Today we move to the beautiful Netherlands. This painting shows the interior of the Buurkerk church in Utrecht. There were several Dutch artists at the time who specialized in painting church interiors, but Pieter Jansz. Saenredam was especially innovative. He exaggerated the effect: here, he stretched the height of the columns to create a sublime feeling that allows sunlight to flood the building. This light is particularly magical; by looking for its source – the window in the middle of the composition, we have a feeling as if we are standing in the middle of this church. A few years before Sunridam painted it, the church was transformed into a new, austere Protestant aesthetic. The once colourful walls were painted white and the altar was removed.
But look what’s going on on the right… There’s a boy, playing with his dog, and the other is doing graffiti on the wall! Next to him, we see graffiti of a horse with four riders, possibly a reference to the story of the four sons of the Duke of Ammon who escaped from Charlemagne. Some art historians believe this may be a metaphor for growth. Other art historians believe that the composition was added to the painting by another artist working with Sunridam, or long after the artist’s death. Very mysterious!
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PS The genre inside the church is just one of the quirks of the Dutch Golden Age , an artistically rich historical period with its glorious and dark sides.
60.1 × 50.1 cm
Dutch Golden Age Paintings
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