The Crypt of a Church with Two Men Sleeping

Object Details

Title:

The Crypt of a Church with Two Men Sleeping

Artist/Maker(s):

Hendrick van Steenwijck the Younger (Flemish, 1580 - 1649, active about 1603 - 1649)

Culture:

Flemish

Place(s):

Netherlands (Place created)

Date:

possibly 1625

Medium:

Pen and dark brown ink, brush with brown wash, graphite, heightened with white gouache, on tan paper

Dimensions:

12.2 x 16.5 cm (4 13/16 x 6 1/2 in.)

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In the dimly lit crypt of a church, two soldiers lie sleeping on either side of a chest. A single candle lights the vaulted interior, illuminating the arches and the square tiles of the stone floor. Another flame glimmers weakly, visible through a darkened archway in the background and casting a small glow over a staircase. Hendrick van Steenwijck employed these contrasts of light and darkness to play with the viewer's sense of perspective. Using strong chiaroscuro, he guided the viewer's eye around the scene, from the brilliant glow of the column and ceiling in the middle, back through the arch to the stairs, and finally to the dark interior beyond.

Various gradations of light also emphasize the room's tones and textures. Candlelight shows off the joins in the masonry, as well as the cracks in the ceiling, the wood panels in the door, and the gleaming folds of the guard's cloak.

Exhibitions
Flemish Drawings of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (August 29 to November 12, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), August 29 to November 12, 1995
Peter Paul Rubens and the Art of Drawing in Flanders (August 29 to October 22, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 29 to October 22, 2000
Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age (May 28 to August 25, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 28 to August 25, 2002
Radiant Darkness: The Art of Nocturnal Light (April 24 to July 22, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles)
The Secret Life of Drawings (November 23, 2010 to February 13, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 23, 2010 to February 13, 2011