Dirk Jansz. van Santen

santen

DIRK JANSZ. VAN SANTEN
ILLUMINATED AND GILDED THE MOST
PRESTIGIOUS PRINTED WORKS OF HIS TIME
IN AN EXCEPTIONALLY PAINTERLY AND
BRILLIANT MATTER
IN SO DOING HE MADE THE GOLDEN AGE
QUITE LITERALLY GOLDEN


A SURVEY


BY TRUUSJE GOEDINGS
(Amsterdam / Paulus Swaen Geldrop 1992 )

 

"Master colourist" Dirk Jansz van Santen (1637/38-1708)

 

 

Van Santen's technique - Work identified as Van Santen's - Contemporary references to Van Santen's work in catalogues and advertisements
Old references to Van Santen's work - Conclusion - Notes

In the seventeenth century, the Netherlands held a prominent position in Europe in the production of books, maps and prints.
Not only were the number, diversity and quality of printed works renown, but also the "versiering" - the application of decorative graphic elements in the coloring of maps, prints, title pages, opening and closing vignettes, etc. Little is known about the many print and map colorists, the 'const- en caertafzetters', who lived in the Netherlands at the time. Three colorists are seen as the most important artists of that time: Frans Koerten, David Reerigh, and Dirk Jansz. van Santen.
Since the work of a colorist was usually not signed, many have remained anonymous. However, the most important exception on this was Dirk Jansz. van Santen to this rule is Dirk Jansz van Santen.

Atlases and books colored by Van Santen figured among the showpieces of the most prominent collections, such as that of the Amsterdam burgomaster Nicolaas Witsen (1641-1717) or of Laurens van der Hem (1621-1678), a wealthy Amsterdam lawyer. Bibles and atlases, bound in deluxe bindings by Albert Magnus (1642-1689) and decorated by Van Santen were considered gifts worthy of princes. Travelers and poets wrote about his work. There is a reference to him in the travel account of Zacharias Konrad von Uffenbach, Merkwürdige Reisen... (Ulm, 1750-54). Von Uffenbach was the burgomaster of Frankfurt and an art collector who left a record of his visit to Amsterdam in 1711 which makes it clear that collectors competed with each other to obtain the best of what Van Santen had made(3).

Mention is also found in an occasional poem which has recently come to light, dating from 1694 and written by Anthony Jansen, the father of the well-known poet Johannes Antonides van der Goes. It is entitled De uitmuntende Boek en Kunstkamer van Joan Bus (4).
Unknown today, the collector Joannes Bus was the proud possessor of works by Van Santen, whose work is the subject of a long passage in the poem:

Wie derft van Zanten, in het mengen van de kleuren,
Gelijk staan, als hy die ten sterren op ziet beuren,
Zoo heerlijk gloeiende op het vlak papiereveld,
Gelijk die fakkels aan de luchtstreek zijn gesteld.
Uw Bibel, Karousel en Atlas goude straalen,
En Zinnebeelden, staan wilvaardig optehaalen,
Hoe 't slijtende geduld, in arbeid onvermoeit,
Al werkende, noch in van Zanten daaglijks groeit.

The colors, the gold, the patience and industriousness of Van Santen were obviously of great renown at the end of the 17th century. Recently, H. de la Fontaine Verwey started to retrieve Van Santen's work. (5).
In locating a number of atlases, Bibles and illustrated books colored by Van Santen, he has laid the basis for further research. What follows is a summary of the current state of research on Van Santen's life and work, supplemented with new information and a description of his work method.

Dirck Jansz van Santen was born in 1636/37 in Amsterdam.  He was a son of Jan Jansz van Santen who is known to have been a member of the booksellers' guild as of April 29, 1651.  Publications of Jan Jansz are known from the period 1656 to 1661'.  In 1653 Jan Jansz bought a house on Oudezijds Kerkhof (now Oudekerksplein 54) for f 4,000.  In other words, he was doing rather well.

