Peeter Neeffs the Elder (Flemish, born circa – died circa 1661)


Very little is known about Peeter Neeffs the Elder’s life. He was no doubt born in Antwerp, where his brothers were born in 1566 and 1577, but did not enter the Guild of St Luke until 1609, which suggests that he was much younger than his siblings. In 1612 he married Maria Lauterbeens; two of their sons, Lodewijck (b.1617) and Peeter the Younger (1620-1675) also became painters. Neeffs was still living on February 26th 1656, but Cornelis de Bis mentions in his Gulden Kabinet of 1661 that he is dead. Peeter Neeffs was a lifelong painter of architecture. His oeuvre consists almost entirely of church interiors by day or night in so-called tunnelperspective. He also painted occasional views of a single chapel or a Deliverance of St Peter from the dungeon. Both in style and subject he follows the example of Hendrick van Steenwijck the Younger (circa 1580-circa 1642), whose pupil he is considered to have been.
The work of Peeter Neeffs the Elder is represented in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: the Uffizi, Florence; the National Gallery, London; the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC and the Hermitage, St Petersburg.