View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmermeer

Jan van Goyen, 1646
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

One of the pioneers of landscape painting in seventeenth-century Holland, Jan van Goyen was an exceptionally prolific artist. Many hundreds of pictures, as well as drawings by his hand survive. One of his finest works is the View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmermeer, a small and intimate panoramic landscape, which, for the past century and a half, has been part of the splendid collection of seventeenth-century Dutch painting of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmermeer, dated 1646, is loosely based on two sketches Van Goyen had made two years earlier, notably from a high vantage point in the bell tower of Haarlem’s Church of Saint Bavo. One of these sketches roughly matches the left two-thirds of the View of Haarlem and the Haarlemmermeer, yet the painting’s foreground is Van Goyen’s invention, as is his placement of the landmark Saint Bavo in the far distance.

Esmée Quodbach, Specialist in Provenance Research and the History of Collecting of Dutch and Flemish paintings, Princeton, New Jersey

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