JAN ANDRIANENSZ VAN STAVEREN (Leiden 1613 / 1614 – Leiden 1669)
A River Landscape with a Medieval Town
signed and dated JStaveren 1652 with the first two initials conjoined
oil on panel
12 x 17 ¼ inches (32 x 45 cm.)
It is unknown who Jan Adriansz van Staveren studied with although traditionally it is thought to have been Gerrit Dou. In 1644 the painter was involved in the founding of the Guild of St. Luke in Leiden, of which he would remain a member his entire life. In 1667 he became the mayor of Leiden. He specialized in genre, portraits, history pieces, and landscapes featuring medieval buildings. His works formed part of the permanent collections of the cities of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, The Hague, Moscow, Stockholm, and Watford.
In this panel Van Staveren has created an architectural tour de force of medieval structures. In the center of the composition, the remains of a square tower stand embedded in the city wall close to the main gate. Near the gate is a minaret-like statue. Smaller buildings line the crenellated outside walls ending in an almost completely demolished tower. Extending to the water’s edge is a rounded double tower with battlements and a pointed peak. Within the confines of the town, a squat intact tower and gabled house are visible. While a fashionably dressed gentleman, complete with walking stick, stands in the middle of the composition, more exotic figures are discernible to his right. The river meanders off to a distant horizon. In truth Van Staveren has painted a world of fantasy intended to entice the viewer into an alternate reality.
 Piet Bakker, “Jan Adriaensz van Staveren” in The Leiden Collection Catalogue, at www.theleidencollection.com/archive.