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Gerrit Berckheyde, The Interior of the Grote Kerk, Haarlem

Key facts
Full title The Interior of the Grote Kerk, Haarlem
Artist Gerrit Berckheyde
Artist dates 1638 - 1698
Date made 1673
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 60.8 × 84.9 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1895
Inventory number NG1451
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Interior of the Grote Kerk, Haarlem
Gerrit Berckheyde

Haarlem’s Grote Kerk is filled with people, though they are dwarfed by the architecture of the church. Gerrit Berckheyde painted the exterior of Haarlem’s most important church many times, but interior scenes of the same building by his hand are much rarer.

With a few exceptions, the vast congregation listens attentively to the preacher at the pulpit, whose gesture is repeated in that of the painted Christ barely visible on the open organ shutter high above the church’s choir. Similarly, a man in the left foreground lifts his finger to two children, seemingly telling them off for something they've just done. They are likely orphans – Berckheyde has positioned them next to the alms chest, where people could donate money to the orphanage.

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