OIL PAINTING: View Of Dordrecht, 1650
Aelbert Cuyp lived and worked in Dordrecht which, although a small provincial town, had a flourishing local school of painting. Nicolaes Maes, Samuel van Hoogstraten and Aert de Gelder also worked in the town.
Cuyp's early landscape style is close both in its grey-green palette and sketchy technique to that of Jan van Goyen but in the early 1640s his style was transformed by his encounter with the landscape style which the Utrecht artist Jan Both had developed during his stay in Italy. Cuyp never visited Italy but he developed an idiosyncratic version of Both's style. Cuyp bathed his very Dutch landscapes in a golden Italian sunlight which sparkles on the water and warms the stones of the buildings - View Of Dordrecht . Having adopted and refined his version of the Italianate landscape style, Cuyp practised it for many years of a successful career, which he ended as a member of the regent class of Dordrecht and an elder of the Reformed Church, the owner of a fine town house and an extensive country estate.
Because his style does not develop significantly his paintings are difficult to date but this view of his native town from the River Maas was probably painted in about 1655. The outline of the city is dominated by the profiles of the Groothooftspoort on the left and the squat tower of the Grote Kerk, a familiar landmark in Cuyp's many views of his home town - View Of Dordrecht, to the right.