Oil on panel
7 3/4 x 7 inches (19.7 x 17.8 cm)
Signed: D.D.B. 1654
Trained as an architect, Daniel de Blieck began his career in the 1650s, painting primarily church interiors. His activity was not confined to painting but extended to providing designs to stonemasons for architectural elements and sculptures, inventing plans for machine works, and even supervising construction projects. Records of the artist’s birthdate are lost but he may have been nearly twenty when he joined the guild of Middelburg in 1647-48. Unlike many of his architectural painting contemporaries in the Netherlands, de Blieck usually painted his own figures.
It is most likely that the example in our painting is a fantasy church, but it is conceivable that it was based on a real church since the artist had by 1655 already depicted existing interiors. Our church portrays a transept portal framed by exquisitely rendered paired marble columns which support a vaulted ceiling; the nave is visiblethrough this dramatically presented entry. The sweeping space is bathed in brilliant light entering through the right side windows and highlighting the archways, columns, and the upper register of Gothic windows. One column carries a small triptych while others are hung with smaller plaques of devotional scenes. The altar is visible below an elaborate triptych, framed by marble pilasters with scrolling capitals. The triptych depicts three figures which are shown on either tapestries or paintings; the striking hue of the gilt wooden frames enclosing the side panels is cleverly echoed by the large candlestick set on the alter. This painting is dated 1655, the decade that produced de Blieck’s earliest known works.