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"Pieter Saenredam, the Utrecht work"
2000-11-04 until 2001-02-04
Centraal Museum
Utrecht, , NL

Pieter Jansz. Saenredam (Assendelft 1597-1665 Haarlem) is one of the most remarkable 17th century painters. In the year 1628 he took a decision to devote the rest of his life to painting 'perspectives'. Saenredam kept his word, and developed into the Master of perspective.

The finest architectural paintings of the seventeenth century
In 1636 Saenredam worked in Utrecht for twenty weeks at a stretch. During this period he was drawing the city's mediaeval churches. He took measurements, made technical drawings and sketched the fronts and interiors of the churches, which in many cases were in danger of being demolished. In the following years he worked the drawings and preliminary studies into the finest architectural paintings of the seventeenth century, which even today provide a source of inspiration for many artists and designers. To be seen in the exhibition are at least 15 of the 21 paintings that have been preserved and 40 or so drawings which Saenredam made of the Utrecht churches. The panels, which are extremely valuable and easily damaged, come from leading collections at home and abroad and from private owners.

Following in Saenredam's footsteps
Thanks to Saenredam's extreme precision (he dated his drawings accurately), we can still to this day follow on his heels in a ten-minute radius on foot. His first drawing dated 18 June 1636 and the last 23 October 1636. In the exhibition Pieter Saenderam in Utrecht there is an opportunity to follow in the artist's footsteps in the city by looking at the overall view captured in the drawings and paintings of Utrecht as he saw it.

Saenredam's work methods
The exhibition exposes the unusual and innovative work methods employed by Saenredam in some detail. Saenredam was the first to show what the church interior really looked like. Painting a correct 'church portrait' demanded a new method of work which Saenredam developed with the surveyor Pieter Wils. On the basis of the measurements which he made on the spot he produced a detailed drawing of the church building. With this comprehensive sketch, separately drawn up details, and a floor plan he went back to his workshop to continue work. The sketch which Saenredam had made on the spot was reproduced on the panel with the help of a so-called construction drawing, and after that had been done he started painting. In his paintings he manipulated the spaces to such an extent that they appeared to be more monumental than they actually were in reality. Saenredam's innovative work method will be made clear in the exhibition.

Main benefactors of Pieter Saenredam, the Utrecht Work are Greenfield Capital Partners, Gold-Zack A.G. and the VSB Fund. Other benefactors are SNS Reaal Fund and the KF Hein Fund. IMAGE:
'Het schip en het koor van de Sint Pieterskerk te Utrecht',
28 november 1654
Panel: 50 x 72.5 cm
Collection: Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem


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