom. Together they form a so-called ‘apartment’, of which there are four in the Mauritshuis. The apartments are divided by a central hallway, a staircase and – at the back of the house on both floors – a Great Hall.
The Great Hall on the upper floor was the grand finale of a tour of the building. The ceiling of this hall boasted a cupola with a walkway around it, where musicians could sit and play, thus adding a festive note to banquets and celebrations.
The 17th-century interior, including the cupola, was destroyed by fire in 1704. The only evidence we have of its original state is a series of 39 drawings by Pieter Post, which were commissioned by Johan Maurits. They show floor plans, cross-sections, façades and fixed furnishings, giving some idea of the precision with which even the interior was designed.