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"SAENREDAM:The West Faflade of the Mariakerk, Utrecht"
2008-11-11 until 2009-02-15
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Madrid, , ES Spain

11 November marks the opening of the 22nd exhibition in the Contexts of the Permanent Collection series, which on this occasion is devoted to the Dutch painter Pieter Jansz. Saenredam (1597-1665). Through the exhibition, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza will be offering an overview of the work of this artist, one of the leading names of 17th-century Dutch painting in a survey that will include some of his finest compositions. Saenredam was a pioneering figure in his use of detailed preparatory sketches and perspectival measurements made at first-hand, and he devoted almost his entire career to the depiction of interior and exterior architectural views. As a result, and according to his biographer Cornelis de Bie, Saenredam was “the first architectural portraitist”.

The exhibition focuses on a panel in the Museum’s own collection entitled The West Front of the Sint-Mariakerk in Utrecht of 1662. Despite its relatively small size (65.1 x 51.2 cm) it is a major example of the “perspectives” on which the artist exclusively focused from 1628 when he decided to abandon other genres. Also dating from that year is the charcoal portrait drawing of Saenredam by the artist’s friend, the painter and architect Jacob van Campen. Loaned by the British Museum in London, it is also included in the exhibition.

Saenredam’s oeuvre is relatively small, possibly due to the painstaking care involved in the production of his works. The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza has selected eleven of the finest examples, for which reason the exhibition offers a unique opportunity to study at close hand the work of this great artist and draughtsman who is almost unknown to the wider public within Spain.


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