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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