17th Century
View of a Cathedral

Ink and wash on paper
Image size: 7 1/2 x 6 inches (19 x 15.25 cm)
Mounted
£550

 

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This drawing is of a Gothic style church in the Low Countries, likely to be the Spanish Netherlands.

The roadside ‘Calvary’ (cross, with Virgin, St John, and Magdalene) in the foreground is clearly Roman Catholic and mid 17th-c., set within an arch surmounted by a Baroque entrecoupé segmented pediment very similar in design to that which is now the entrance to the Church of the Récollets in Antwerp.

In the Cathedral here we can see depicted, multiple times, the defining design element of Gothic architecture in the pointed, or ogival, arch. It was the use of this pointed arch that in turn led to the development of the pointed rib vault and flying buttresses (not seen here) combined with elaborate tracery and stained glass windows (as seen here). With these features a new architectural style emerged that emphasised the verticality and the effect created by the transmission of light through the series of stained glass windows in the religious space.

The saint atop the gable of the south transept of the church seems to be a bishop with a crozier in his right hand and a rake in his left. These are the attributes of St Arnulf of Soissons, a popular local patron saint in Flanders because he was the patron saint of hop-pickers and brewers.