Pieter Paul Rubens

Landscape with Stone Carriers

Landscape with Stone Carriers
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Pieter Paul Rubens
Landscape, Painting, Oil on canvas, 86x126.5 cm
Origin: Flanders, Circa 1620

This picture portrays carriers taking a wagon heavily laden with stones along an uneven path on an overgrown hillside and huge rocky cliff that divides the composition of the painting into two parts. On the right the panorama opens onto a hilly landscape which disappears in the distance; and to the left there are dark trees and a river which is lit by the full moon. The simultaneous presence in the picture of both day and night possibly indicates a link between Rubens's work and late medieval ideas about light and dark as symbols of life and death. On the one hand, the unusual lighting could have been the result of the artist's wish to convey a brief instant in nature when the sun is disappearing behind the horizon and the moon has already risen into the night sky. It is also possible that the painting illustrates the 19th verse of Psalm 104: ?He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down?.

Stylistically the canvas Landscape with Stone Carriers belongs to Rubens's early landscapes with impasto application of paint, contrasting motifs and staffage, which underscore the dramatic tension of the work. This allows us to suppose that the painting was made around 1620.

Style: Baroque
Source of entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779
Exibition: Flemish Art: 17th century

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