The Tomb of Admiral Jacob Van Wassenaer in the Choir of the Jacobskerk
37 in. x 28 in. (94 cm. x 71.1 cm.)
Northern Europe, Dutch
Medium and Support
oil on canvas
Museum Purchase, Florence C. Quinby Fund, in memory of Henry Cole Quinby, Honorary Degree, 1916
In mid-seventeenth-century Delft, Hendrick Cornelisz. van Vliet was one of several painters who specialized in illusionistic renderings of the interiors of the city’s two great Gothic churches. In addition to the scrupulous investigation of the visual qualities of light and space, these views were also expressions of the pleasure of observation and national pride, drawing attention to the memorials of the heroes in Holland’s recent struggle with Spain. The figures in the composition serve as more than mere markers of scale, bringing life to this representation of the church, which served as one of the city’s important civic centers. The remarkable trompe l’oeil curtain in the far-right foreground cleverly plays with notions of surface and illusion and serves as a transition between the space of the viewer and the deep architectural volume of the interior.