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Aert van der Neer, A View along a River near a Village at Evening

Key facts
Full title A View along a River near a Village at Evening
Artist Aert van der Neer
Artist dates 1603/4 - 1677
Date made 1660s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 133.5 × 167.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1864
Inventory number NG732
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A View along a River near a Village at Evening
Aert van der Neer

This is one of Aert van der Neer’s largest paintings. A river takes centre stage, stretching into the middle distance beyond and reflecting back the slanting light of an evening sky and the darker shadows of the boats and trees.

These effects and this mood are typical of van der Neer’s work, but usually his views are more open; this picture has a rather more secretive feel. We can see the houses on each bank only obliquely between the trees and hedges, catching a glimpse of the occasional fancy gable, an elaborate entrance gate and, on the far left, a smart garden pergola.

There is some evidence from early sales catalogues that it may be a view of Maarssen, which is on the River Vecht and about five miles from Utrecht. However, it is probably an idealised scene designed to present a pleasing prospect.

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