The dappled light of trees along a country byway provides Roelofs an opportunity to study the varying qualities of paint. Depicting not so much the land itself as the effects of sun and shadow, he captures the humid atmosphere of a summer day. Such simple, seemingly unedited views of nature contrasted greatly with the carefully composed landscapes of previous generations.
A student at the Hague art academy from the age of 17, Willem Roelofs became a well-known landscapist who inspired the tonal painters of the Hague School. He lived in Brussels in mid-career before returning to the Hague. Roelofs was an active etcher and lithographer as well as a painter.