Pieter Neeffs the Elder An Evening Service in a Church


Pieter Neeffs

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Pieter Neeffs the Elder and Bonaventura Peeters the Elder

An Evening Service in a Church

Miniature print 9 1/4×5 1/4 inches

Reproduction of original print

Artist bio and Art description- Pieter Neeffs the Elder was one of a number of artists working Antwerp during the seventeenth centery who specialized in painting church interiors. Hendrick van Steenwyck and his son, also Hendrick, painted church interiors as did Pieter Neeff’s own son. He too was called Pieter and their work is hard to differentiate. Both these families of painters based their markedly linear styles on the architectural engravings of Hans Vredeman de Vries, an Antwerp artist whose influential treatise on perspective was published in 1602. Hendrick van Steenwyck the Elder has been a pupil of Vries and his paintings are often little more than coloured versions of his master’s engravings. Pieter Neeffs was probably in his turn a pupil of Steenwyck, whose style he refined and developed while retaining its basic linearity.

The painter’s skill in rendering perspective recession is still the single most important feature of his work but, as here, he is also concerned with the play of shadows softening the outlines of the architectural elements and mottling the surfaces of the walls. The figures in the paintings are by Peeters the Elder, who is best known for his marine paintings but who also frequently collaborated with Neefs. The church has not been identified and may well be imaginary, though based on the great gothic churches of Antwerp and, in particular, on the cathedral.

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