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Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger, The Interior of a Gothic Church looking East

Key facts
Full title The Interior of a Gothic Church looking East
Artist Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger
Artist dates active by 1604; died 1649
Date made after 1609
Medium and support Oil on copper
Dimensions 10.5 × 15.3 cm
Acquisition credit Sir Claude Phillips Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG4040
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Interior of a Gothic Church looking East
Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger

This view of the interior of a Gothic church is painted from a relatively low viewpoint, making it feel like we are stood in the main aisle – a boy nearby has even noticed us. The artist has created the illusion that we are looking into a vast space: the receding parallel lines of the floor and architecture draw the eye down the nave towards the choir. This is most likely an imaginary church, and similar views with minor variations appear in several paintings by the same artist (for example in the National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen).

Other painters frequently added the figures in van Steenwyck’s compositions, but here the visitors in the right foreground are probably by the artist himself. The elegantly dressed man and the two women holding hands might be taking part in a wedding ceremony. The gravestone in the foreground bears the date 1609, possibly the date the picture was painted.

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