Jan van Goyen

Landscape with Oak

Landscape with Oak
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Jan van Goyen
Landscape, Painting, Oil on canvas, 87x105 cm
Origin: Holland, 1634

Van Goyen is famed for his marvellous landscapes, depicting his native Holland. In this typical work of the 1630s, we see a landscape with a peasant's cottage. The old house seems to have taken root in the ground just like the gnarled oak, and they form a comfortable pair. The simple landscape motif provokes thoughts on life and its meaning: the age-old oak has put out young shoots, birds fly towards it, attracted by the emerald green leaves, they perch on the roof of the decrepit cottage.

Van Goyen uses a free painterly style, broad strokes conveying the texture of the tree roots. He creates a pattern of leaves with little spots of various shades of green. The somewhat sketchy figures of peasants and riders nonetheless reveal a keen observer's eye. Goyen's landscapes of the 1630s put particular emphasis to light, with sharp contrasts of light and shade, but he had yet to arrive at the unification of all the elements of the composition through a single harmonious tone and the creation of a sense of light and air.

Source of entry: Gatchina Palace Museum, 1920
Exibition: Dutch art: 17th century

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