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A Road near a River

The Dutch painter Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691) captures a serene countryside landscape. Alongside the glassy river, the meandering road winds its way around the corner, beyond the painting’s edge. Two majestic trees, towering and verdant, with their broad canopies, form a central focal point at the river’s edge. The sun, beyond the left side of the painting, seems to be low in the sky and casts long shadows on the path, evoking a sense of tranquillity. Bathed in warm, golden light, figures are subtly integrated into the scene. Shepherds tend their sheep, a donkey plods along carrying a rider and their wares on its back and, in the distance, two figures are fishing on the opposite bank. The overall atmosphere is one of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.

This painting was probably one of Cuyp’s last. In 1658, he married Cornelia Boschman (1617-89), a wealthy widow with extensive property around Dordrecht, Netherlands. It seems that he retired from painting soon after, possibly owing to a combination of his increased church activity and the absence of financial pressures. Cuyp's remarkable popularity in Britain began in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. By the time that the market for his works peaked, around 1870, nearly three-quarters of all known Cuyps were in British collections.

Currently on display

Aelbert Cuyp
Gallery 4
113 x 167.6 cm
Oil on canvas
Bourgeois Bequest, 1811
Accession number