Skip to main content

Aelbert Cuyp, A Hilly Landscape with Figures

Key facts
Full title A Hilly River Landscape with a Horseman talking to a Shepherdess
Artist Aelbert Cuyp
Artist dates 1620 - 1691
Date made about 1655-60
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 135 × 201.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG53
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Hilly Landscape with Figures
Aelbert Cuyp

The scarlet coat of the horseman catches our attention and we instinctively follow the direction of his whip, which he points away into the distance. And the concept of distance – just as much as the animals and figures in the foreground – is at the heart of this painting. Aelbert Cuyp has constructed the scene so that our eye is consistently drawn from near to far. A series of diagonal lines leads away towards the unseen horizon and is repeated several times, receding ever deeper into the landscape.

Cuyp has also infused the scene with a deep pastoral tranquillity. The golden glow of the evening sun highlights the contentment of the livestock, especially the cattle which lie quietly chewing in the centre of the scene. Cuyp was especially well-known for his cows – for his ability to make them seem real, to suggest the weight of their horned heads, their sleepy eyes, their solidity and their strength.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo