Skip to main content
A River Scene with Distant Windmills
Aelbert Cuyp
/

Aelbert Cuyp made this painting when he was aged about 20 or 21 and it shows his early grasp of how to create a sense of distance and evoke the atmosphere of a cloudy day in the Low Countries.

At the time, Cuyp was much influenced by the landscape painter Jan van Goyen. Both artists used a very restricted colour scheme of greys, browns and greens which helps capture the mood of the prevailing weather. But they avoided too much gloominess by setting the horizon very low on the canvas so that the sky dominates, filling the composition with a sense of airiness.

Here, Cuyp showed his talent for other subtle light effects: he used the strongest shades in the foreground, where the water turns almost black, while the brightness in the middle of the painting lifts the atmosphere. The thin strip of land beyond shimmers between water and sky, and the clouds take the eye upwards.

Key facts
Artist Aelbert Cuyp
Artist dates 1620 - 1691
Full title A River Scene with Distant Windmills
Date made about 1640-2
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 35.6 x 52.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2545
Location in Gallery Room 26
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

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.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

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

Creative Commons Logo