Zaandam, the Netherlands
Assendelft, the Netherlands
A giften Mannerist engraver and draftsman, Jan Saenredam worked in the circle of Hendrik Goltzius (1558-1617). Among the artists working in Goltzius’s circle, the quality of Saenredam’s engravings is considered to be second only to those of Jacques de Gheyn II (1565-1629). Born in 1565 in Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam, Saenredam was orphaned and at the age of 9 was sent to nearby Assendelft, where he was reared by his uncle Pieter de Johgh, a bailiff. Originally destined for life as a farmer or tradesman, his skill in drawing led his to be apprenticed to a cartographer. His first map was published in 1589, and that year he was sent to work and study with Goltzius. According to early biographers, conflicts arose between master and student and Saenredam left Goltzius to join de Gheyn in Amsterdam, who had also been a student of Goltzius. After a few years, perhaps as early as 1592, Saendreham returned to Assendelft and set up his own studio. He primarily made prints after designs by others, particularly those of Goltzius, Italian artist Polidoro da Caravaggio (ca 1499-ca. 1543), probably based on drawings Goltzius made in Italy, and other young Dutch artists, such as Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651). His themes included Biblical scenes, allegories and gods of ancient myths. He married Anna Pauwels, with whom he made a joint will in 1595. His son Pieter (1597-1665) became renowned for his paintings of church interiors. Saenredam made engravings after his own designs as well, particularly after 1600, exhibiting his ability to depict the effects of light and soft, silvery surfaces. He became interested in works by Lucas van Leyden (1494-1533), and created three engravings after drawings by van Leyden. Altogether approximately 130 engravings are attributed to Saenredam. He died of typhus on April 6, 1607, and apparently left his wife a comfortable legacy based on profitable investments he made in the Dutch East India Comopany. (TNB 8/2012) Selected bibliography: Ackley, Clifford S. Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt. Exhibition catalog, pp. 44-46. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1981. Riggs, Timothy and Larry Silver, eds. Graven Images: The Rise of Professional Printmakers in Antwerp and Haarlem, 1540-1640. Exhibition catalog, pp. 88-89. Evanston: Northwestern University, 1993.