A Sermon in the Old Church in Delft, c. 1650-1651
Emanuel de Witte
oil on oak
73.2 x 59.5 cm
Purchased 1983 with the assistance of a grant from the Government of Canada under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act
National Gallery of Canada (no. 28182)
The church interior depicted here is the Oude Kerk (Old Church) of Delft. While the focus is on the family listening to the sermon, of equal importance are the geometric patterns of the architecture and the play of light and shadow. The use of a trompe-l'oeil arched wooden frame and curtain on a rod creates the illusion of a painting within a painting. It was a common practice to hang a curtain in front of valued pictures, to protect them from dust or to minimize the fading of pigments.