Little is known about Dirck Jansz's youth and education.  It is possible that he traveled.  This is suggested by the comment in reference works that in addition to working in Amsterdam, he was 'apparently' in Paris.  Another indication is the relatively long period of time during which there are no personal records'.  The striking deluxe volumes of plates in the 'Cabinet du Roy' series printed by the Imprimerie Royale in Paris, the Carrousel and the Tapisseries du Roy for example, which were frequently coloured by Van Santen also suggest a connection with France.(8)
These books in large folio format with Louis' magnificent entourage spread out across them, were intended as a present and not for public sale.  Nonetheless, individual copies did find their way to auctions and were coveted collector's items.  Noteworthy in connection with this is an item in the collection of Goswin van Uylenbroek of Amsterdam.
He acquired a large share of the 'Cabinet du Roy' including a Latin edition of the Carrousel (1670).  In the auction catalogs (1729, 1741) it is called an 'Exemplar Regium', an addition not found in the description of the other volumes.  This 'Royal Copy' was colored with gold, silver and other valuable colors by Dirk Jansz Van Santen.  According to the catalogs he worked more than a whole year on it.  Could he have done so on commission for Louis XIV?(9)

Not until January 6, 1675 do we find any reference in the Amsterdam archives to Van Santen as a map colorist.  At that date, 'Dirck Jansen van Santen, kaartofsetter oudt 37 Jaren after de oude kerk', at an age of 37, he became engaged to Janneke Martens, a woman eight years his junior from Nijmegen.  He was living at the time 'behind the old church, that is to say at the same address as his father, as was his betrothed (10).

At that time Van Santen had probably been in Laurens van der Hem's employ for some years.  That wealthy collector died in 1678.  According to Uffenbach, Van Santen worked for Van der Hem '...viele Jahre lang vor sich allein in seinem Hause..... (11).

In addition to his extensive library, Van der Hem owned a famous atlas, based on the eleven-volume Atlas Maior by Blaeu (1662) and enlarged to 46 regular and 4 supplement volumes, totaling more than 2,000 maps, prints and drawings.  It has been preserved until today. This atlas was one of the important attractions of Amsterdam, partly because of Van Santen's decoration.  Among the eminent foreign visitors who came to look at it were the Medicis, the grand dukes of Tuscany.  They offered f 30,000 an enormous sum at the time, for the bound portion of the Atlas (33 volumes), but to no avail (13).
Such a sum does not reflect Van Santen's income, we should note; it is unlikely that he earned much more than a normal craftsman (14).

How long Van Santen worked for Van der Hem is not clear.  It is possible that after Van der Hem's death in 1678 he worked for the widow, who died in 1697, and then for their daughter Agaath (died 1712).

There is no documentation on how Van Santen organized his work after his period with Van der Hem.  The most likely hypothesis is that he ran a print shop himself and sold his colored maps and prints directly.  His membership in the Amsterdam Sint Lucas guild, in which he is mentioned in 1688, also points in this direction (15).
At the same time, Van Santen may have had a regular working arrangement with one or more publishers/booksellers for whom he did the coloring of illustrated books.  This is suggested in the research undertaken by W.K. Gnirrep into the possible connection between Van Santen and the writer/publisher Willem Goeree (1635-1711) (16).
Gnirrep did not find any concrete evidence for the Goeree-Van Santen link, but his research did reveal that between about 1683 and 1690 Van Santen illuminated folio Bibles with the help of model prints.  Using model prints, he could produce identically colored prints at different times, if that was what a publisher asked (17).
It is also possible that in addition to Goeree, the map publisher Johan van Keulen was a regular customer of Van Santen.  Van Keulen purchased a large share of Blaeu's material after the latter's death.  When Van Keulen died in 1689 there was an item among the outstanding debts to a certain Dirk Jansse of f 30 (18).  Was this Van Santen?

