Meyndert Hobbema (1638 - 1709): A Watermill beside a Woody

Meyndert Hobbema (1638 - 1709): A Watermill beside a Woody

4/25/2021, 10:51:39 AM
Meyndert Hobbema (1638 - 1709): A Watermill beside a Woody Lane (detail), 1665 or 1668, Oil on panel, 52.3 x 68.2 cm, Royal Collection Trust, Windsor Castle, UK Together with Jacob van Ruisdael, Meyndert Hobbema was was one of the most important of the realist landscape painters in the 'Dutch Golden Age'. His paintings depict local scenes in which the vegetation is less dense than in Ruisdael's compositions. The mood of Hobbema's landscapes is usually one of calm. He was especially admired by 17th- and 18th-century English collectors, and his work consequently exercised an important influence on British landscape painting. Watermills were a common motif in Hobbema’s paintings. The well-worn mill here looks in need of a new roof, and is probably based on an actual building in Deventer. In the painting Hobbema transforms a mundane view of everyday life into a charming scene of fairytale innocence. The winding path on the right curves around away from the watermill, teasing attention away from the main motif. The predominant use of an orange and brown palette is typical of the artist and also lends the painting an appealing brightness. Figures inhabit this idyllic space; a woman and child sit to the side of it, and a man – possibly the mill owner – crosses a bridge to enter the mill. These distinct characters blend seamlessly with their surroundings and, together with the birds which swoop close to the water, harmoniously interact with nature. The fictional world that Hobbema creates similarly seduces the viewer with the imaginary sounds of rustling leaves and splashing water and with images of contentment: houses nestling amongst trees; calm clouds reflected in the surface of the water. (Royal Collection Trust)

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