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Renaissance Art

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Interior of a Gothic Church

21 3/4 x 28 in. (55.2 x 71.1 cm)

Paul Vredeman de Vries
Flanders (ca. 1567 - after 1630)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on panel
Credit Line: Gift of Constance Aquavella
Accession Number: 1998.19
Location: Currently on view
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Paul Vredeman de Vries' "Interior of a Gothic Church" is a remarkable example of early architectural painting, a genre that was an integral response of 16th and 17th century Flemish painters to Italian Renaissance art and architecture. The artist was trained by and worked with his father, Hans Vredeman de Vries, the author of "Scenographiae, sive perspectiva" (1560). This influential treatise served as pattern-book for architectural painters and introduced two of their most common subjects: the palace court with views through arcades and archways, and the extended view down the center of an imaginary church.

In this painting, Paul Vredeman de Vries' use of linear perspective, tonal rather than bright colors, and realistic effects of light and atmosphere give the viewer the sensation of being in the interior of the church rather than seeing it from a distance. His meticulous attention to details such as the painted altarpiece on the left, the open doorways on the right and left, and the baptismal font in the center suggest that he has painted the interior of an actual rather than imaginary church. He does, however, make at least one step into the imaginary: he has embedded his signature in the tombstone at the far left of the painting and the date in the tombstone left of center.

[Gallery label text, 2000]

An inscription in white [chalk or paint?] has been rubbed out on the back of the panel and is now illegible; a circular label with pinked edges has been painted over in black paint and is now illegible.

Clifford Duits, London (dealer), 1960; sale, Christie's, London, April 9, 1965 (under "different properties") as lot 106; bought at that sale by [ ] Betts; Mortimer Brandt, London and New York (dealer); probably bought from them by James V. and Constance Aquavella, Rochester, NY, January 1970; gift of Constance Aquavella to the Gallery in 1998

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