The Choir and North Ambulatory of the Church of Saint Bavo, Haarlem

Object Details

Title:

The Choir and North Ambulatory of the Church of Saint Bavo, Haarlem

Artist/Maker(s):

Pieter Jansz. Saenredam (Dutch, 1597 - 1665)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

November 1634

Medium:

Red chalk, graphite, pen and brown ink, and watercolor, incised for transfer (recto); Rubbed with black chalk for transfer (verso)

Dimensions:

37.6 x 39.2 cm (14 13/16 x 15 7/16 in.)

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In preparation for one of his scrupulously observed paintings of buildings, Pieter Saenredam, known to his contemporaries as the "first portraitist of architecture," made this drawing as the second of two preliminary studies of the choir and north ambulatory of Saint Bavo. He first produced a perspective rendering in October 1634, working on location inside the church. In his studio a month later, Saenredam transformed the life study into this finely tuned, idealized drawing showing the deep vista from one of the side chapels across the nave to another. According to the inscription, he completed his painting after this drawing on October 15, 1635.

Saenredam began the drawing with a series of vertical and horizontal ruled graphite lines that delineate the faces of the side piers and establish a central vanishing point, clearly visible between the figures in the lower center. He then elaborately finished the sheet in pen and ink, wash, and watercolor. Corrections made during this phase included removing two figures from in front of the columns.

Exhibitions
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993) (100)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994) (94)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
The Sacred Spaces of Pieter Saenredam (April 16 to July 7, 2002) (94)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 16 to July 7, 2002
The Secret Life of Drawings (November 23, 2010 to February 13, 2011) (94)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 23, 2010 to February 13, 2011
Related Media
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    Audio: Church of Saint Bavo