Emanuel de Witte (Dutch, ca. 1616–1692)
Oil on wood
19 x 13 5/8 in. (48.3 x 34.6 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Virgilia and Walter C. Klein, The Walter C. Klein Foundation, Edwin Weisl Jr., and Frank E. Richardson Gifts, and Bequest of Theodore Rousseau and Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, by exchange, 2001 (2001.403)
Like Hendrick van Vliet (1976.23.2), the Delft figure painter Emanuel de Witte turned to the subject of local church interiors in response to pictures that Gerard Houckgeest (ca. 1600–1661) painted in 1650 and 1651. Unlike his older colleagues, De Witte treated architecture primarily in terms of space, light, shadow, and mood. In stressing these intangible qualities, the artist evoked a spiritual environment and anticipated the optical approach of Vermeer.