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This is one of at least four versions that Jan van der Heyden made of this scene of Cologne and its half-built medieval cathedral. It is an alluring view. He has captured the lengthy shadows and raking light of a bright morning in a city street populated with people from all walks of life.
While the layout of the building is correct, many details, such as the window traceries, are not. And some other buildings – notably the two in the right foreground – appear to be entirely made up. Van der Heyden’s concern was, most likely, to produce a pleasing view rather than a strictly accurate record.
Oil on oak
H 33.1 x W 42.9 cm