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Famous Dutch Painters from Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland

Part 6

The Cuyp family part 2

13. Aelbert Cuyp Part 1


Note : Please do not email me with technical questions about paintings and their age and origin because I am not an expert but I only have gathered information about the Painters from the Netherlands and specially from Dordrecht.

Dordrecht is not only known as the oldest city and ancient capital of Holland but also for the many famous painters who were born or lived in Dordrecht during the late Middle ages and later centuries.

On the next pages you can find many works from these famous painters who were responsible for many styles of paintings and they immortalized the daily life and landscapes in the 15th to 19th century. Most of their masterpieces are nowadays part of collections in museums all over the world and of which many can be seen in the local Dordrechts Museum.

Aelbert Cuyp

Dordrecht 1620 - Dordrecht 1691

Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691) is the most famous member of the Cuyp family and now one of the most celebrated of all landscape painters, although he also painted many other subjects. He was the son and probably the pupil of Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp. His early works also show the influence of Jan van Goyen.

Aelbert was born and died at Dordrecht, but he seems to have travelled along Holland's great rivers to the eastern part of the Netherlands, and he also painted views of Westphalia. A prodigious number of pictures are ascribed to him, but his oeuvre poses many problems. He often signed his paintings but rarely dated them, and a satisfactory chronology has never been established. Although he had little influence outside Dordrecht, Cuyp had several imitators there, and some of the paintings formerly attributed to him are now given to Abraham Calraet (1642-1722), who signed himself `AC' (the same initials as Cuyp).

In 1658 Cuyp married a rich widow, and in the 1660s he seems to have virtually abandoned painting. He was almost forgotten for two generations after his death. Late 18th-century English collectors are credited with rediscovering his merits, and he is still much better represented in English collections, public and private, than in Dutch museums. His finest works--typically river scenes and landscapes with placid, dignified-looking cows--show great serenity and masterly handling of glowing light (usually Cuyp favored the effects of the early morning or evening sun). He approaches Clauded more closely in spirit than any of his Countrymen who traveled to Italy.

His earliest landscapes (from 1639) were influenced by Jan van Goyen, but he later discovered the Italianate views of the Utrecht painters Jan Both, and Saftleven. Though he traveled up the Rhine in 1651 or 1652, he seems rarely to have left Dordrecht and his work remained little known outside the town until the eighteenth century. Following the deaths of his father and uncle, his work assumed a somewhat grander character, to include equestrian portraits and extensive views.

He was buried on 15 November 1691 in the Augustijner church in Dordrecht. After his death in 1691, Cuyp's fame grew steadily. The greatest collector of his paintings was the eighteenth-century Dordrecht iron dealer and mint-master Johan van der Linden van Slingeland, who owned forty-one works by the artist. After the sale of his collection in 1785, many of these paintings entered collections in England, where Cuyp's works were greatly admired for their grandeur.

From the mid-eighteenth century onward, the enthusiasm for his paintings was so great in England and France that by 1800 no significant work by the master was left in the Netherlands. Since then, Cuyp's fame has spread even further and many of his finest works are now in American collections, among them masterpieces once owned by Van Slingeland. The present exhibition reunites more than forty of Cuyp's paintings for the first time in over two hundred years, presenting them along with some forty-five of the master's drawings.

Museums in Europe

The Netherlands

Dordrechts museum, Dordrecht


Resting horsemen in landscape

Aelbert Cuyp
Oil on canvas 116 x 168 cm
Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht

Cuyp likely portrayed here two members of a well known family of Dordrecht in a landscape near Cleves. The painter got frequenter such portrait assignments.Already in his own time Cuyp had much success. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century these equestrian scenes became frantic popular in the English peerage.


Landscape with flute playing herdsmen

Aelbert Cuyp
Oil on canvas 96 x 115,5 cm
Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht

This picture indicates a clear step in the development of the painter. The color and exposure are not any more monochrome, but distinct southern of character.While placing large person - and animal figures in close-up as equipoise in the scenery, Cuyp went ahead on his later equestrian portraits.


