Pieter Jansz Saenredam Netherlands

6-9-1597 Assendelft, NED - 5-31-1665 Haarlem, NED

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Saenredam, Pieter Jansz

Pieter Jansz Saenredam is noted for his surprisingly modern looking paintings of church interiors – the great bulk of his production. Saenredam achieved this modern look by using very even light, subtle modulation, and by removing any detailed depiction of textures, in meticulously measured and drawn sketches. Saenredam often deliberately omitted people and church furniture from work, thus focusing more attention on buildings and their architectural forms. Only after having made precise measurements, and precise sketches and drawings of the churches, he would take them to his studio where he started to create his paintings, often after a delay of many years.

Pieter Jansz Saenredam's paintings frequently show medieval churches, usually Gothic, but sometimes late Romanesque, which had been stripped bare of their original decorations after the iconoclasm of the Protestant Reformation. Although Utrecht was the centre of the remaining Catholic population of the mainly Calvinist United Provinces, all the old churches were retained by the Protestants.

Saenredam wanted to record this time of change by documenting the country’s buildings. Many artists before him had specialized in imaginary and fanciful architecture, but Pieter Jansz Saenredam was one of the first to focus on existing buildings.

There are a small number of his works in British collections but the Utrecht Archives houses a large number of Saenredam's drawings. Perhaps his best known works are a matching pair of oil paintings both titled Interior of the Buurkerk, Utrecht. In their simplicity and semi-abstract formalism, they foreshadow more modern works such as those of Mondrian and Feininger.

In July 2012 a picture of Pieter Jansz Saenredam's village at Assendelft was sold at Christies for more than $5,000,000. Six months earlier it was entered into a Christies sale advertised as by a follower of Saenredam with and estimate of $5,000 before being withdrawn from sale.

Art Movement: Mannerism
Influences: Frans de Grebber
From Wikipedia

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