Architectural Painting in the Netherlands
In keeping with Protestant doctrine, churches in the Northern Netherlands were typically devoid of paintings and sculpture and systematically whitewashed. Dutch artists, such as Pieter Saenredam, created a distinctive type of painting depicting these bare interiors with spare geometry and suffused light. In contrast, Flemish artists painted Roman Catholic church interiors full of devotional objects and religious ceremony.
When depicting architecture, whether urban views or serene church interiors, artists constructed their paintings based on the careful application of perspective. While most artists prepared detailed studies, the finished works are often not accurate representations of reality. Some painters of church interiors excluded elements deemed compositionally unsuitable, such as pews and pulpits.
Brilliant effects of light and spatial illusionism ensured that 17th-century architectural paintings from the Northern and Southern Netherlands had an impact on artists and collectors well into the 19th century.