It is not inconceivable that after his employ with Van der Hem, either directly thereafter or at a later stage, Van Santen not only had his own print shop or a regular relationship with one or more publishers, but that he also worked privately for an Amsterdam collector.  Those who seem most likely as employers are Willem van Beest and Jacob Cromhout because of their large collection of Van Santens.
According to the advertisement for the auction of his library (Amsterdamse Courant, March 3, 1714), Willem van Beest owned dozens of books and prints illuminated by Van Santen (19).
At the end of his life, around 1709, Jacob Cromhout could count at least 32 atlas volumes and map books coloured by Van Santen (found in 13 catalogue numbers), most of which were in folio format (20)
Research on Van Santen collectors such as Cromhout and Van Beest might reveal more information about the colorist.
In 1684 we find reference to Van Santen in the notarial archives of Amsterdam.  In 1684 he was feeling ill enough ('sieckelijck') then to have a will drawn up for himself and his wife; on November 27, 1684 they appeared before the notary Pelgrom Blok (21).
Their only son, Jan, was baptized on August 22, 1683 was named sole beneficiary with the exception of the Orphans' court.  On December 12, 1687 a daughter was baptized.  On November 11, 1688 a child was buried; the name of the child is not given, however.
Since no further references to the son Jan Dircks are found, it is possible that he was the child who died.

The only other information about Dirck Jansz van Santen is that he died on May 23, 1708, well over the age of 70, and that he was buried in the Leidse Kerkhof in Amsterdam. This we know from an invitation to his funeral found in a large folio Bible of 1682. Unquestionably this Bible has been illuminated by the deceased himself (22).
On the funeral invitation, Van Santen is called a 'Master Colourist' (Meester Afsetter), a title which is not frequently used in connection with this profession.  His art had brought him renown and fame but not wealth; the tax office declared him to be without means.

In 1724, approaching the age of 80, his widow sold the house on Oudekerksplein for f 3,000 perhaps to go to an old people's home.  The official sale took place on March 17.  It has not been pointed out until now that an anonymous auction more than three months earlier (November 16, 1723) may have a connection with Jannetje and her move to a smaller dwelling. Among the things offered for sale were 'veel rare en konstig afgezette Kaerten' by Van Santen, 'eenige Modelle' - model books or prints - , 'eenige Schilders gereedschappen en een schoone Vryfsteen'. Jannetje Martens seems the most obvious person to have had possession of Van Santen's work materials, such as his grinding stone and model books or prints.
Unfortunately, catalogues from this auction have not been found as yet (23).
Jannetje Martens outlived her husband by 21 years.  She was buried on October 6, 1729 in the Leidse Kerkhof, having lived on Keizersgracht between Molenpad and Runstraat.  She was also declared insolvent, by Jacobus Flier (born in 1703 as Jacob Thielmans Flier).
According to the burial register of the Orphans' court she left behind a minor grandchild.  Any other descendants, the son or daughter, had presumably died.
The trail of Van Santen's descendants stops here, at least as far as we know at the present.  It may possibly be sought in the catalog of the 1723 auction, which still remains to be found, and in the Bible which contained Van Santen's funeral invitation (and in which the personal details of other families such as the Veenings and Clockeners are also included written in or bound along with the Bible).

 

Van Santen's technique

'Op 't aldersehoonste afgeschildert..,' 'sindelyk en raer afgeschildert', 'met onvermoeyelijcken arbeyt en grote kosten op 't aldersehoonste afgeschildert'.

Van Santen's contemporaries exhausted themselves in praise for his work.  What made Van Santen's colouring so distinctive?
His use of color was much freeer than that of other colourists. The tone of the colors was made to complement the gold he used so lavishly.  In his best work two other costly pigments, ultramarine and carmine are found in large amounts, mostly set against gold.  Ultramarine and gold were a very popular color combination in the seventeenth century.
Van Santen combined the colors in a somewhat impressionistic, vivid manner.  He avoided monotonous, monochromatic, dull surfaces and lines.  Characteristic of his style is a variation of color, also of borders and edging for both maps and illustrations.
Moreover, he added elements to the design, such as patterns and flower motifs to the clothing of figures, veining of stones or map frontier lines.  He gave the frontier lines a decorative treatment in the map as a whole by means of placement and by color.  He would use two or three striking colors next to each other, e.g. red, yellow and light green, sometimes accentuated by a fine golden line.  Van Santen applied transparent and opaque colours at the same time in both mixed and pure tints.  He often painted the whole surface of the map or illustration, transforming the graphic light and dark into colour.  To dark areas representing shadows, clothing pleats or the 'repoussoir', the foreground of a landscape, he applied his characteristic shiny varnish; this had the effect of brightening the dark color.