Woman in a stable interior

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1645/50
panel 66,7 x 92 cm
Dordrechts museum, Dordrecht

The woman on this painting looks towards the onlooker, while she polishes a cupper kettle. The invading light thourgh the open door, reflects a still life of vegetable, dead birds, copper and earthenware.Cows played a large role in the works of Cuyp. In the seventeenth century the cattle ranches grew more and more around Dordrecht because more land was dried from areas drowned by the St. Elisabeth flood of 1421.Wealthy families from Dordrecht financed the retaking of land, the wife of Aelbert Cuyp owned owned large much graze - and arable land in de Grote Waard around Dordrecht.


Dutch river view

Aelbert Cuyp, early 1640s
panel 42 x 65 cm
Dordrechts museum, Dordrecht

Cuyp painted this river view at the beginning of the 1640s. The use of colors is austerely.In color use Cuyp shows kinship with the Leyden scenery painter Jan van Goyen, who worked some time in Dordrecht.


Hilly river landscape

Aelbert Cuyp, early 1640s
panel 53 x 74,4 cm
Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht

In the years 1640 the young Aelbert Cuyp worked in the monochrome style of Jan of Goyen.Subsequently he began to experiment with sunlight over his sceneries.


The Ruins of the Abbey of Rijnsburg

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1643
panel 71 x 95 cm
Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht


View on the ruins of the Abbey of Rijnsburg

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1643
Black chalk, pencil in brown and green16 x 26 cm
Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht


Portrait of the duck Sijctghen

Aelbet Cuyp, 1647
Oil on panel 35 x 41,5 cm
Dordrechts museum

Life-size and lifelike Cuyp has shown the duck. Pets in the Painting of the Golden Age is not rare, but as genuine portrait of a duck this painting is unique. In the poem on the panel the duck speaks to herself about her 100 eggs per year and her high age of 20 years. In the last two line of the poem she asks the reader, after her death, to addd her death year and her ultimate age. Indeed, anno 1650 Cuyp added a few lines, stating that Sijctghen was aged 23 years.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam


Landscape with cows and young herdsman

Aelbert Cuyp, 1650/1670
Oil on canvas 101 x 136 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Landscape with a shepherd boy with two cows.


A senior merchant of the Dutch East India Company, Jacob Mathieusen and his wife

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1650
Oil on canvas 138 x 208 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The merchant and his wife are dressed in the sober Dutch style. Behind them a slave is holding a parasol, known as a 'pajong'. In Asia this was a symbol of status and power.The Dutch adopted this Asian custom with the same ease as they adopted the ownership of slaves. With his cane, the merchant is pointing to the VOC fleet of ships ready to sail home for Europe. In the background lies the partially walled city of Batavia, the hub of the VOC’s operation in Asia.


Dordrecht Viewed from the East

Aelbert Cuyp, early 1640s
Watercolor ? 19 x 44,5 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Dordrecht Viewed from the North, with the Grote Kerk and the Groothoofdspoort

Aelbert Cuyp, early 1640s
Black chalk, gray wash. 18.7 x 46 cm
Rijksmuseum. Amsterdam


View of Arnhem

Aelbert Cuyp, 1645/50
Black chalk, brush in yellowish green and grey, 19 x 48,6 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This view of Arnhem shows the city from the north-west. The most prominent building among all the towers and spires is the Great Church of St Eusebius just to the left of centre.


Large River Landscape with Riders

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1655
Oil on canvas 128 x 227,5 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The location of this 'River Landscape with Riders' has been identified as the hills between Nijmegen and Cleves.In 1652, Cuyp travelled along the Rhine and into Germany.Aelbert Cuyp never visited Italy himself, yet many of his landscapes are bathed in the typical golden light of the Mediterranean. Here too, the artist has depicted warm sunlight reflected on the surface of the river. The location of this 'River Landscape with Riders' has been identified as the hills between Nijmegen and Cleves. In 1652, Cuyp travelled along the Rhine and into Germany. The sketches he made on his journey formed the basis for this painting.


