This painting is unusually large. It was commissioned by the governors of the Westerkerk, for their meeting room, where it remained until 1864. The date, which appears with a signature on the lowest step of one of the houses to the right, is unclear, but probably originally read '1660'. The church was a comparatively recent building at that time, begun in 1620 to the designs of Hendrick de Keyser and completed in 1638. It is shown from the east, across the Keizersgracht.

Characteristic of van der Heyden, who specialised in town views, is the way the picture is painted in every minute detail. The figures were added later, and interestingly, given the artist's attention to detail, their shadows and reflections in the water are missing.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1637 - 1712
Full title
View of the Westerkerk, Amsterdam
Date made
probably 1660
Medium and support
Oil on oak
Dimensions
90.7 x 114.5 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1990
Inventory number
NG6526
Location in Gallery