He devoted a great deal of attention to skies and horizons, frequently making use of the same color progression.  This entailed a blue sky with a great deal of opaque white, moving to pink with opaque white, and then to very light yellow with light green elements, finally to the mountain tops which in the distance are blue with a bit of pink-shaded white.  For the light and dark effects of the ground he used browns, greens and the white of the paper, either heavy or transparent colors depending on the engraving.  Less and less white is mixed with the colors as the foreground comes closer, and shadows in the foreground are treated with a heavy varnish.


Inserted prints and maps were normally cut out along the engraved border and pasted very precisely on paper of the same format as the book they were to accompany (Bible, atlas).  By using a golden or yellow inside border and a red outside border along pencil lines next to the cutting edge (often a brightly colored and gilded border scale of longitude and latitude) he obtained a decorative transition between print and underlying paper that was hardly visible.  During his best period, Van Santen was very careful and exact in this; less fastidious borders in which the colors run outside the pencil line are not unknown, however, particularly in his later work.

Above al things Van Santen distinguished himself from his contemporaries in his lavish use of gold which he applied meticulously. On maps, he applied gold not only to the decorative motifs, the legends, cartouches and coats-of-arms, but he also worked it decoratively into the map itself. He used gold for the dots representing cities; he sometimes used gold for the names of regions; and occasionally he added gold lines to the frontiers of countries or to the outlines of islands.  He did not hesitate to introduce his own inventions, that is to say elements which were not on the engraving, such as gold stars and clothing motifs. Not only were the prints and maps gilded but frequently also the table of contents, printed decorative borders or floral ornaments, title pages, initials, opening and closing vignettes, etc.


The fact that Van Santen's use of gold made his work very desirable to his contemporaries is evident in the travel report Uffenbach made of his visit to see the Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem in 1711 (25).
It also explains something of Van Santen's contribution to such a prestigious project. We quote a portion of Uffenbach's account:

'Den 9 Mart Morgens gingen wir zur Jungfer van der Hemm, um den
'schönen illuminirten Blauischen Atlas zu sehen, davor der Comte
'd'Avaux zwanzig tausend Gulden geboten, sie aber solchen vor
'fünftzig tausend hielte.  Wir cönnten nicht begreiffen, wie ein
'Blauischen Atlas so viel kosten solle; dan ob er gleich über und über
'mit goldfarbe (oder wie die Holländer sagen, met goudt en
'ultremaryn) überzogen wäre, könnte er doch so viel nicht kosten.  Ja
'ich glaube, das man in ganz holland nicht vor 10.000 gulden
'muscheln mit Goldfarbe bekommen solte.  Als sie uns aber diesen
'Atlas zeigte, begriffen wir gar bald, woher er so kostbar sey, dann
'nun kan ihn eigentlich keinen Blauischen, sonder man muss ihn einen
'recht königlichen Atlanten nennen.  Dann da jener ohne die
'Stadtbücher nur aus ellf Voluminibus bestehet, so ist dieser in drey
'und vierzig Banden, jeder hand dick, da dann die Charten und
'Beschreibungen von Blaeu lange nicht die helfte ausmachen, sondern
'es sind von einen Blauische Volumine wohl 2 his 3 gemacht, und
'überall viele mit Feder und hand gezeichnete Charten und andere
'Risse hinzu gefügt.  Es sind auch mit den Feder geschriebene
'beschreibungen dabey.  Ja es sind ganze Volumina, alles mit der Feder
'gerissen und beschricben dabey, alle ungemein schön und kostbar.
'(... ) Zweytens waren inwendig nicht allein die Titelblätter auf das
'schönste illuminirt, und zum Theil aus eigener Erfindung sauber
'gemahlt, sondern auch die grossen und Initial-Buchstaben alle
'verguldet.  Um die Schrift aber waren die margines mit allerhand
'Zierrathen bemahlt.  Die gedruckten Landcharten waren alle auf das
'zierlichste illuminirt, von dem in dem illurniniren 'berühmtesten
'Meister Dirck Janssen van Santen, so nunmehro tot isst. 
'Diesen Mann hat herr van der Hemm viele Jahre lang vor sich allein
'in seinem hause arbeiten lassen, und ihm das Geld und Farben selbst
'angeschafft, damit nichts daran gespahrt werden möge. (... ) Viertens
'war die Beschreibung sehr sauber dazu gemacht und geschrieben.
'Fünftens waren sonderliche Theile hinzugefügt, in sich haltend
'allerhand Ordnungen, Instructionen und dergleichen, die Schiffarn,
'handlung und andere Dingen in Indien betreffend.  Damit sie aber in
'gleichem Format waren, so sind die margines abgeschnitten, und
'sauber auf grosse Format-Bogen geklebt, und mit allerhand Zierrathen,
'wie die andern Blättem versehen [d.J.D.v.S.]. (...).


