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Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder, 'The Interior of a Gothic Church looking East', 1615

Key facts
Full title The Interior of a Gothic Church looking East
Artist Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder
Artist dates active by 1604; died 1649; 1568 - 1625
Date made 1615
Medium and support Oil on copper
Dimensions 25.6 × 40.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Henry Callcott Brunning, 1907
Inventory number NG2204
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Interior of a Gothic Church looking East
Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder

Although this picture shows an imagined interior rather than a real church, it is highly detailed. The lead of the windowpanes is visible, and the subjects of some of the paintings that hang on the pillars can be identified (on the closest pillar on the left, Christ is depicted with the woman of Samaria).

Steenwyck has created a view down the nave towards the high altar at the eastern end. Mass is being led by a priest at one of the altars in the centre of the nave. On the right, a group enters the church for a baptism, while a funeral procession is visible in the background. A poor family appears in the lower left, the children asking other churchgoers for support. One wealthy woman clutches her daughter’s shoulders and tries to move away from the beggar boy, as if he is dangerous or contagious. Steenwyck’s depiction would have reflected attitudes held by many of his privileged patrons.

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