The Tomb of Admiral Jacob Van Wassenaer in the Choir of the Jacobskerk
37 in. x 28 in. (94 cm. x 71.1 cm.)
Medium and Support
oil on canvas
Museum Purchase, Florence C. Quinby Fund, in memory of Henry Cole Quinby, Honorary Degree, 1916
Honoring an admiral in the powerful Dutch navy, this painting represents the centuries-long struggle of European nations to control expanding maritime trade routes and new territories around the globe. A Dutch Golden Age painter, Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet’s depicts the memorial to Jacob van Wassanaer van Obdam in the Protestant Jacobskerk in Delft, The Netherlands. The Dutch Republic gained global supremacy through maritime dominance under leaders such as van Wassanaer. He was killed, however, in 1665 when the Dutch suffered a stunning defeat to the English, who then began their rise as a global power. Details of the battle are incorporated into the sculpture. The Italian Renaissance influenced Dutch architecture, but here designers simultaneously embraced traditional Gothic elements, seen in the high vaulting decorated with medieval shields. Van Vliet also introduced a trompe l’oeil innovation, conveyed by the curtain framing the interior that provides not only depth but also creates a dramatic point of access for the viewer.
church interior; figures contemplating conopied tomb; green curtain at right
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