Pieter Jansz. Saenredam

The Old Town Hall of Amsterdam

1657
Oil on panel, 64.5 × 83 cm.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Old Town Hall in Amsterdam

Pieter Boffi SAENREDAM
Assendelft 1597 - Haarlem 1665

Pieter Jansz. Saenredam was the son of an engraver, Jan Pietersz. Saenredam, who made engravings after many of the most famous artists of the day, including Goltzius and Bloemaert. Jan Saenredam died in 1607, and two years later, Pieter and his mother moved to Haarlem. In May 1612 Pieter was apprenticed to Frans Pietersz. de Grebber, a painter of history paintings and portraits. Saenredam seems to have been a slow developer, for he remained with de Grebber far ten years until 1622. In 1623 he entered the painters' guild in Haarlem, but of the work of the preceding or immediately following years, only two sheets of drawings have survived. Then, in 1626, he was given the commission to make illustrations, including maps, for the history of Haarlem by the Reverend Samuel Ampzing, published in 1628. It was for this history that he made his first drawing of the interior of the great church of St. Bavo in Haarlem, a building that provided him with motifs throughout his life, as from then on he devoted himself almost exclusively to painting the interiors of churches. It is likely that his friendship with the architect Jacob van Campen was not unconnected with his grasp of the geometry of perspective that he used throughout his career. Saenredam lived and died in Haarlem, though in order to obtain material he made brief excursions to 's Hertogenbosch (in 1632) Assendelft (1633), Alkmaar (on three occasions), Utrecht (1636), Amsterdam (1641) and Rhenen (1644). He was able to hoard drawings made on these trips and use them far paintings many years later. Saenredam was a respected member of the Guild of St Luke in Haarlem, of which he was secretary, steward and even dean, during his lire. He was buried in Haarlem on 31 May 1665.
from:
The Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer, John Nash, London, 1972