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Isack van Ostade, The Outskirts of a Village, with a Horseman

Key facts
Full title The Outskirts of a Village, with a Horseman
Artist Isack van Ostade
Artist dates 1621 - 1649
Date made 1640s
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 56.8 × 49.7 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG847
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Outskirts of a Village, with a Horseman
Isack van Ostade

Life seems to amble along in this painting: there’s time for the horseman to pause, for the man beside him to communicate with his dogs and for two people to chat. The countryside setting appears almost timeless, though Isack van Ostade has explored the effects of time. Light flickers up the wall of the old, crumbling house, revealing the rich browns and ochre of the brick, the wood and the rusting metal. Smoke comes from the chimney although the house seems otherwise deserted, its thatch thinning and weeds growing from the roof.

The painting is typical of van Ostade’s country scenes, with detail to be explored, skilfully depicted objects, and subtle colours and textures giving realism and mood. Although prolific, he died young and his painting career only lasted a decade, so his considerable promise was never fulfilled.

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