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Lodewijck van Ludick, A River between Rocky Cliffs

Key facts
Full title A River between Rocky Cliffs, with a Waterfall on the left
Artist Lodewijck van Ludick
Artist dates 1629 - before 1697
Date made about 1670
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 53.5 × 66.4 cm
Acquisition credit Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876
Inventory number NG1007
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A River between Rocky Cliffs
Lodewijck van Ludick

In the seventeenth century, several Dutch artists went to Rome and brought back paintings and sketches. They, and others like van Ludick, used these works as a basis for imaginary paintings of the Italian landscape with a mountainous background and a softly lit Mediterranean sky. They proved very popular with Dutch collectors and were a strong contrast to landscapes of the flat Dutch countryside.

Here, van Ludick shows a high, craggy cliff with a castle on one side, the round tower of which seems to reach the clouds. On the other side the cliffs are only slightly lower, and the two seem to threaten the tiny travellers wading through the water in the chasm between them. Two elegant riders pace back and forth, perhaps waiting for them, perhaps waiting their turn to cross. Only the warm gold of the sky eases the sense of danger that van Ludick evokes.

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