Emanuel de Witte specialized in paintings of church interiors and excelled at suggesting space. An eighteenth-century biographer remarked that De Witte was inclined to ‘brag about his geometry’. It is therefore surprising that he seldom applied the rules of central perspective. Initially, De Witte painted colourful church interiors with striking colours. In the 1660s he tempered his palette. This painting, dating from 1668, is one of the best examples of this new period in De Witte's development. The eye-catching colour accent in the foreground is missing and the clear, cool light has changed into a warm and restrained colouring. De Witte manipulated the interior of the church in this painting in an ingenious way. The heavy wooden pillars of the St. Bavo in Haarlem are combined here with the wooden roofing of the Old Church in Amsterdam. The small organ against the northern side aisle is also from there. It will be clear that the church interior cannot claim to be a true representation.


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