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Jan van der Heyden, A Farm among Trees

Key facts
Full title A Farm among Trees
Artist Jan van der Heyden
Artist dates 1637 - 1712
Date made about 1670
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 22.1 × 28.8 cm
Acquisition credit Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876
Inventory number NG993
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Farm among Trees
Jan van der Heyden

There is something rather mysterious about this rare – and tiny – landscape by Jan van der Heyden, who specialised in painting urban scenes in a highly precise and realistic way. In this picture he has, instead, thrown a sort of veil over the buildings, a screen of trees which obscures our view.

The sense of mystery is enhanced by the lighting effects. Van der Heyden suggests a day of bright sunny spells. Grey clouds loom, but there is plenty of blue in the sky and the tops of the trees seem to be caught by sunshine. The air is warm, too: the cowherd on the river bank has rolled up his trousers and is happy to leave one leg dangling in the water.

Despite this warmth, there is deep shade in the foreground and gloom in the underwood, and the pool reflects back only the sombre shadows of the trees and buildings.

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