Johannes Bosboom

Johannes Bosboom

Artist: Johannes Bosboom (Dutch, 1817-1891)

Title: ‘The Sunday Morning Mass

Size: 26,5 x 37 cm (10,4 x 14,5 inch)

Material: oil on panel
Signed: lower right: J. Bosboom 1871

Inventory #: 5128JB6



Johannes Bosboom (1817-1891) is considered the most important painter of church interiors in the 19th century.
Johannes Bosboom turned out to have a great talent for drawing at a young age and was apprenticed to the painter of cityscapes Bart van Hove at the age of fourteen. That same year, Johannes Bosboom also became a student at the Hague Drawing Academy.


The three cityscapes in The Hague that Bosboom presented at the exhibition of living masters in 1833 showed the influence of his teacher van Hove. After completing his education at the Academy, Johannes Bosboom traveled to Düsseldorf, Cologne and Koblenz and made many drawings and sketches there. Upon his return, Johannes Bosboom established himself as an independent painter at the Dunne Bierkade in The Hague.


During his apprenticeship with Van Hove, Johannes Bosboom worked on painting stage sets. In this way he gained knowledge of the architecture and architectural styles in other countries. From his interest in the architecture of buildings and decorations in particular, he developed an interest in church interiors. The appreciation he received for his church interiors encouraged him to further specialize in this area.


Bosboom, after his seventeenth century predecessor Emanuel de Witte, initially painted in a detailed and drawing-like technique. He mainly looked for the correct visual representation of the church interior. The atmosphere, height and depth of the room had to be shown as optimally as possible. Following on from his teacher Van Hove, Bosboom built up the church space from a foreground, middle plan and background. The upholstery of the central nave and the side aisles had to emphasize the evoked perspective.


Later, Bosboom, influenced by Rembrandt, focused more on reproducing light and color impressions of the interior with a wide brush. The importance of architecture has been pushed into the background in favor of the atmosphere. Bosboom thus gave his church interiors a very different expression than the seventeenth-century painters had done. In the early oil paintings of Synagogen, the looser brushwork is visible for the first time. Later Bosboom also focused more and more on this technique in the other church interiors.


With his impressionistic approach Bosboom was at the cradle of developments that would lead to the Hague School. That the work of his seventeenth-century predecessors was never quite his thoughts, is evident from the clothing from the golden age that the figures wear in almost all his representations.


If Bosboom was successful with a particular subject, he sometimes repeated it. For example, different versions are known of the Bakenesserkerk in Haarlem, the St. Laurenskerk in Alkmaar and an organ-playing monk. However, the furnishing was never quite the same.


Johannes Bosboom acquired great international fame as a painter and watercolorist of church interiors. His colleagues considered him an authority, not only because of his talent but also because of his commitment to the artists.


Many museums at home and abroad own work by this painter.




Immerzeel 1842-1843

Scheen 1969-1970Witt Checklist 1978

Scheen 1981 , p. 61-62, afb.nrs. 395 t/m 416 (as: Bosboom, Johannes;*)1.

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