Friday, October 20, 2017

On this day. Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp

Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp (October 20, 1620 – November 15, 1691) was one of the leading Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp (1594–1651/52), he is especially known for his large views of the Dutch countryside in early morning or late afternoon light.

Cuyp was the great interpreter of the Dutch landscape in the Italianate manner. Early landscapes like 'A River Scene with Distant Windmills' are influenced by van Goyen, some of whose paintings show Dordrecht, Cuyp's home town. The work of Utrecht painters, especially Jan Both, who returned from Italy about 1641, helped to turn Cuyp's interest towards large-scale landscapes in the Italianate manner.

Cuyp was the son of the Dordrecht portrait and animal painter, Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp. His occasional portraits, like the 'Portrait of a Bearded Man' in the Collection, reflect his training with his father. Though based in Dordrecht throughout his life, Cuyp travelled widely in Holland, making drawings. In 1658 he married a wealthy widow and appears to have painted little thereafter.

Sunlight in his paintings rakes across the panel, accentuating small bits of detail in the golden light. In large, atmospheric panoramas of the countryside, the highlights on a blade of meadow grass, the mane of a tranquil horse, the horn of a dairy cow reclining by a stream, or the tip of a peasant's hat are all caught in a bath of yellow ocher light. The richly varnished medium refracts the rays of light like a jewel as it dissolves into numerous glazed layers. Cuyp's landscapes were based on reality and on his own invention of what an enchanting landscape should be.

1 comment:

Carla Ives said...

I had heard the name of Cuyp before, but didn't recall any of the work. It's wonderful! I like all of it but I think my favorite is the big one at the top of the post with the ships. The one thing that stands out to me in all of the work is Cuyp's depiction of the clouds. They are background but quite prominent nonetheless. Beautiful!