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Philips Koninck, An Extensive Landscape with a Road by a River

Key facts
Full title An Extensive Landscape with a Road by a River
Artist Philips Koninck
Artist dates 1619 - 1688
Date made 1655
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 137.4 × 167.7 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1971
Inventory number NG6398
Location Room 19
Collection Main Collection
An Extensive Landscape with a Road by a River
Philips Koninck

This imaginary landscape in the flatlands of the Low Countries conjures a remarkably effective illusion of a vast panorama opening up before us. Koninck has used two particular techniques to create this effect. He’s made the figure in the middle ground the most prominent and painted the landscape around him in a more detailed way than the foreground and far distance. It’s an innovative technique, replicating the way our eyes work when we gaze into the distance – we focus on one point and the rest blurs slightly.

Koninck has also taken a more conventional approach to creating a sense of space, depicting a series of ripple-like horizontals formed by the hedges, fields, patches of water and distant hills. They seem to form a series of low waves spreading out from the long flat horizon. There are no vertical lines to disrupt them or to frame the edges of the panorama.

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