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Emanuel de Witte, The Interior of the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

Key facts
Full title The Interior of the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, during a Sermon
Artist Emanuel de Witte
Artist dates 1615/17 - 1691/2
Date made about 1660
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 79.1 × 63.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by the Misses Rachel F. and Jean I. Alexander; entered the Collection, 1972
Inventory number NG6402
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Interior of the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam
Emanuel de Witte

Bathed in an atmospheric light that is characteristic of de Witte, even the dog in the foreground seems to be listening to the preacher on the pulpit. The city of Amsterdam employed people to keep dogs out of churches, but judging from how common they are in seventeenth-century paintings of church interiors, this was not always successful.

Light is also a key feature of the stained glass in the lower row of windows. The scene on the bottom half shows the Four Evangelists – Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – seated around a table with their attributes. An angel approaches them; above its wings, clouds open to reveal a heavenly golden glow that is enhanced by the natural light coming through the window.

The small organ mounted on the wall to the right of the stained glass was in reality placed on the other side of the nave of the Oude Kerk, but de Witte has included it here to make the view more interesting.

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