Uffenbach also looked at a number of illuminated manuscripts at Agaath van der Hem's and made some interesting observations about the type of gold that was used in his time.  He especially praised a breviary in quarto format.  It included many illuminated illustrations that were much more beautiful than those from the Middle Ages ('viel besser als sie sonst die Mönche gemacht haben') and made use of a great deal of gold, 'aber kein geschlagen, sondern Muschel Gold, daraus man, wie auch sonst aus der Schrift, schliessen kan, dass er ganz neu sey.'
Whether this breviary was decorated by Van Santen is not immediately clear from the catalogs which have been preserved. 
It is interesting to note that in Van Santen's time the use of gold leaf, which had to be cut and pasted, was considered old-fashioned.  Van Santen may not have used gold leaf, but what Uffenbach calls 'Muschel Gold', 'shell gold' as it was called in the seventeenth century.  The name refers to the practice of storing the gold pigments in a shell.  Much of this was imitation gold, made from copper, tin, and the like, but the finest quality was made from finely ground gold leaf.

Gold leaf was available in small booklets of approximately 5 x 5 centimeters containing a number of very thin sheets of gold.  A 17th-century method of making shell gold from gold leaf was to grind it on a rubbing stone along with honey, water and salt and then to wash it in very clean water.  The small amount of liquid gold was then placed in a shell and vinegar was added to it.  The vinegar assured a good consistency'.

Needless to say, this high-quality shell gold was very expensive and must have been paid for by the customers of large, prestigious projects, as in the case of Van der Hem. Seventeenth-century instructions for applying gold to paper have been preserved and give an indication of the complexity of this treatment.  In all likelihood, Van Santen had developed his own method for applying gold to paper. 
As far as one can tell with the naked eye, he first put on a yellow base before using a brush to apply the gold.  Scientific tests might make it possible to determine more about Van Santen's characteristic use of material, particularly about his use of gold.  This could make it easier to identify his work. 
The question remains of when and to what extent Van Santen used a particular method, technique or type of materials during his forty-year career.  The fact that his work was not always of the same quality seems to be indicated by Agaath van der Hem's remark that her copy of the Courses de Testes et de Bague (the Carrousel ) was one of the best copies Van Santen had ever made.  Goswin van Uilenbroek thought that his 'Royal Copy' of the Carrousel had more right to this title.  Uffenbach ultimately cast his vote for Agaath van der Hem's Carrousel (27).

Fontaine Verwey is of the opinion that Van Santen colored atlases in three different ways: coloring without gold; gold just for the legends, cartouches, coats of-arms and decorative motifs of a map; and gold on the maps themselves, for frontiers, cities, etc.'. Based on this, it would seem obvious that Van Santen used the first and second methods mostly in the beginning of his career when he, as one of many colorists, had to make use of his own, doubtlessly meager, supply of gold.  This would offer a possible explanation for the fact that little gold was used for Nicolaas Witsen's Blaeu atlas, which must have been decorated about 1665.  In the seventies and later Van Santen used a great deal of gold, as we see in the Atlas Blaeu-Van der Ham and in the four Bibles listed below'.

A good example of Van Santen's work during the last days of his life may be found in Van Loon's Nieuwe Zee-Atlas dated 1706 and currently located in the Municipal Archives of Haarlem'.  Almost everywhere the coloring goes beyond the borders of the illustrations (in contrast to the period in which the Bibles were colored, about 1680-1690) as do the gold decorations.  In each case, the dots for the cities are found next to the circle place designations instead of in the middle of them.  There is still a liberal and lavish use of color, but sometimes small areas have been painted thickly so that they have lost their clarity.  The colors are somewhat coarser and harsher but still with effective accents.  The whole surface is no longer painted and large areas of the paper are left blank.

