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Church Interior with Figures

Born in Alkmaar in northern Holland, Emanuel de Witte lived from 1640 to 1651 in Delft, where he began painting images of church interiors. In 1652 he moved to Amsterdam, possibly to take advantage of the larger market for architectural scenes. Despite de Witte’s
precise architectural rendering, the church depicted in this painting is imaginary. Yet details such as the large crucifix above the altar, the two monks at left, and the wall-mounted sculpture of the Virgin and Child at right identify it as Catholic, which raises questions about the market for this picture. Although Amsterdam was predominantly Protestant, a large Catholic minority in the city may have provided patronage for such imagery.

Emanuel de Witte
Dutch, ca. 1617–1692
Church Interior with Figures
1685
Oil on panel
18 1/8 x 15 in. (46.0 x 38.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 84.21