Landscape with herdsman and cattle

Aelbert Cuyp, 1650/1660
Oil on canvas 105 x 103 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Landscape with herdsmen and cattle on a road along the water. In the distance a round tower.


Portrait of a young man

Aelbert Cuyp, 1640/1660
Oil on panel 82 x 70 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Bust with a feathered beret on the head, in the left hand he holds the barrel of a gun.


River landscape with cows

Aelbert Cuyp
Oil on panel 42,5 x 72 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Flat river landscape on the banks of the water some cows, the most left-wing animal is drinking.


Mountainous landscape with the ruins of a castle

Aelbert Cuyp, 1640/1650
Oil on panel 66,5 x 91 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Mountainous landscape. Left to the foreground two riders, further backwards a herdsman and shepherds with their flocks on a road along the ruins of a castle.


Portrait of Margaretha de Geer (1585-1672)

Aelbert Cuyp, 1651
Oil on panel 73,9 x 59,5 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Portrait of Margaretha de Geer, wife of Jacob Trip, with a large collar and a black cap on her head.

Other museums in The Netherlands

Cuyp-Albert-Dordrecht-from-the-North-with-Grote Kerk

Dordrecht Viewed from the North, with the Grote Kerk

Aelbert Cuyp, early 1640s
Black chalk, gray wash. 18.6 x 50.4 cm
Stichting Collection P. en N. de Boer. Amsterdam


Landscape in waning light

Aelbert Cuyp, 1636/1646
Oil on panel 53 x 69 cm
Bredius Museum, The Hague


Self portrait as a boy (uncertain)

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1650
Oil on canvas 37 x 30 cm
The costume of the boy is dateable ca.1650-60.
Bredius Museum, The Hague.


Portrait of Pieter de Roovere (1602-1652)

Aelbert Cuyp
Oil on canvas 123.5 × 154 cm
Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague

Ruiterportret van Pietsser de Roovere (1602-1652), waarschijnlijk in zijn functie als opzichter van de zalmvisserij te Dordrecht.

Cuyp-Albert-River-bank with Cows

River-bank with Cows

Aelbert Cuyp, 1650
Oil on canvas
Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam


Grey Horse in a Landscape

Aelbert Cuyp
Oil on canvas
Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam

United Kingdom

The National Gallery, London


A River Scene with Distant Windmills

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1641
Oil on oak 35.6 x 52.4 cm.
National Gallery, London

This work, showing a calm river scene with small boats and windmills on the low horizon, was painted shortly before he changed his style under the influence of Jan Both, who returned from Italy in 1641.


Portrait of a Bearded Man

Aelbert Cuyp,1649
Oil on oak 68.9 x 60.2 cm.
National Gallery, London

This may be a portrait of Jacob Cuyp, the painter's father, with whom Aelbert trained and who was 56 in 1649. There is, however, no documented portrait of Jacob Cuyp.Aelbert Cuyp is best known for his Italianate landscapes bathed in warm sunlight. The National Gallery owns several of them, for example 'River Landscape with Horseman and Peasants'.


The Maas at Dordrecht in a Storm

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1645-50
Oil on oak 49.8 x 74.4 cm
National Gallery, London

On the right is Dordrecht, dominated by the profile of the Grote Kerk.The horizon is very low which gives greater prominence to the ship in the foreground as well as to the dramatic sky. Storm scenes are very unusual in Cuyp's work.


River Landscape with Horseman and Peasants

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1650-60
Oil on canvas 123 x 241 cm
National Gallery London

This painting is one of the greatest 17th-century Dutch landscapes. It is the largest surviving landscape by Cuyp, and arguably the most beautiful. The entire scene is bathed in a gentle sunlight, harmonizing all the elements, natural, animal and human.According to the painter Benjamin West, it was this picture, acquired by the Earl of Bute in the early 1760s, that began the rage for Cuyp among British collectors in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Peasants and Cattle by the River Merwede

Aelbert Cuyp
Oil on oak 38.1 x 50.8 cm.
National Gallery, London

On the left, in the distance, is the ruined castle of Merwede (Huis te Merwede), which is a mile to the east of Dordrecht. It was built in the 13th century and destroyed about 1420. Its ruins still stand. (see the history of Dordrecht on this website)Cuyp painted and drew the ruined castle on several occasions and the prominently displayed cows occur in a number of his other paintings.For example, the cow on the left appears in 'The Large Dort', also in the National Gallery's Collection.


