Who is Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen?

By Gwylym Owen

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Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen (c. 1576 – 29 December 1633) was a Dutch Golden Age painter.

Van Wieringen was born and died in Haarlem. He was the son of a Haarlem captain, and drew, painted and etched in imitation of his links Hendrick Goltzius and Cornelis van Haarlem. He also held important positions in the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke, the painters’ guild, where he became a aficionado in 1597.

He specialized in paintings depicting ships and sea battles, and established orders from the municipal councils of Haarlem and Amsterdam. He painted the most popular picture of the Damiaatjes legend of Haarlem, showing how a Haarlem ship broke the protective chain at Domyat, Egypt during the Fifth Crusade, resulting in an important victory greater than Islam. This painting was such a completion that it was reordered in tapestry form, and both pieces are in the stock of the Frans Hals Museum.

The city of Haarlem archives still hold the indigenous records of the 1629 order to Van Wieringen to make the tapestry, the largest made in the 17th century (10.75 meters long and 2.40 meters high). This tapestry yet hangs on the wall of the Haarlem City Hall council meeting room known as the vroedschapskamer, where it was installed. It is upon public display once a year on Monument Day.

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