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Jan van Huchtenburgh, A Battle

Key facts
Full title A Battle
Artist Jan van Huchtenburgh
Artist dates 1647 - 1733
Date made about 1680
Medium and support Oil on canvas, stuck on an oak panel
Dimensions 42.8 × 58.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Richard Simmons, 1847
Inventory number NG211
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Battle
Jan van Huchtenburgh

This picture is unsigned, but is attributed to Jan van Huchtenburgh – a specialist painter of battle scenes – on the basis of a stylistic comparison with other works signed by him.

The way he has created a sense of depth is particularly interesting here. In the immediate foreground we are confronted directly with the reality of war – the bodies of two soldiers and a horse lie dead or wounded and four horsemen engage in close combat immediately behind them. The smoke from the pistols suggests that this is the moment when two more men or horses are about to fall. A line of infantrymen, pikes raised, appears to be charging on the right while, on the left, another skirmish and two retreating horsemen lead our eye back to a village burning in the distance.

This scene is probably not intended to represent a specific battle but belongs to a category of paintings based on the French campaigns in the Netherlands in the 1670s.

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