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National Review |  Brian T. Allen

Nieuwe Kirk in Haarlem, 1658, by Pieter Jansz. Saenredam. Oil on panel

Art for Sale in Maastricht: Quality, Quality, Quality
Brian T. Allen
March 11, 2020

Nicholas Hall is offering a painting that’s very Protestant. Pieter Saenredam (1597–1665) is best known for his interiors of Reformation-era Protestant churches. There, the art doesn’t inspire real, humble piety. Art depicting divinities was idolatrous. Good Protestants were in church to reflect, not to look at pictures. Saenredam’s Nieuwe Kirk in Haarlem, from 1658, shows the just-built church, white and entirely austere.

Still, it’s cool and serene. New England’s early Congregational churches have the same aesthetic, since the Puritans were Calvinists. They, too, abhorred tacky scenes of saints dripping blood all over the place. It’s very beautiful as well as very modern. I spent lots of time looking at this gem, which does have lots of color in it, but the colors are subtle grays, blues, and terra-cottas. It’s consigned, and the owner doesn’t want the price disclosed....



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