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

Interior of the Church of St Odulphus, Assendelft

Oil on panel, 50 x 76 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Pieter Saenredam broke with the tradition of the fantasy architecture piece. It was a genre that arose in Antwerp at the end of the 16th century, and was still being practiced by several of Saenredam's contemporaries in the northern Netherlands. He also abandoned the custom of using the architectural space as a mere backdrop to religious or secular subjects. Instead he painted the 'portrait' of a building for the sake of its intrinsic qualities. The sole purpose of the few people in his paintings appears to be indicate the scale.