The Wallace Collection

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The Avenue at Meerdervoort
  • Aelbert Cuyp (1620 - 1691)
  • The Avenue at Meerdervoort
  • Netherlands
  • early 1650s
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 69.8 x 99 cm
  • Signature: 'A.cuyp.'
  • P51
  • East Galleries II
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Regarded as one of the finest landscape painters of the seventeenth century, Cuyp began his career by painting tonal landscapes in the manner of Jan van Goyen. At the same time, he began to incorporate views of his native town of Dordrecht into his paintings. Around 1645, he began to assimilate the atmospheric light of the Dutch Italianates, particularly Jan Both, into his style. Dordrecht was the setting for many of his paintings. In The Avenue At Meerdervoort the artist represents an evening view looking across the Maas, with the castle of Meerdervoort on the left and a distant view of Dordrecht on the right with the Groote Kerk. This composition is an unusual combination of urban view and rural landscape, bisected by a central avenue which leads the viewer’s gaze into the picture in much the same way of Hobbema’s famous Avenue at Middelharnis (1689; London, National Gallery) was to do over thirty years later. The composition, colour and finish suggest that it was painted in the early 1650s, which makes it one of Cuyp’s earliest seigneurial subjects. It was probably commissioned by Cornelis van Beveren (1591-1663), who later added the name Meerdervoort to his surname. The picture remained in the Van Meerdervoort family until 1806. Later it belonged to the duc de Berry and to Anatole Demidoff, Prince of San Donato, at whose sale in 1868 it reached a record price for a landscape at auction when it was purchased for the 4th Marquess of Hertford for 140,000 francs (about £5,600).