5.09.2012

Extreme Serene

Grote Kerk at Haarlem, 1636-7
St. Anthony's Chapel and St. Janskerk, Utrecht, 1645
St Odulphus in Assendelft, 1649.
Saenredam includes his father's grave marker on the floor, center right
Interior of the Buurkerk, Utrecht, 1645
Chapel in the St. Laurenskerk, Alkmaar, 1635
Choir of the Church of St Bavo at Haarlem, 1635.
This reminds me of a Tamara de Lempicka
Nave and choir of the Mariakerk, Utrecht, 1641
Nave and choir of the Mariakerk, (detail). Who let the dogs in?
Nave and choir of the Mariakerk, (detail) with Saenredam's signature and "graffiti"
Saint Bavo, Haarlem, 1636; Detail below
Pieter Janszoon Saenredam's (1597-1665) portraits of Dutch church interiors—and that's what they are, architectural portraits—have always appealed to me. They are a strange mix of serenity and rigor, precision and ease, solemnity and humor. They have an other worldly quality not only in the clarity and light, but in the idealized—hyper-realized— perspective. In many of his images you are seeing down several lines of sight at once, and taking in far more than the eye would normally see. To me there is something “modern”, almost Cubist, about these views. The mathematically precise renderings (he evidently made dozens of measurements for each painting) remind me of Charles Sheeler— even, in the extreme, Mondrian.
Charles Sheeler, yachts, 1924
Charles Sheeler, Stacks in Procession, 1943
Piet Mondrian, composition with 3 black lines, 1930

Piet Mondrian, composition No. 1, 1938-39

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