Adriaen van de Velde | Fine Dutch Landscapes

Dutch Master of Landscape | 12 October 2016 - 15 January 2017 | Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
Two studies of a reclining shepherd
Two studies of a reclining shepherd

Promoted as the world’s first major exhibition devoted to Adriaen van de Velde (1636-1672), Dulwich Picture Gallery proves once again why it is one of the leading independent museum for European Old Masters of the 1600s and 1700s.

“This exhibition brings together 60 paintings and drawings including the masterpiece The Hut” – Dulwich Picture Gallery

Opnamedatum: 2008-11-20

Adriaen van de Velde, The Hut, 1671, Oil on canvas, 76 x 65 cm © Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Van de Velde has been helmed as the Master of the Dutch Golden Age in fine landscape paintings. Characterised by precision execution, Van de Velde’s landscapes is a stage for perfectly poised figures and gentle livestock. The tranquility and idyllic nature of the Dutch Master’s paintings are built not only through his careful composition but due to his impressive collection of stock of sketches and studies, executed in preparation. They are the main cause for celebration within the exhibition. The Hut by Van de Velde, is the masterpiece of the exhibition, due to the sheer amount of preparatory drawings that has been documented to a single painting.

Herdsman and herdswoman with livestock by a stream

Adriaen van de Velde, Herdsman and herdswoman with livestock by a stream, Pen in brown and black grey wash, 17.7 x 17.7 cm, Teylers Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands

Apart from studies made in preparation of The Hut, the Dutch Master produced a superb collection of model sketches, many of which is rendered in exquisite red chalk. They are exceptional for their ability to offer a glimpse into the artist at work. They detail the revisions that brings an initially fussy image into sharp focus. An excellent example of this can be seen in A Herdman and a Women with Cows and Sheep. In the initial draft, the herdman and women are rendered with minimal lines and light ink washes. Lines are broken and freely applied in an organic manner that evokes movements. The secondary sketch, probably used as a modello (an example that guides the final painting) is much more rigid in its precision. Figures are placed in a balanced position, attention is paid to realism. The idealism within Van de Velde’s landscape is enabled through his preparatory studies, which offers the artist a stock of images to position and rearrange within his landscapes to stimulate a picturesque scene.

Two studies of a reclining shepherd

Adriaen van de Velde, Two studies of a reclining shepherd, 1666-1671, red chalk over a sketch in black chalk, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt

One of the most sought-after names among collectors in the eighteenth and nineteenth century” – Dulwich Picture Gallery

A re-occuring theme within Van de Velde’s landscapes and sketches are his play of light. The artist is careful to retain consistency with his use of light angles, to enable a reconfiguration of his stock images within a scene. Further, his ability to conduct light to evoke the warmth of the Mediterranean has seen many of his Dutch landscape be mistakenly attributed to be of Italian origin. It is not surprising, since pillowing white clouds against bright cerulean skies are one of the key features within Van de Velde’s landscapes, as well as underlying orange tones. His use of light effects foreshadowed landscape paintings of his contemporaries.

Leinwand (1658) Adriaen van de Velde [1636 - 1672] Objektma· 52,6 x 73,8 cm Inventar-Nr.: GK 374

Adriaen van de Velde, The beach at Scheveningen, 1658, Oil on canvas, 52.6 x 73.8 cm, © Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister.

Head down to Dulwich Picture Gallery to see these evocative Dutch landscapes and the sketches that guided their conception. Dutch Master of Landscape is on show until the 15th of January 2017.

Dulwich Picture Gallery
Gallery Road
London SE21 7AD

Opening Times
Tues- Sun: 10.00 – 17.00
Closed Monday (Except Bank Holidays)

Ticket Pricing

Adult: £12.50
Senior: £11.50
Students/ Unemployed/ Disabled: £7
Art Fund / Museum Assocaition Members: £11.50
Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery/ Under 18s: Free