SAENREDAM, Pieter Jansz
(b. 1597, Assendelft, d. 1665, Haarlem)


Dutch painter of architectural subjects, particularly church interiors, active in Haarlem. Saenredam, the son of an engraver, was a hunchback and a recluse, but he was acquainted with the great architect Jacob van Campen, who may have played a part in determining his choice of subject. He was the first painter to concentrate on accurate depictions of real buildings rather than the fanciful inventions of the Mannerist tradition. His pictures were based on painstaking drawings and are scrupulously accurate and highly finished, but they never seem pedantic or niggling and are remarkable for their delicacy of colour and airy grace. The Cathedral of St Bavo (where he is buried) in Haarlem was favourite subject, but he also travelled to other Dutch towns to make drawings, and Utrecht is represented in several of his paintings. He also made a few views of Rome based on drawings in a sketchbook by Marten van Heemskerck that he owned. His work had great influence on Dutch painting.

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