De beschildering van De Krijtberg in Amsterdam


  • P.C.J. van Dael




The interior of the Church of St. Franciscus Xaverius or De Krijtberg at Amsterdam (built in 1880-1883 by Alfred Tepe) has remained intact completely. This neo-gothic church was restored in 1979-1990. The polychromy, to which this article is dedicated, still waits for restoration. In 1886 the provisional painting of the sanctuary and of both side-chapels took place. In 1889 the rest of the church was painted in a provisional way.

In 1892-'93 the definitive painting of sanctuary and side-chapels was carried out after the design of Friedrich Wilhelm (1837-1919). At the same time Mengelberg made the apostle beam with triumphal cross in the sanctuary, Heinrich Geuer (1841-1904) made two windows for the sanctuary and the workshop Nicolas provided the left side-chapel with glass.

Mengelberg saw to it that the unity of style was maintained, the figures of saints in the sanctuary and in both chapels were painted by Martin Schenk (1833-1910) after drawings by Mengelberg. Shadows in the folds of the garments to give these figures some sculptural quality. However, they stand in painted gothic niches, which do not suggest depth at all. The paintings respect the flatness of the wall according to the prescriptions in the manuals of the neo-gothics.

Below the niches paintings of draperies were carried out. The painting of 1892-'93 brought about a colour- and light-contrast between the sanctuary and the side chapels and the rest of the church. In the nave a pale grey colour predominated the same red and blue while the new painting according to a description from 1906 showed a warm glow of red, blue and gold.

In 1927-'28 the definitive polychroming of the transept and the nave took place. This painting was carried out by the firm of Hans Mengelberg at Utrecht. Hans Mengelberg (1885-1945) was the youngest son of the previously mentioned Friedrich Wilhelm. He also was commissioned to clean and to restore the old polychromy. At that occasion the half round columns against the pillars and walls were painted over in a simple style.

The polychromy of Hans Mengelberg does not harmonize with the colours and patterns in the side-chapels and sanctuary in every way. The new paintings show larger planes, less gold, less details and more colour. The choice of the colours however does show same similarity with the stained-glass windows of Willem Mengelberg (1897-1969) in the sanctuary and in the side-aisled (1929 and 1933). The colours, which have been applied in the windows and the paintings in 1927-1933 do not harmonize at all with the interior of the church.

Biografie auteur

P.C.J. van Dael

Dr. P.C.J. van Dael, universitair hoofddocent Kunstgeschiedenis aan de Vrije Universiteit te Amsterdam. Eindredacteur van het Bulletin van de Stichting Oude Hollandse Kerken, lid van het bestuur van de Stichting Museum Amstelkring, ‘Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder’ te Amsterdam, lid van de Diocesane Commissie Kerkelijk Kunstbezit van het bisdom Haarlem. Publicaties onder andere over het inwendige van 19de-eeuwse kerken.




van Dael, P. (1992). De beschildering van De Krijtberg in Amsterdam. Bulletin KNOB, 91(3-4), 117–120.