Work identified as Van Santen's

Which atlases, maps, books and prints did Van Santen color?  The answer to this question is complicated by the fact that Van Santen, just as all other graphic colorists, did not sign his work.  Consequently, it is difficult to offer incontestable proof of the authenticity of his work.

Identification is made in the first place on the basis of contemporary information, supported by stylistic characteristics.  Fontaine Verwey carried out pioneering work in this area, followed by W.K. Gnirrep (31).  As a result, a number of atlases, Bibles and illustrated books have been ascribed to Van Santen with a great amount of certainty.  This offers a foundation for further attributions. 

The works which are accepted to be Van Santen's or may be attributed to him are the following:


#########1)   Van Santen's greatest achievement, the above-mentioned fifty-volume Atlas Blaeu Van der Hem has been preserved in its entirety, especially due to the fact that Van der Hem's descendants were only willing to sell it as a set.  Van Santen illuminated all the prints in this atlas and fit them to the large folio format of the Atlas by means of cutting, pasting, folding and painting.  The materials, the gold and pigments, were paid for by Van der Hem.  Van Santen worked on this Atlas in the seventies or thereabouts, a fact which was recorded by Uffenbach and by an auction catalog of November 20, 1730 (Moetjens, The Hague). 
At the time of Uffenbach's visit in 1711, he found only 43 volumes, 33 of which were bound.  It may be assumed that Van Santen was responsible for the decoration of these bound volumes.  He may have colored the prints from the other seven volumes as well.
After Van der Hem's death (1678) and that of his widow (1697), the Atlas belonged to their daughter Agaath.  She remained actively involved in its presentation, design and perhaps even completion until her death in 1712.  In the front of volume five there is a signed and colored coat-of-arms from her hand; it bears a swan, the emblem of the Van der Hem family, and is dated July 17, 1676 (32).
The Van der Hem family sold the Atlas in 1730 for f 22,000 to Prince Eugenius of Savoy; at that time it consisted of 46 volumes and four supplements'.  After Eugenius' death, his library was purchased by Kaiser Karl VI in 1737 and moved to the Hofbibliothek in Vienna, now known as the Nationalbibliothek, where the Atlas is still nowadays. The atlas may no longer be examined but a facsimile is in print.

 

 

2)   Lambert Hortensius, Van den Oproer der Wederdooperen.  Enkhuizen 1624, and C.van Sichem, Histoilsche Beschrijvinge ende Afbeeldinge der voornaamste Hooftketteren ( .. ), waarbij gevoegd zijn de groote portretten van Jan van Leyden en B.Knipperdollingh, naar Goltzius, benevens de portretten van F.Socinus, J.Slichting en Jde Labadie.

In addition to the grand Atlas, Laurens van der Hem possessed a large collection of books and prints, the greater part of which went under the hammer in 1684 (35).
More than 20 items, almost all of them deluxe volumes of plates, were announced as having Van Santen's 'seer raer en ongemeen braef' paintwork!  So far, only one of these items in the auction catalogue has been found; it was described as 'De Naeckt-loopers en hooft ketteren van Nederlandt en t'Amsterdam/ konstigh afgeschildert door Dirck Jansz-van Santen' (Hem 1684, IY. 66, no. 22).
A copy that fits this description is found in the University Library of Amsterdam and was ascribed to Van Santen by Fontaine Verwey even before the Van der Hem catalog was found; one of the reasons for this was an inscription on page Aij verso, next to the colored final vignette of the dedication which reads 'afghezet door D. Jansz van Santen N.I.'. According to an 1828 catalog description there were two such volumes, containing a combination of two older books and some separate portrait engravings, colored by Van Santen (36).
The illumination is exceptionally lavish.  A great deal of ultramarine, carmine, vermillion and gold was used for the portraits in large, opaque surfaces, sometimes heavily varnished.  In the first book Van Santen colored and gilded the title page, the legends above the two dedications, the initials, the fleurons and nine engravings portraying the fortunes of the Anabaptists.  In the second he colored the printer's borders and all of the portraits".

