Pieter Saenredam: The Painter and His Time
Gary Schwartz, Marten Jan Bok
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Pieter Saenredam was a 17th-century Dutch painter who specialized in lovely, subtly colored images of architectural spaces, chiefly church interiors. His paintings have an unusual beauty and psychological power that have attracted attention from such writers as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes. This study provides little visual or aesthetic analysis of the paintings, concentrating instead on painstaking reconstruction of historical details from the artist’s life and milieu. Much of the information presented has been newly uncovered in Dutch archives, providing important clues to answering questions raised by earlier, more speculative Saenredam scholarship. The large color reproductions of all known Saenredam paintings will be attractive to interested general readers, but the slow-moving text, with its accumulation of archival detail, and the scholarly catalog and document list will be of most interest to specialists.