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The Market Place and the Grote Kerk at Haarlem
Gerrit Berckheyde
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Gerrit Berckheyde has placed us among the citizens and the most important buildings of his native Haarlem, and a visitor to the market square today would find a view similar to the one in this painting of 1674. The Grote Kerk (Great Church), which is dedicated to Saint Bavo, dominates the composition and is bathed in strong sunlight. To the right of the square, the town’s meat market with its decorated stepped gable stands out among the neighbouring buildings. As a butcher’s son, Berckheyde would have been quite familiar with this mercantile institution. The colonnaded portico of Haarlem’s town hall takes up the right side of the townscape, and Berckheyde placed his signature on the base of the corner column.

This painting emphasises Haarlem’s religious, political and commercial functions, and the city’s inhabitants gathered on the square literally live their lives between these institutions, adding a layer of subtle symbolism.

Key facts
Artist Gerrit Berckheyde
Artist dates 1638 - 1698
Full title The Market Place and the Grote Kerk at Haarlem
Date made 1674
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 51.8 x 67 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1894
Inventory number NG1420
Location in Gallery Not on display
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