Egbert Lievensz van der Poel - Plunderers in a Burning Village
Egbert Lievensz van der Poel
Plunderers in a Burning Village
Oil on panel. 49 x 37.5 cm.
Signed and dated lower right: E van der Poel 1662.
The 12th October 1654 was to mark a turning point in Egbert van der Poel's life, that also had a profound effect on his work as a painter. On this day, over 100 people died when Delft's gunpowder store exploded. Thousands were injured and van der Poel's daughter was among the dead. Until then, the artist had primarily been known for his depictions of rustic interiors, farmsteads and winter landscapes, but after the accident, he became the pictorial chronicler of disaster.
Van der Poel moved to Rotterdam, where he painted various scenes of invented catastrophes. In the last years of his life he primarily painted fires at night, such as the present work in which we see the plundering of a village in the light of a burning church. He uses fine but expressive yellow, orange, red and brown washes used to depict the roaring flames as they light up the night sky and the bathe the scene of plunder in an eerie glow. One can almost feel the heat of the flames looming over the plunderers, villagers and cattle.
Christie's London, 10.3.1950, lot 34. - Dorotheum Vienna, 22.3.2001, lot 122. - Private collection, Rhineland.
Exhib.-cat. "Krieg verzehrt, Friede ernährt", Neuss, Clemens-Sels-Museum, 23.5.-18.8.2002, p. 31 (illus.). - Otto von Bylandt-Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Städtischen Museums Schloß Rheydt: Rheydter Jahrbuch, Sonderdruck zur Ausstellung "Aus Wohnzimmer und Sammelmappen", vol. 26, Rheydt 2002, p. 129-130 (illus.). - Exhib.-cat."Lichtgefüge - Das Licht im Zeitalter von Rembrandt und Vermeer.", Kassel, Museum Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, 18.11.2011-26.2.2012, p. 62-63 (illus.).
"Krieg verzehrt, Friede ernährt", Neuss, Clemens-Sels-Museum, 23.5.-18.8.2002. - "Aus Wohnzimmer und Sammelmappen", Rheydt, Städtisches Museum Schloss Rheydt, 2002. - Leihgabe an Gemäldegalerie Kassel, Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, 1.1 2008-31.12.2015. - "Lichtgefüge - Das Licht im Zeitalter von Rembrandt und Vermeer.", Kassel, Museum Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, 18.11.2011-26.2.2012.