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Aert van der Neer, An Evening View near a Village

Key facts
Full title An Evening View near a Village
Artist Aert van der Neer
Artist dates 1603/4 - 1677
Date made about 1650
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 121.5 × 162.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lord Farnborough, 1838
Inventory number NG152
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
An Evening View near a Village
Aert van der Neer

Although the vast majority of the picture is taken up by the landscape, our perception of it hinges on the two figures standing in the gateway. The angle created by the dead tree and stumps in the left foreground guides our gaze to them, as does the red dress of the milkmaid, which stands out strongly against the deep green background.

A silvery thread of light reflects off the path running down to the muddy foreshore and then the winding creek beyond. Finally it leads to a distant sailing boat and a tiny windmill on the skyline. This meandering line gives depth to the picture, connecting us with the far horizon, and subtly divides the landscape into two halves. The town and church stand to the right, with what seems to be a moated country house to the left. These are probably not depictions of real places, but an arrangement which Aert van der Neer created in the studio for pleasing effect.

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