Jan Saenredam  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Jan Pieterszoon Saenredam (1565 Zaandam - 6 April 1607 Assendelft), was a Dutch Northern Mannerist painter, printmaker in engraving, and cartographer, and father of the painter of church interiors, Pieter Jansz Saenredam. He is noted for the many allegorical images he created from classical mythology and the Bible, as well as the curiosum the Stranded Sperm Whale.

As an orphan Jan lived with his uncle, Pieter de Jongh, a bailiff in Assendelft. Despite a decision that he follow a career in a trade or farming, he showed such artistic talent that he started as an apprentice cartographer.

In 1589 he joined Hendrick Goltzius, the Haarlem printmaker and engraver, and became one of his most promising students. After working for some time with Goltzius, he encountered the almost inevitable professional rivalry and jealousy, prompting his departure to work with fellow apprentice Jacob de Gheyn II in Amsterdam. He set up his own workshop and produced prints after Goltzius, Abraham Bloemaert, Polidoro da Caravaggio, Lucas van Leyden, Cornelis van Haarlem and other younger designers.

In about 1595 he returned to Assendelft, a town in the north of Holland, where he married Anna Pauwelsdochter and settled, staying there until his death. Jan left his wife a sizeable estate as a result of lucrative investments in the Dutch East India Company. His remains were interred under a slab in the Saint Adolphus church in Assendelft.

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