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Flemish Baroque

Interior of the Cathedral in Antwerp


Interior of the Cathedral in Antwerp 0il/oak, 71,5 x 105 cm

Inv. Nr.G 017, loan from the Sch÷nborn-Buchheim Collection


NEEFS Pieter the Younger

1620 Antwerpen - nach 1675 Antwerpen

´╗┐ NEEFS Pieter the Younger
Son and pupil of Neefs the Elder (1578/85-1656/61). Pieter Neefs the Younger and Hendrick van Steenwijk the Younger (ca 1580 -  by 1649) were two of the most eminent Flemish painters of architecture in the first half of the 17th century. Like Steenwijk the Younger, Neefs the Elder is thought to have studied under Hendrick van Steenwijck the Elder (ca 1550-1603).
Little is known about Pieter Neefs the Younger. He collaborated for many years with his father, which makes it extremely difficult to distinguish between their hands and often resulted in erroneous attributions. Moreover, both signed with the same name and employed the same figure painters: Jan Brueghel (1568-1625), Sebastian Vrancx (1573-1647) or Frans Francken II (1581-1642) painted the staffage figures in the paintings of the father, Frans Francken III (1607- 1667), David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) and Bonaventura Peeters the Younger (1614-1652) supplied figures of varying quality for both the father and the son.
Unlike Neefs the Elder, the son never entered the Antwerp painters' guild.


Interior of the Cathedral in Antwerp
The monumental, seven-nave Cathedral of Antwerp (built between 1352 and 1500) was considered the most beautiful late-Gothic church in the southern Netherlands. This cathedral was a constant incentive to the architectural painters of Antwerp, who produced ever new variations on the theme, selecting different angles of vision and different times of day and night.
Pieter Neefs the Younger painted this picture in landscape format, taking a vantage point which was higher than normal and shifted slightly to the left, a trick which opened the view onto the wall of the nave with its endless sequence of arcades and permitted diagonal and transverse views as well as a good overall view of what was happening inside the Cathedral. The painting was executed conscientiously with fine brushes, and the colour tones are pleasant and warm. The deployment of elegant ladies and gentlemen, the priest, the beggar, as well as children playing and dogs in the light-flooded interior is typical of this type of painting. The high-quality staffage figures were probably supplied by Frans Francken III. It is impossible to say, whether the father provided the draft or assisted in the execution, but his collaboration cannot be ruled out.
The tradition of architecture pieces was started by Hans Vredemann de Vries (1527 -  ca 1606), a painter, architect and theoretician who lived in Antwerp, and it continued via his pupil Hendrick van Steenwijck the Elder into the 17th century. It was Hendrick van Steenwijck the Elder who took the step from the creation of fantasy buildings to the observation of real interiors. Literature
Gabriele Groschner, Thomas Habersatter, Erika Mayr-Oehring (Ed.): Masterworks. Residenzgalerie Salzburg. Salzburg 2002, p. 54

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