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A Hilly Landscape with Figures
Aelbert Cuyp
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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.

Key facts
Artist Aelbert Cuyp
Artist dates 1620 - 1691
Full title A Hilly River Landscape with a Horseman talking to a Shepherdess
Date made about 1655-60
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 135 x 201.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG53
Location in Gallery Room 19
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