59.0 x 78.0 Signed and dated: "DVD- fecit 1627" CRE DELEN, Dirck van; (Dutch; 1605-1671) Dirck van Delen lived at Arnemuiden, a village near Middelburg in Zeeland not far from the Flemish border, and he specialised in painting architectural subjects. His elevation to membership of the town council n 1628 and subsequent appointment as Burgermeester, attests to the prosperity that he achieved through painting. Although his own source of training is uncertain, Van Delen followed a tradition of architectural painting initiated by the graphic work of Hans Vredeman de Vries (1526-1606). His subjects were often Renaissance palaces or porticoes, but also Gothic interiors as in this 1627 painting. These settings are imaginary and peopled by well-dressed burghers or by biblical characters, sometimes painted by a figure specialist. The buildings are of greater importance artistically, and at the time were valued for their perspectival accuracy.
Architectural painters tended to be from the upper social ranks and Van Delen was, by virtue of his position as toll keeper and Burgermeester, a member of the Calvinist ruling elite in Arnemuiden. In 1633 he was elected an elder of the Reformed church but some within the congregation opposed this appointment on the grounds that he 'depicted people in church.'
The painted figures playing out the scene of Christ's shaming of the Pharisees are unlikely to have provoked such a protest but it is possible that the painted figures on the organ screens could have done; such was the abhorrence of Calvinists for church decoration.
Van Delen seems to have stopped painting around 1650 for reasons unknown.