Dutch country landscapes

From the 1620s, a typical Dutch landscape painting emerged, fundamentally realistic, with a characteristic attention to atmospheric perspective and light rendering. At the same time, the compositions became tighter and more sober, based on clear horizontal and diagonal lines. The horizon was deliberately kept low, leaving plenty of room for the characteristic wide Dutch cloudy skies. Important representatives of this direction are Jan van Goyen, Aert van der Neer, Salomon van Ruysdael and Pieter de Molijn.
Around the middle of the Golden Age, Dutch landscape painting went a step further in terms of style development. The atmospheric attention remained, but an increasing emphasis was placed on the expressiveness of the composition. This was mainly expressed in the strong light and dark contrasts. The cloudy skies in particular became more and more impressive. The main aim was to emphasize the greatness of nature (“God’s creation”), which was often accentuated by the addition of individual elements, such as a heroic tree, a mill or a tower. Often these were painted from below to increase the dramatic effect. Main exponents of this development were Jacob van Ruisdael, generally regarded as the master of the Dutch landscape, and his pupil Meindert Hobbema, whose work would become very popular in England. Jan van Kessel, Jan Wijnants and Philips Koninck also belong in that list.

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