Pieter Neefs the Elder
Interior of the Sint Joriskerk in Antwerp
Oil on canvas (relined). 50 x 64.5 cm.
Signed on the arch above the first column on the left handside: PEETER NEEffS.
This mid-format piece depicts the interior of the former Sint Joriskerk (St. George's Church) in Antwerp, which was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1799. In the 19th century, a new church was constructed where it once stood in the Neo Gothic style, under the supervision of the architect Leon Suys. Due to these circumstances, the present depiction represents an important document of the church's architectural history.
The artist has depicted the interior of the building from a slightly raised position slightly to the right to enable a view of the entire nave as well as partial views of both aisles. Several groups of figures wander through the brightly lit basilica, forming a scale for the dimensions of the architecture. The choir at the end of the nave is separated from the rest of the church by a rood screen. The warm sunlight filtering through the tracery of the windows accentuates the vaulting of the ceiling and lends the piece its atmospheric appeal.
The present work featured in the exhibition "Divine Interiors - Experience churches in the age of Rubens" that took place from 17th June to 16th October 2016 in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp.
Sotheby's Amsterdam, 01.12.2009, lot 28. - Private collection, Germany.