A Herdsman with Five Cows by a River

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1650/60
Oil on oak 45.4 x 74 cm.
National Gallery, London

This painting is a mature work and shows how a traditional type of composition was transformed by the artist.The scene is illuminated from the left by the warmth of the sun which sparkles on the water, highlighting the reflections of the boats and the cattle.


A Distant View of Dordrecht, with a Milkmaid and Four Cows, and Other Figures ('The Large Dort')

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1650
Oil on canvas 157.5 x 197 cm.
National Gallery, London

The painting shows in the background the town of Dordrecht (Dort) from the south-east. The skyline is dominated by the Grote Kerk with the Vuilpoort, one of the town's water gates (demolished in 1864), beyond the windmill to the left.A similar view appears in another National Gallery painting by Cuyp, known as 'The Small Dort'. The church and the water gate are seen from another angle in 'The Maas at Dordrecht in a Storm' by Cuyp, also in the National Gallery's Collection.


Ubbergen Castle

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1655
Oil on oak 32.1 x 54.5 cm.
National Gallery, London

Ubbergen is near Nijmegen in the Province of Gelderland. The castle, which had long been a ruin, was pulled down in 1712. Because of its partial destruction during the Spanish occupation in 1582, the 14th-century castle was seen by the Dutch as a national symbol.


A Distant View of Dordrecht, with a Sleeping Herdsman and Five Cows ('The Small Dort')

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1651
Oil on oak 66.4 x 100 cm.
National Gallery, London

Dordrecht (Dort) is seen in the background from the south-east, with the Grote Kerk in the centre, and the Vuilpoort, one of the town's water-gates (demolished in 1864) on the left.This painting exactly repeats the view of Dordrecht seen in the so-called 'The Large Dort', also in the National Gallery's Collection.

Cuyp-Albert-Hilly-River-Landscape with-Horseman-talking-to-Shepherdess

A Hilly River Landscape with a Horseman talking to a Shepherdess

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1655-60
Oil on canvas 135 x 201.5 cm.
National Gallery, London

This scene is inspired by the landscape along the lower Rhine. Cuyp used the warm Italian sunlight he had adopted from his colleagues who specialized in Italianate landscapes.It is an important work of Cuyp's maturity, weaknesses in the drawing of, for example, the shepherdess, are entirely consistent with Cuyp's style at that period.


A Horseman with a Cowherd and Two Boys in a Meadow, and Seven Cows

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1655-60
Oil on canvas 80 x 106 cm.
National Gallery, London

The figures and animals in the foreground are silhouetted against a bright sunny sky. The panoramic vista that stretches before them is inspired by the landscape between Nijmegen and Cleves in the eastern part of the Netherlands.There is a drawing for the sleeping boy on a signed sheet of studies (now Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet).


A Herdsman with Seven Cows by a River

Jacob van Strij, after Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1750-1800
Oil on oak 61.4 x 90.8 cm.
National Gallery, London

This may be a copy after an unknown landscape by Cuyp, or a pastiche imitating his style. Such pastiches were painted by the 18th-century painter Jacob van Strij (1756 - 1815), who may be the artist of this picture.

