A View in Cologne

The construction of Cologne Cathedral was begun in the middle of the 13th century, continued through the 14th and 15th centuries and was discontinued in the mid-16th century; it was only completed in 1842-80.

Here, the unfinished cathedral is seen from the west. The crane on top of the tower was already in position by the second half of the 15th century, and was not removed until 1868. As the surrounding buildings and streets no longer exist, it is not possible to determine the accuracy of this view. Parts of the cathedral are incorrectly rendered.

This painting is the earliest and best of a group of versions of this view (see also St Petersburg, Hermitage; London, Wallace Collection; Manchester, City Art Gallery). The figures may be by Adriaen van de Velde; their costumes suggest a date in the first half of the 1660s.

Key facts

Artist dates
1637 - 1712
Full title
A View in Cologne
Date made
about 1660-5
Medium and support
Oil on oak
33.1 x 42.9 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1871
Inventory number
Location in Gallery