25 Dreamlike Paintings of 19th-Century Dutch Towns and Cities

Self portrait as a firewood gatherer walking along a frozen canal.
Self-portrait as a firewood gatherer walking along a frozen canal.

Cornelis Springer (1817-1891) specialised in the arrangement and accurate representation of town scenes. His paintings were in such high demand that he had a two-year waiting list.

Raised in a family of architects and building contractors, he learned early to appreciate the beautiful buildings of Amsterdam.

Learning perspective drawing from his brother Hendrick—a professional architect—he completed his studies at the Amsterdam Academy of Fine Arts under instruction from Kaspar Karsen, a famous townscape painter.

Cornelis Springer’s beautiful scenes depict people going about day-to-day life—gathering at the fish market, unloading horse-drawn carts, merchants selling goods, or businessmen in conversation outside elegant canalside buildings.

With a keen eye for the social and economic activities that drive a city, Springer brings to life the beauty of Dutch architecture.

Altstadtmarkt in Brunswijk by Cornelis Springer
Altstadtmarkt in Brunswijk by Cornelis Springer
Zuiderhavendijk, Enkhuizen by Cornelis Springer, 1868
Zuiderhavendijk, Enkhuizen by Cornelis Springer, 1868
A View of a Town along the Rhine by Cornelis Springer
A View of a Town along the Rhine by Cornelis Springer
Altstadtmarkt in Brunswijk by Cornelis Springer
Altstadtmarkt in Brunswijk by Cornelis Springer
A View of Franeker with the Zakkend Ragerschuisje by Cornelis Springer
A View of Franeker with the Zakkend Ragerschuisje by Cornelis Springer

Cheese market with the Weigh house in Enkhuizen by Cornelis Springer, 1867
Cheese market with the Weigh house in Enkhuizen by Cornelis Springer, 1867
Cornelis Springer, The Gemeenlandshuis and the Old Church, Delft by Cornelis Springer, 1877
Cornelis Springer, The Gemeenlandshuis and the Old Church, Delft by Cornelis Springer, 1877
Village View by Cornelis Springer
Village View by Cornelis Springer
A View of the Delftse Vaart and Saint Laurens Church, Rotterdam by Cornelis Springer, 1840
A View of the Delftse Vaart and Saint Laurens Church, Rotterdam by Cornelis Springer, 1840
Figures on a Market Square in a Dutch Town by Cornelis Springer, 1843
Figures on a Market Square in a Dutch Town by Cornelis Springer, 1843

Study for View on Den Haag by Cornelis Springer
Study for View on Den Haag by Cornelis Springer
The town hall at Leiden by Cornelis Springer, 1870
The town hall at Leiden by Cornelis Springer, 1870
The Orphanage On The Hooglandse Kerkgracht, Leiden by Cornelis Springer
The Orphanage On The Hooglandse Kerkgracht, Leiden by Cornelis Springer
City View at Hoorn by Cornelis Springer
City View at Hoorn by Cornelis Springer
Market Oudewater by Cornelis Springer
Market Oudewater by Cornelis Springer

The bend in the Herengracht by Cornelis Springer, 1882
The bend in the Herengracht by Cornelis Springer, 1882
Walenkerk Haarlem by Cornelis Springer
Walenkerk Haarlem by Cornelis Springer
View of Montelspran by Cornelis Springer
View of Montelspran by Cornelis Springer
View on Enkhuizen by Cornelis Springer
View on Enkhuizen by Cornelis Springer
Voorburgwal in Amsterdam by Cornelis Springer
Voorburgwal in Amsterdam by Cornelis Springer

Many Figures On The Market Square In Front Of The Martinikirche, Braunschweig by Cornelis Springer
Many Figures On The Market Square In Front Of The Martinikirche, Braunschweig by Cornelis Springer
St. Michael Church in Zwolle by Cornelis Springer, 1862
St. Michael Church in Zwolle by Cornelis Springer, 1862
A view of the Staal Everspijp and the Grote Kerk in summer, Enkhuizen by Cornelis Springer, 1866
A view of the Staal Everspijp and the Grote Kerk in summer, Enkhuizen by Cornelis Springer, 1866
A View of the Delftse Vaart and Saint Laurens Church, Rotterdam by Cornelis Springer, 1840
A View of the Delftse Vaart and Saint Laurens Church, Rotterdam by Cornelis Springer, 1840
View behind the Grote Kerk in Naarden by Cornelis Springer
View behind the Grote Kerk in Naarden by Cornelis Springer

David James

David James

I'm an Englishman in Boston. History is a joy—it binds us, it connects us, it guides us. I'm interested in making history more accessible and more fun. Join me on this fantastic voyage through time.