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Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp (October 20, 1620 - November 15, 1691) was one
of the leading Dutch landscape painters of 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 views
of the Dutch countryside in early morning or late afternoon.
Aelbert Cuyp was born in Dordrecht on October 20, 1620, and also
died there on November 15, 1691. Known as the Dutch version of
Claude Lorrain, this landscape artist went on to inherit a
considerable fortune. His family were all artists, with his uncle
and grandfather being glass stainers. Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp, his
father, was a portraitist.
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.
The Maas at Dordrecht (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)Cuyp's
drawings reveal him to be a draftsman of superior quality.
Light-drenched washes of golden brown ink depict a distant view of
the city of Dordrecht or Utrecht. A Cuyp drawing may look like he
intended it to be, a finished work of art; but it was most likely
taken back to the studio and used as a reference for his paintings.
Often the same section of a sketch can be found in several different
Cuyp signed many of
his works but rarely dated them, so that a chronology of his career
has not been satisfactorily reassembled. A phenomenal number of
paintings are ascribed to him, some of which are likely to be by
other masters of the golden landscape, such as Abraham Calraet
(1642–1722), whose initials A.C. may be mistaken for Cuyp's.
everyone appreciates his work and River Landscape (1660), despite
being widely regarded as amongst his best work, has been described
as having "chocolate box blandness".