Bridge in an Italian Landscape

Adam Pynackerc.1653-54

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

"This exquisite painting is generally considered to be one of the most beautiful works at Dulwich. The remarkable drama of the figures silhouetted against the sky – a sky that opens up again below them in the reflections beneath the delicate bridge – gives the painting a special quality, and one of the most heroically poetic dogs in art, gazing into the sunset.

The handling of light and the representation of trees and foreground foliage can be directly associated with Jan Both’s Italianate views, some of which hang in this room.

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  • Title: Bridge in an Italian Landscape
  • Date: c.1653-54
  • Physical Dimensions: w527 x h438 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Notes: Recorded as signed in the 1880 cat. but this was a confusion with DPG86.
  • Work Nationality: Dutch
  • Support: Panel
  • Provenance: C. A. de Calonne; his sale, London, Skinner and Dyke, 26 Mar. 1795, lot 46; London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Further Information: "This is a perfect example of the Dutch vision of Italy. It shows how carefully these artists observed the spectrum of coloured light which occurs in the clear skies of the Mediterranean: an intense yellow surrounding the setting sun, changing through white to an equally intense blue in the top right hand corner. The transition is imperceptible, the paint surface miraculously smooth, as if a sunset has been sealed in glass. Evening light affects the way we see the earth as well as the sky, right up to the ground in front of our feet. Pynacker observes the way it picks out individual elements - the reeds, the bark and the fringes of the right-hand bushes - and sets them aglow as if on fire. No artist can suggest better than Pynacker the sensation of space, of the air circulating round every branch, and the thickness of the evening atmosphere, with its smell of dust and moisture. Dutch painters saw the Italian landscape as heroic as well as idyllic. This is an ancient Roman bridge, noble even in decay; these shepherds are the descendants of those described by Virgil. Pynacker pays homage with a suitably abased view-point, looking dramatically up through the arch, the figures silhouetted against the sky. An early work displaying the influence of Both. A copy was formerly in the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden (Harwood, no. 32a)."
  • Artist: Pynacker, Adam
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)


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