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Pieter Neeffs the Elder and Bonaventura Peeters the Elder, An Evening Service in a Church

Key facts
Full title An Evening Service in a Church
Artist Pieter Neeffs the Elder and Bonaventura Peeters the Elder
Artist dates active 1605 - 1656/61; 1614 - 1652
Date made 1649
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 26.8 × 38.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Henry Callcott Brunning, 1907
Inventory number NG2206
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
An Evening Service in a Church
Pieter Neeffs the Elder and Bonaventura Peeters the Elder

Pieter Neeffs painted this nocturnal church interior, but it was another Antwerp artist, Bonaventura Peeters, who did the many figures. Only Neeffs signed the picture, however, followed by the year it was painted (1649). The painting, which depicts a chapel during Mass, is a more elaborate version of another work made in Neeff’s studio, which is also in the National Gallery’s collection: View of a Chapel at Evening.

Here, a piece of fabric with a red cross partially covers an altarpiece that forms the backdrop for Mass. The priest faces the altar, on which a carved crucifix and two tall candles stand. The altar boys kneeling to the sides hold long tapers, used to light the candles. Many have gathered to hear the service, and kneel in contemplation; some read prayer books or Bibles. The light coming from the chapel allows a view beyond it and into the dark church.

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