Landscape with Cumulus Clouds

about 1839, Andreas Schelfhout

The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery, © Private collection 2000. Used by permission

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In this rapidly painted, atmospheric sketch, the expansive landscape stretching to the distant horizon is dwarfed by a huge sky of white cumulus clouds. Schelfhout uses a range of whites and greys to give the clouds volume, and dabs of white paint to highlight the reflection of the sunlight on them. The lightness and economy of his brushwork gives the sketch a fresh feeling.

This work is related to a finished picture of a 'Landscape near Haarlem' of 1839 (London, Victoria and Albert Museum). Underdrawing for a different, mountainous landscape and squaring lines are visible in the foreground of the sketch, suggesting that it was painted over an earlier composition, perhaps abandoned by the artist.

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