Many of van Goyen’s beach pictures are from Scheveningen, and the same is probably true of this one. The beach is milling with activity despite the dismal weather. The birds appear as small black dots against the violent sky, the horse carriage filled with passengers is steadily working its way away from the beach and up the dunes. The landscape is overshadowed by a threatening sky and a storm that appears to soon begin raging. Stormy skies and thunderclouds were a frequent subject in van Goyen’s monochrome landscapes. He painted countless beach pictures such as this one, which could be described as a Dutch portrait of an authentic grey day in 1638.
About the artist:
Van Goyen is one of the finest representatives of the strand of landscape painting that focused intensely on the aerial perspective. His subjects are unique for their sketch-like painting style with a limited palette, often in golden-brown nuances, known as tonal painting. His studies of light and air would later become sources of inspiration for the Impressionists in the 1800s. Throughout his 35-year career, van Goyen produced more than 1200 paintings and at least that many drawings, including hundreds of nature studies carried out during his many walks around The Netherlands.