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Jacob de Wet the Elder, A Landscape with a River at the Foot of a Hill

Key facts
Full title A Landscape with a River at the Foot of a Hill
Artist Jacob de Wet the Elder
Artist dates active 1632; died after 1675
Date made probably about 1646
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 53 × 72.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1891
Inventory number NG1342
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Landscape with a River at the Foot of a Hill
Jacob de Wet the Elder

This moody landscape is Jacob de Wet’s only landscape without biblical figures, though the stunted, windswept tree in the foreground and the castle tower behind it are repeated – with variations – in his painting Abraham and Melchizedek (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin). At this point in the development of landscape painting, pictures of country scenes were considered lower in status than scenes of stories from the Bible or from classical mythology.

It’s thought that the artist may have been a pupil of Rembrandt in the 1630s. The stormy rendering of the evening sky and the strange, rather eerie outlines of the trees against it, as well as the rushing river in the foreground, perhaps have something of Rembrandt’s sense of drama.

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