Emmanuel de Witte

Interior of a Church

Interior of a Church
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Emmanuel de Witte
Interiors, Painting, Oil on canvas, 80x66 cm
Origin: Holland, 1685

De Witte created his best church interiors in Amsterdam, where this Dutch master of architectural painting spent the last 40 years of his life. He tended to avoid the precise fixation of a particular architectural ensemble and here he combined the Amsterdam Nieuwe and Oude churches in this typical view of a representative, generalised church interior.

Beneath the vast Gothic vaults the Protestant parishioners are listening to a sermon. Deep in shadow, the seated figures before the pulpit seem to melt into a single mass. A stream of pure sunlight falls through the simple glazing of the windows, creating a disturbing play of bright dappled areas and gloomy shadow, which some seems to make the architectural forms more massive and tense.

Colour is used to emphasize this heightened emotion: the overall sandy-yellow tone with pinkish nuances sets of the majestically resonant black of the wings of the open organ.

Source of entry: Collection of Francois Tronchin, Geneva, 1770
Theme: History
Exibition: Dutch art: 17th century

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