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Meindert Hobbema, A Road winding past Cottages

Key facts
Full title A Road winding past Cottages
Artist Meindert Hobbema
Artist dates 1638 - 1709
Date made about 1667-8
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 61.3 × 84.5 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2571
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Road winding past Cottages
Meindert Hobbema

Meindert Hobbema liked nothing better than to take you for a walk. He leads us onward – patches of sun that follow one another up the canvas, but into the picture, make the image appear three-dimensional – and leaves us feeling fresh and windblown. In this painting, his trees are stunted and bent as if blown by a sea wind. Birds wheel overhead in a restless sky, the clouds scudding high and fast.

Hobbema gives us sudden glimpses of secret places between the spindly trees; even the cottages are half hidden, seeming to reveal themselves reluctantly in the undergrowth. Far ahead, where the clouds tower highest, there is perhaps a suggestion of the sea.

Outside many major towns in the Dutch Republic large parklands could often be found, open to the public, where urban people went in their leisure time. A picture of such a place would be a treasured reminder of those times.

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