The Protestant publicist Samuel Ampzing desires to promote his beloved city by a praise in verse with engravings. He entrusts the illustrations to Pieter Saenredam and Jan van de Velde. Saenredam is a great choice for such a job. Passionate about architecture and perspective, he is one of the first artists to focus on meticulously realistic views of the monuments. Ampzing's Beschrijvinge is published in 1628.
To prepare his paintings, Saenredam executes with an abundance of details his drawings which he will transpose onto the panel before applying the color. His care for accuracy, probably unique in his time, enables to attribute a date to some of his works.
On January 28 in New York, Sotheby's sells a view of the Haarlem Town Hall by Saenredam, oil on panel 40 x 50 cm, lot 48 estimated $ 2.5M. This view cannot be earlier than the book of Ampzing or subsequent to 1630 when a major renovation of the facade removed the stairs and statues in Palladian Renaissance style still in place at the center of the image.
This artwork is not only a realistic view of Haarlem at the time of Frans Hals. To please his Protestant friends who were elected burgomasters in 1630, Saenredam conceived it as a history painting glorifying the entrance of Maurits in the town twelve years earlier. The artist had decidedly little interest in the characters and had men and horses painted by Pieter Post.
In the rest of his career, Saenredam mostly exploits his talent for geometric accuracy in his views of church interiors.
Nevertheless a view of his native village of Assendelft painted in 1634 anticipates by his non-narrative theme the art of Berckheyde, a quarter century later, that opened the path for the Vedutism of the following century. This oil on panel 36 x 49 cm unique for its time was sold for £ 3.7 million including premium by Christie's on July 3, 2012 over a lower estimate of £ 400K.
SOLD for $ 3M including premium