Church Interior with the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14)

Here, a seventeenth-century church provides the setting for a parable from Saint Luke’s Gospel that contrasts virtuous humility and sinful pride. The Pharisee (a strict follower of Hebrew law) stands at the base of a column exalting his righteous way of life, while the publican (a tax collector) bows his head and prays for mercy. Dirck van Delen specialized in painting architecture, occasionally collaborating with other artists for the depiction of figures. In this instance, he worked with the Dutch painter Cornelis van Poelenburch, who seamlessly blended the figures into this monumental interior. Such collaborations were a specialty of artists in the seventeenth-century Netherlands.


Jean-Baptiste le Rebours (d. 1778, his sale, Paris, 27 April 1778, no. 24, as Dirck van Delen and figures by Corneille Poelenburg [sic], sold to Destouches); Alexandre-Louis Hersant Destouches (1731-1793/94, his sale, Paris, 21 March, 1794, no. 230, as Dirck van Delen and Cornelis van Poelembourgh [sic], sold to Paillet); Alexandre-Joseph Paillet (1743-1814); John Trumbull (1756-1843, by 1797, sale, Christie’s, London, 17 Feb. 1797, no. 3, as Dirck van Delen and figures by Poelenburgh, sold to Henry Walton [1743-1813]); Sir Thomas Beauchamp-Proctor, 2nd Bt., Langley Hall, Norfolk (1756-1827, by 1815), as Dirck van Delen, figures by Poëlemberg [sic]; Sir Christopher R.P. Beauchamp, 9th Bt., by descent (d. 1974, sale, Christie’s, London, 13 Dec. 1974, no. 94, as Dirck van Delen and figures by Cornelis van Poelenburgh; Asbjorn R. Lunde (by 1981, given to the Clark, as Dirck van Delen); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1981

Dirck van Delen

Dutch, 1604/5–1671

Cornelis van Poelenburch, (Dutch, 1594/5–1667)

Church Interior with the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14)


Oil on panel

19 7/16 × 22 in. (49.4 × 55.9 cm) Frame: 25 7/8 × 27 15/16 × 1 3/4 in. (65.7 × 71 × 4.4 cm)

Gift of Asbjorn R. Lunde, 1981