 

 

3)   The Atlas van Hadrianus Relandus, Meermanno-Westreenianum Museum, The Hague.

This 19-volume atlas in large folio format was purchased by Gerard Meerman in 1761 from the Relandus family.  It contains Blaeu's ll-volume Atlas Maior as well as his seven Stedeboeken (five Italian and two Dutch, all in a Latin edition) and the 1676 Dutch Zee-atlas ofte water-wereld by Pieter Goos.  In a note which has been preserved, Meerman wrote that the atlas was purchased from the Blaeu's for f 2,000 as a present for the orientalist Hadrianus Relandus.  According to Meerman, the value of the atlas was to a great extent due to the 'artifex eximius Theodorus van Santen'.  Van Santen illuminated this large atlas exceptionally carefully and lavishly.
He worked on every sheet, using gold on the maps, the title prints, printed titles, initials, coats-of-arms, etc.  The colors were for the greater part applied transparently (38).

 

4)   Hendrick Laurensz Spiegel, Hertspieghel, Wetstein, Amsterdam 1694.

An old note on the end leaf says that this copy belonged to the estate of Willem van Beest and has colored plates by 'Dirck Jansz van Zanten'.  Willem van Beest was a great Van Santen collector, as is clear from the advertisement for the auction of his estate (Amsterdamse Courant, March 3, 1714).  In the Hertspieghel, Van Santen colored the engraved title page, the title print, the portrait of Hendrik Spiegel, two large fold-out prints, including the Tabula Cebetis and eight emblematic illustrations accompanying the 'Verderfs-traps beeldschrift"'. (private collection).

 

5) Bijbel, dat is de gansche Schrifture..., J. and H. Keur, Dordrecht, M. Doomick, Amsterdam, 1682.

This 'Staten Bijbel' (the authorized Dutch version) in large folio format is found in the University Library of Amsterdam.  It has Van Santen's funeral invitation pasted in on the first end leaf.  It contains six maps engraved by Bastiaen Stoopendaal after Danckerts.  In addition, numerous prints and maps have been inserted into this copy, all of them indisputably colored and gilded by Van Santen'.
In addition to lavishly illuminating the maps and prints using gold for the cartouches, embellishments, frontiers of countries, cities, islands, etc., he also gilded the legends of the explanatory text on the back and the opening initials and closing vignettes.
Given the dating of the prints, the Bible must have been put together and bound after 1690, which suggests that Van Santen carried out his coloring work at about the same time".

 

 

6) Bijbel, dai is de gatuche Schrifture .... J. and H. Keur, Dordrecht, M. Doornick, Amsterdam, 1682.

This large Keur Bible, which is found in the library of the Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap (KOG) in Amsterdam also contains a great number of inserted and richly illuminated prints and maps.  Some are identical to the above-mentioned Bible.  The KOG Keur Bible must have been put together and bound in 1683, as W.K. Gnirrep demonstrated, which indicates that Van Santen must have been working on it at about the same time.
Since the related prints in the two Bibles are almost identically colored, despite a time difference of seven years, we conclude that Van Santen must have made use of model prints'.


 

7) Bijbel ( .. ), Elzevier, Leiden, 1663, 2 volumes (Old and New Testaments) bound by Albert Magnus.

In this 'Staten Bible' in large folio format (University Library of Amsterdam) there are a number of inserted prints colored almost identically to those in the KOG Bible.  This establishes that Van Santen was the author as well as the fact that model prints must have been used'.

 

8 )  Bijbel, dat is de gansche Schrifture .... J. and H. Kcur, M. Doornick, Dordrecht/Amsterdam, 1686.

This Keur Bible, housed in the University Library of Leiden is the most lavish of the four Van Santen Bibles known today.  This holds not only for the number of inserted prints and maps but also for the coloring.  In addition to the prints, all of the initials and vignettes are colored, which in the other Bibles was true for only some of them (44).
The more than twenty prints which this Bible has in common with at least one of the other Bibles have been colored following the same model.

 

9) Joannes van Loon, Nieuwe Zee Atlas, Van Waesbergen, Amsterdam (1706?).

