de jonckheere old masters

Abel Grimmer

Church interior animated with figures

Panel: 21,5 x 27 cm
Signed and dated Abel Grimmer Fecit 1606


Recognised as one of the best landscape artists of his time, Abel Grimmer also played a major role as a painter of church interiors. Passionate about architecture, he demonstrates a subtle and ethereal use of lines and light. With a perfect command of perspective and a precise and rigorous rendering of the building, Abel Grimmer knew how to perfectly illustrate the grandeur and majesty of this ecclesiastical edifice. Our artist has not simply painted a picture of architectural interest; he has successfully endeavoured to endow his composition with a peaceful and poetic atmosphere, with the addition of figures dotted here and there. In the middle, worshippers are gathered to listen to a preacher. The numerous lighting effects help to establish this lyrical atmosphere.

Probably the fruit of his imagination, this Church interior shows the skill and taste of our painter at combining architectural styles by juxtaposing all types of elements and giving free rein to his knowledge as an architect. Following the example of Hans Vredeman de Vries, Abel Grimmer chooses to portray a church with several naves.
In a more realistic and intimate style, we also encounter the same manner of placing the viewer in the central axis, so that his line of vision encompasses the whole and is then led towards the background closed off by a rood-screen. In the manner of his contemporary, Pieter Jan Saenredam, Abel Grimmer bathes his painting in a golden light. The forerunner of a genre that would lead to a school, Abel Grimmer, with his church interiors, opened the way for numerous imitators such as Pieter Neefs.

Provenance :
Galerie Bousies, Belgium;
Sale Charpentier, Paris, 24.3.1953, n°16, pl.XI;
Sale Sotheby, Monaco, 14.11.1984, repr. N°337;
Richard Green Gallery, july 1985;
Private collection, Great Britain.

Littérature :
Reine Bertier de Sauvigny, Jacob et Abel Grimmer, Ed. la Renaissance du Livre, Brussels, 1991, p.223, n°L, ill. 110.