HEYDEN, Jan van der
(b. 1637, Gorinchem, d. 1712, Amsterdam)

The Drawbridge

Oil on panel, 36 x 45 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Jan van der Heyden is best known for his townscapes, featuring cities such as Amsterdam, Delft, Brussels, and Cologne. In contrast to Gerrit berckheyde, he did not limit himself to more or less accurate renderings of reality. He regularly included in a single picture various buildings that are actually located in different parts of a city, or in different cities altogether.

A city canal dominates this scene with a wooden drawbridge. The buildings along the quay are reminiscent of Amsterdam canal houses but they cannot be identified. In the foreground, the corner arch supported by columns somewhat resembles that of the Old Amsterdam Town Hall, which burnt down in 1652. That building, however, was nowhere near the water.