The first edition of Van Loon's Klaer Lichtende Noort-star ofte Zee-wlas appeared in 1661.  This late and greatly augmented edition of the Zee Atlas is preserved in the Municipal archives of Haarlem and contains fifty maps. 
Inserted but not included in the binding is a 28-page printed description of the atlas with an engraved title print by P. Medina and E. Wright.  In the empty cartouche we find written in black and gold calligraphic letters 'Nieuwe Zee Atlas.  Afgezet door Dirk Jansz. van Zanden 1706' (45).
Van Loon's Zee Atlas from Haarlem is the latest known work to have been colored by Van Santen; in 1706 he was 69 years old.  His age explains a number of stylistic differences with the above-mentioned works.  The coloring is less fastidious and fine, the use of gold less precise.  In contrast to the Bible maps, the gold dots representing the cities are hardly ever in the center of the engraved circles.

10)   De Grooten Atlas by Blaeuw along with the two Dutch Stedeboeken, Amsterdam, 1664/1665. (The atlas of Nicolaes Witsen.)

There is an ll-volume Blaeu atlas found in the University Library of Amsterdam (UBA) in a cabinet from about 1665'.  Fontaine Verwey presumes that it belonged to Nicolaas Witsen (1629-1717).  It is found in Witsen's auction catalogue of 1728 described as 'een Kabinet met een Atlas van Blaeu, 9 deelen, benevens 2 Steedeboeken, door D.S. van Santen, curieus afgeset' (p. 15).  Its composition corresponds to that of the atlas in the UBA.
However, unlike all other known Van Santens, it has almost no gold aside from the title prints.  If the atlas in the UBA is the same as that listed in Witsen's catalog, the coloring probably dates from the beginning of Van Santen's career (approx. 1665) when he would have used less gold for financial reasons.


11) Atlas Minor, composite atlas in large folio format from the beginning of the 18th century.

Antiquariat Paulus Swaen has sold in the past a handsomely colored and gilded Atlas Minor.   This composite atlas is in large folio format from the beginning of the 18th century.  The atlas contains a title print by Romeyn de Hooghe, a handwritten index with 128 titles, 80 maps, and 2 plans by Joan Blaeu, N. Visscher, Frederick de Wit and Carolus Allard among others, and one portrait. 44 Prints, many of them probably by Romeyn de Hooghe, have been removed.  On several grounds, it may be assumed that the illumination is by Van Santen.
The maps are lavishly colored using gold and silver for the cartouches and further embellishment, the country frontiers, cities, islands, names of regions, etc.  The style is comparable to that of Van Loon's Zee Atlas in Haarlem, but makes greater use of color, gold and silver.
All 128 titles in the index, for example, are written in gold letters, combined with black ink.  The borders around the maps are frequently triple and include a scale of longitude and latitude; the variation in tone and color from red and blue-green alternating with gold yields a lively effect.
The figures around the cartouches are painted in a somewhat impressionistic way that is characteristic of Van Santen, with many contrasts, the colors set against each other very effectively.  Varnish is used for the dark shadow areas to highlight the colors.  Small gold lines which diverge from the engraved line are added to the frontiers.
Gold dots indicating the cities are not very accurately placed in the engraved circles.  The colored borders of the map have not been applied all that carefully.  Such imprecisions are also found in the Van Loon Zee Atlas from 1706.

The atlas has an allegorical title print by Romeyn de Hooghe which was originally used in Jaillot's Atlas François of 1696 (47).
This title which was included in the lower cartouche disappeared, however, under a brown layer of paint.  It was not unusual for Van Santen to cover up titles with paint to make it possible to use the print for something else".  The address of Covens and Mortier has been erased from the plate.

The maintained title, originally Atlas Novus( .. ), has been changed to Atlas Minor ( .. ). An Atlas Minor colored by Van Santen is found in contemporary sources.  In the auction advertisement of the above-mentioned collection of Willem van Beest (Amsterdamse Courant March 3, 1714) there is a reference to 'een Atlas Minor,' '(... ) ongemeen konstig en met goud doorwrogt afgezet van den vermaerden Dirk Jansz van Zanten"'.
It is possible that these copies are one and the same.
The atlas was sold at the time to a US dealer and was, sadly, then broken up !