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The Burning City

ca. 1654

Egbert Lievensz van der Poel

Dutch, 1621-1664

On October 12, 1654, in the Dutch city of Delft, a building storing 90,000 pounds of gunpowder exploded. The explosion and subsequent fire killed more than a hundred people and wounded thousands. Every building in the city was damaged, and many were completely razed. One artist, Egbert Lievenz. van der Poel, painted at least twelve depictions of the disastrous fire and its aftermath, often setting the scene at night for maximum dramatic impact. Illuminated only by the raging blaze, citizens urgently try to put out the flames while other people and livestock flee the scene.

Oil on panel, 16 7/8 x 23 7/8 in. (42.9 x 60.6 cm), Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection, 47.160,

Inscribed: Signed L.R.

Not currently on view