Saturday, November 11, 2017

17th-century Painted Landscapes (Inhabited)

Landscape with bathing women
ca. 1621
oil on canvas
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Esaias van de Velde
Landscape with travellers crossing a bridge before a small dwelling
oil on panel
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Cornelis van Poelenburgh
The seven children of the Winter King
oil on panel
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

More children were born to the Winter King after these seven (above)  there were thirteen in all, and most of them lived to grow up.  Princess Sophia, not yet born in this picture, became the foundress of the Hanoverian line that continues to sit on the English throne today.  The Winter Queen, her mother, was Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James I of England.  She was the older sister of Charles I and married Frederick V of the Palatinate, who became King of Bohemia shortly after their wedding.  However, as Protestants they were driven out of Prague after ruling there for less than one year, victims of the raging Reformation wars of northern Europe that ruined so many 17th-century lives.  Elizabeth and Frederick became permanent exiles. The children mostly made reasonably good royal or quasi-royal matches, all the same.

Jacob van Ruisdael
Oaks at lakeside with waterlilies
oil on canvas
Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Claude Lorrain
Landscape with goatherd and goats
ca. 1645
oil on canvas
National Gallery, London

Herman van Swanevelt
Italian landscape with bridge
oil on canvas
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London


"There appear to be four such filters through which we can best view these pictorial worlds: the expectation sets of drama, rhetoric, Utopianism and metaphysics.  Through the filters of drama and rhetoric the landscape reveals itself as a setting for human fate, for emotions and actions.  Utopianism casts a different light, evoking the dream of some longed-for perfect life, while in a metaphysical light we ask ourselves whether the order visible in the pictorial space of these landscapes springs from the eternal verities of ideas or of God.  The term 'ideal landscape' is employed in the literature of art history on the basis of an implicit but vague agreement as to what is actually meant.  The ground common to every use of the term is some association with the landscape paintings of Annibale, Poussin and Claude.  Outside this permanent trio the designation can be extended in various directions, sometimes as far forward as to include even the romantic visions of nature of nineteenth-century artists."

 Margaretha Rosshohlm Lagerlöf, from the introduction to Ideal Landscape: Annibale Carracci, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, translated from Swedish by Nancy Adler (Yale University Press, 1990)

Salomon van Ruysdael
River landscape with ferry
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi
Classical landscape
ca. 1650-70
oil on canvas
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Philips Koninck
Dutch Panorama - Landscape with distant view of Haarlem
oil on canvas
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

Aelbert Cuyp
Evening landscape with figures and sheep
ca. 1655-59
oil on canvas
Royal Collection, Great Britain

Francisco Collantes
Landscape with shepherds
before 1656
oil on panel
Prado, Madrid

Gaspard Dughet
Landscape in the Roman Campagna
ca. 1670
oil on canvas
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

"Nature in the ideal landscape is a composed nature; it does not specifically match the appearance of any particular place, even though ideas are often given recognizable Roman forms.  The way the natural elements are combined reflects a choice, a statement about the world as it ought to be.  Light and water emerge as the primary ingredients of nature, with trees testifying to fertility and abundance.  Whether or not the artists reflected consciously upon the constituents of nature, they certainly succeeded in depicting the best conditions for human life: luxuriant trees, light and water.  To this they add specific features from the Roman Campagna: the stony ground and distant mountains, lucidity rather than lushness."

 Margaretha Rosshohlm Lagerlöf, from Ideal Landscape: Annibale Carracci, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, translated from Swedish by Nancy Adler (Yale University Press, 1990)

Domenico Gargiulo
Rebecca and Eliezer at the well
before 1679
oil on canvas
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

Claude Lorrain
Landscape with Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene
oil on canvas
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt