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Jacob Maris, A Drawbridge in a Dutch Town

Key facts
Full title A Drawbridge in a Dutch Town
Artist Jacob Maris
Artist dates 1837 - 1899
Date made about 1875
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 30.2 × 22.7 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by J.C.J Drucker, 1910
Inventory number NG2710
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Drawbridge in a Dutch Town
Jacob Maris

The everyday quality of this simple functional bridge may have particularly appealed to Jacob Maris, and he paints it without embellishment or narrative incident. He also made a watercolour of the same view in 1875, but in this oil painting he emphasises the bridge’s monumentality by increasing the distance between it and the row of houses on the right. He may also have changed the surrounding buildings – for example, by substantially reducing their height – to allow the bridge to stand out against the sky.

Both the bridge and our position in relation to it are very similar to an oil painting by Jacob Maris’s brother, Matthijs Maris, titled The Nieuwe Haarlemse Sluis on the Singel (also known as Souvenir d’Amsterdam). Painted in 1871 while he was living in Paris, Matthijs’s picture was based upon a photograph he had bought in Amsterdam in 1860 that shows the Haarlem sluice on the Singel canal where it flows into Amsterdam’s waterfront.

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