By Dordrechts Museum
Photographer: Bob Strik
Horsemen Resting in a Landscape (1660) by Aelbert CuypDordrechts Museum
With a golden glow, Cuyp gives a Dutch landscape a southern touch.
The golden light, which seems to come from diagonally behind the painting, became his trademark.
Calm cows bask in the afternoon sun. Further away, by the water, two travelers do the same.
This idyllic landscape seems made for it: just stare into the distance and enjoy the warmth, the light, the tranquility. Typical Cuyp.
Cuyp lived in Dordrecht all his life and never traveled far. He saw mountains near Cleves, just over the German border.
Buttocks in the sun
Cuyp did a lot of work on the horse's buttocks and tail and put them prominently in the picture.
Up close it's easy to see how Cuyp painted the fur of the horse, with spots and touches in different shades of gray and white. With a sunny golden haze.
The horses have horseshoes with 'turkey'-studs, for more grip.
Those turkeys stand out, but oddly enough, the irons themselves are invisible.
Because Cuyp also made equestrian portraits, it's thought that these are portraits of wealthy residents of Dordrecht.
However, that doesn't seem to be the case. The faces have no characteristic features and the men do not look at you. They are more standard types.
The 'Hungarian' hunting outfits of the riders probably come from the dress-up box in Cuyp's studio.
You will find them in more of his paintings. Exotic costumes were popular.
The hunting dogs are a sign that the men have been hunting. Hunting, especially on horseback, was a privilege of the nobility for a long time.
Cuyp's clientele consisted largely of elite residents of Dordrecht who wanted to profile themselves with hunting and lands.
Horsemen resting in a landscape
Collection Dordrechts Museum, purchased with support of Vereniging Rembrandt, 1978 Photographer: Bob Strik
The story of Dordrecht’s greatest painter is unique. Aelbert Cuyp was very much a local artist in his day, virtually unknown beyond his hometown. He lived and worked his entire life in Dordrecht and the buyers of his landscapes came almost exclusively from his birthplace. It was only after his death that he was discovered by English collectors and artists.