Interior of the Church of St Bavo in Haarlem, Looking West

Job Adriaenszoon Berckheyde1668

Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hals Museum
Haarlem, Netherlands

The interior of the Church of St Bavo in the Great Market in Haarlem, looking west. Berckheyde stood in the first bay of the choir, to the right of the centre. St Bavo is a mainly fifteenth-century church and is also known, with good reason, as the Great Church: the choir is forty-five metres long, longer than that of famous French cathedrals like Rheims and Amiens.
At the end of the sixteenth century the Catholic Bavo Cathedral fell into Protestant hands. The interior was stripped and the decorations were destroyed. Only a few altarpieces survived, and they are now in the Frans Hals Museum. Among them are St Luke Painting the Madonna and the side panels of the Drapers’ Altar by Maerten van Heemskerck. The white plaster of the interior in Berckheyde’s painting recalls ‘the Protestant whitewash’. In the west window there is a depiction of the Increasing of Arms, a famous legendary tale of the Crusades that was frequently referred to in seventeenth-century Haarlem because of the supposed heroic role of a number of Haarlem men. We do not know whether such a window actually existed. It may have been an addition by the painter himself.
Job Berckheyde, like his brother Gerrit, also painted cityscapes.


  • Title: Interior of the Church of St Bavo in Haarlem, Looking West
  • Creator: Job Adriaensz Berckheyde
  • Date Created: 1668
  • Physical Dimensions: Canvas, 109,5 × 154,5 cm
  • Type: Painting; church interior
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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