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Moses van Uyttenbroeck, Landscape with Mythological Figures

Key facts
Full title Landscape with Mythological Figures
Artist Moses van Uyttenbroeck
Artist dates about 1595 - before 1647
Date made 1628
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 56 × 86.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1982
Inventory number NG6476
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Landscape with Mythological Figures
Moses van Uyttenbroeck

In the shadow of a group of Roman ruins, a nude woman stands on a low rock with her back to us, her long hair caught up to reveal shoulders and narrow waist. A young lad, crowned with a wreath of leaves and cradled in a peasant woman’s lap, gazes at her. She appears to be trying to turn his face away from the voluptuous figure.

This would be a good beginning to the illustration of a classical story. But which story? Suggestions have been made, but none quite fits the characters van Uyttenbroeck shows. At this time, landscape painting was still considered a lower form of art than pictures of historical events or classical myths. In order to elevate their work artists included classical figures.

The figures in van Uyttenbroeck’s painting have not been identified, but are an excuse to paint a detailed view, using texture and light to lead the eye from place to place in an imaginary landscape.

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