Landscape with Cumulus Clouds

In this rapidly painted, atmospheric sketch, the expansive landscape stretching to the distant horizon is dwarfed by a huge sky of white cumulus clouds. Schelfhout uses a range of whites and greys to give the clouds volume, and dabs of white paint to highlight the reflection of the sunlight on them. The lightness and economy of his brushwork gives the sketch a fresh feeling.

This work is related to a finished picture of a 'Landscape near Haarlem' of 1839 (London, Victoria and Albert Museum). Underdrawing for a different, mountainous landscape and squaring lines are visible in the foreground of the sketch, suggesting that it was painted over an earlier composition, perhaps abandoned by the artist.

Key facts

Artist dates
1787 - 1870
Full title
Landscape with Cumulus Clouds, with View of Haarlem on the Horizon
Date made
about 1839
Medium and support
Oil on paper laid on canvas
24.5 × 29.3 cm
Acquisition credit
The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery
Inventory number
Location in Gallery