Study for the so-called « Angels' Gate » in the Augustinian Church in Tienen

Abraham van Diepenbeeck
17th century

This drawing of the Gate of Angels is by Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596-1675), an artist originating from Bois-le-Duc, but who lived and worked in Antwerp from 1621 onwards.

The two doors are separated by a vertical pier and sub-divided into three horizontal sections. Above, in the tympanum, putti are holding up a bishop’s mitre to the left and a cross to the right, attributes that evoke Saint Augustine, who was the Bishop of Hippone. In the centre, on the left panel, other cherubs carry a heart, one of the saint’s attributes, whilst on the right panel there are numerous books, a reference to his writings. In the lower left there is a representation of the saint’s conversion, whilst on the right a child trying to shovel the sea into a small hole (an act as impossible as understanding the mystery of the Holy Trinity). On the central pier are the three divine virtues: Faith, Hope and Love.

A more detailed version of this drawing, which has also been attributed to Abraham van Diepenbeeck, is to be found in the Budapest Museum for Fine Arts. The wooden door that Matthieu van Beveren (1630-1690) made for the Augustinian Church in Tienen corresponds, apart from one panel, to these two drawings.

Website Stedelijk Prentenkabinet / Museum Plantin-Moretus

Material / technique: 
Pen in Indian ink, wash, black and red chalk
31,1 x 19,3 cms
Type of acquisition: 
Heritage Fund Acquisition
Year of acquisition: 
Depository institution: 
Stedelijk Prentenkabinet, Antwerp