STEENWYCK, Hendrick van the Younger
(b. ca. 1580, Antwerpen, d. 1649, Leiden)

Interior of a Gothic Church

1610s
Oil on copper, 26 x 34 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Architectural painting developed into a special genre in Flemish painting. It was originated in the sixteenth century, in the illustrated treatises on architecture and perspective by Hans Vredeman de Vries. His famous pattern books were influential throughout northern Europe. In Antwerp painting of the first half of the seventeenth century church interiors were a popular subject. For these paintings Vredeman de Vries's books on perspective and his paintings were the point of departure. This is particularly obvious in the work of Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger whose father Hendrick the Elder had in fact been a pupil of Vredeman de Vries.

Hendrick the Younger's mostly imaginary church interiors appeal by their extremely tactile qualities and their bold contrasting light effects, sometimes in nocturnes.