Pieter Jansz Saenredam

Pieter Jansz Saenredam (Assendelft, 1597 - Haarlem, 1665) was a Dutch painter, a contemporary compatriot of Rembrandt, noted chiefly for his surprisingly modern paintings of churches. Architectural in detail, they convey the interior atmosphere through the clever use of light and graduated shadows. Saenredam worked from perspective drawings or "cartoons" drawn on site with meticulous accuracy, using these as a basis for his studio paintings.

Perhaps his best known works are a pair of oil paintings both titled Interior of the Buurkerk, Utrecht. One hangs in London's National Gallery, the other in the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. In their simplicity and semi-abstract formalism, they foreshadow more modern works such as those of Mondrian and Feininger.

Saenredam often deliberately left people out of his work, thus also focusing attention on buildings and their architectural forms. He worked especially in Utrecht and Haarlem. Having made precise measurements, he made during several weeks sketches and drawings of churches. Afterwards he started to create his paintings of these churches. The Utrecht Archives houses a large number of Saenredam's drawings. In the season 2000-2001 the Centraal Museum at Utrecht held a major exhibition of his drawings and paintings.