View into the ambulatory of St. Bavo in Haarlem

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View into the ambulatory of St. Bavo in Haarlem , painting by Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, 1635

View into the ambulatory of St. Bavo in Haarlem is the title of a painting by the Dutch painter Pieter Jansz. Saenredam from the year 1635. In contrast to the architectural painting of other artists of the era, which was customary at the time, Saenredam created exact pictures that corresponded scientifically to reality. It has been part of today's Berlin Gemäldegalerie since 1874 and has been exhibited in the gallery in the Berlin Cultural Forum since 1998 .

Image content and interpretation

The picture has the portrait format 48.2 by 37.1 cm and was painted with oil paint on an oak wood panel. It shows the exact perspective of the late Gothic southern ambulatory of the Haarlem St. Bavo Church . The front entrance arch of the choir is shifted slightly to the left from the vertical axis of symmetry and is cut off at the upper edge of the picture. In the middle, slightly to the right, there is an organ gallery. Underneath, staffage figures reproduce a biblical scene in the temple of Jerusalem in order to clarify the spatial relationship between church and temple. The figures are not from Saenredam, but were added later. The decoration of the picture is reduced to the pure architecture, only the organ gallery, two hanging candlesticks and two mortuary tablets on the pillars. The change between light and shadow takes place in the vault area. Characteristic of Saenredam's late work is the yellowish-white color that is evident in this painting. Two preparatory drawings for this picture are located in London's Courtauld Institute of Art , Witt College and Gemeentearchief Haarlem.

Provenance and exhibition

The painting bears the name P. Saenredam fecit on the balustrade of the organ loft and PSA 1635 on the lower right of the first pillar . The Berlin Gemäldegalerie under Wilhelm von Bode acquired the picture in 1874 together with the Suermondt Collection . From 1887 to 1937 it was loaned to the Staatliche Galerie Halle and then hung in the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum . After the Second World War it remained in the western sectors of Berlin and was exhibited in the Museum Berlin-Dahlem . Since 1998 it has been shown in the new picture gallery at the Berlin Kulturforum.


  • Catalog for the exhibition PJ Saenredam, Utrecht 1961, p. 95 f.
  • FW Heckmanns: PJ Saenredam , Recklinghausen 1965, p. 17 ff.

Individual evidence

  1. Jan Kelch in: Catalog of the Gemäldegalerie Berlin , Berlin-Dahlem 1975, p. 383
  2. Claudia Banz in: Gemäldegalerie Berlin , Prestel-Verlag Munich, 1998, ISBN 3-7913-1911-6 , p. 89