Cornelis Pronk

Netherlands, b.1691, d.1759

Interior of a Cathedral, Haarlem

Amsterdam-based Cornelis Pronk was a versatile artist – a skilled portrait painter, he was also a specialist in meticulous architectural studies like this interior of the Grote Kerk in Haarlem. In the 1730s he took commissions to create decorative designs for the Dutch East India Company for porcelain tea and dinner services, which were produced in China and sold in the Netherlands.

(Out of Time, 23 September 2023 – 28 April 2024)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • This work is a celebration of the grandeur and elegant architecture of Haarlem Cathedral. The recently-completed cathedral was a source of great pride to the people of Haarlem, but note the small ‘memento mori’ – a reminder of death and the sin of worldly vanity - seen in the pastor in his black gown talking to a gravedigger with wheelbarrow and shovel.

    Continuing the tradition of Dutch architectural painting, Cornelius Pronck has here produced a display of controlled watercolour technique and three-point perspective. With careful realism he has captured the cool, silvery light in the towering nave of the simplified Gothic style cathedral. The tiny figures add human interest and contribute to a sense of scale, while the fine ink lines sharpen the details of the architecture.

    Born in Amsterdam, Pronck became a prominent portrait painter and was praised for the careful technique he used in his works. He much preferred, however, to paint views of cities and landscapes.

    (Gallery opening hang, 2003)