The Wallace collection, London


A Shepherd with his Flock

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1650
Oil on panel 34.2 x 28.2 cm
Wallace Collection, London


Passage Boat on the Maas

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1650
Oil on canvas 101.2 x 135.3 cm
Wallace Collection, London 


The Ferry Boat

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1652-55
Oil on panel, 72 x 90 cm
Wallace Collection, London


Shipping on the Maas, Dordrecht

Aelbert Cuyp, early 1650s
Oil on canvas 100 x 151.9 cm
Wallace Collection, London


The Avenue at Meerdervoort

Aelbert Cuyp, early 1650s
Oil on canvas 69.8 x 99 cm
Wallace Collection, London


Horsemen in a Landscape

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1650
Oil on panel 34.2 x 28.2 cm
Wallace Collection, London

Royal collection, Windsor


Evening Landscape with Horsemen and Shepherds

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1655/60
Oil on canvas
Royal Collection, Windsor


The Negro Page

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1652
Oil on canvas, 142,8 x 226,7 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor


The Passage boat

Oil on canvas 124.4 x 145.0 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor

 A ‘passage boat’ is an old-fashioned word for a ferry: this one is probably the regular passenger service between Dordrecht and Rotterdam, part of the network of waterborne public transport which was such a remarkable feature of life in seventeenth-century Holland. This vessel is a pleyt – a single-mast, sprit-rigged, shallow draught, broad-hulled tub, very similar to a smalschip – adapted to carry large numbers of passengers slowly in calm inland waters. The two pleyten here are made to look as if successive views of the same vessel and show how the sail is lowered as the boat drifts towards the jetty. A drummer announces the arrival of the service and a man fends off with a bargepole. This is a remarkably large scale image of a boat, but there is nothing remarkable about the boat itself or the function it is performing. There are some burghers aboard the pleyt and the rowing-boat but no obvious dignitary; there are many ships in the background but nothing to suggest that this is a review of the Dutch fleet. What we see here is literally a daily occurrence.

The drama of presentation here does not just depend upon the isolation of the ferry and its scale. The water-skimming viewpoint means that the hull stands out against the horizon, which glows like a halo as the setting sun catches the mist coming off the sea; it also pushes the mast up into the clouds. These clouds are shaped rather like those in Rembrandt’s Three Trees (British Museum) to suggest the forms of angels or zephyrs surrounding the light of the sky. Hoogstraten later advises artists to ‘Observe the lovely gliding of the clouds, and how their drift and shapes are related to one another, because the eye of the artist must always recognise things by their essence while the common folk see only weird shapes.’

‘Peopled clouds’ were familiar from allegorical prints, like that depicting the Dutch ‘ship of state’, produced in 1620 to celebrate the Synod of Dordrecht (1618-9) and showing the Stadholder, Prince Maurice of Orange, at the tiller, surrounded by the Seven Provinces, lit from the sky by a figure of Truth holding the States Bible, while the Pope drowns. This Passage Boat appears too ordinary to be a ‘ship of state’, yet the image carries the same visionary enthusiasm. This is probably intended to be a more private allegory of salvation of the type which a spiritual person reads in the ordinary fabric of the world. It would certainly be unlikely for a contemporary viewer to look at this boat without noticing that the mast and sprit-pole make a cross>

British Museum, Londen


The Mariakerk in Utrecht from the Northeast

>Aelbert Cuyp
Black chalk, gray wash, water-colored in brown, yellow, green, and pink. 22 x 31 cm
The British Museum, London


Ruins of the Huis te Merwede

>Aelbert Cuyp
Drawqing in black
The British Museum, London

Dulwich Picture Gallery, London


Herdsmen with Cows

Aelbert Cuyp
Oil on canvas 101.4 x 145.8 cm
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London


A Road near a River

Aelbert Cuyp c.1660
Oil on canvas
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

On of the last paintings made by the master.In 1658 Cuyp married a rich widow, and in the 1660s he seems to have virtually abandoned painting.


View of a Plain

Aelbert Cuyp c.1644
Oil on panel 48 x 72 cm
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

Other Cities in the United Kingdom


View on Dordrecht

Aelbert Cuyp, c. 1655
Oil on canvas, 97,8 x 137,8 cm
Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, London


Dordrecht Viewed from the Northeast

Aelbert Cuyp
Black chalk, gray wash, watercolored in browmish yellow, partly brushed with gum arabic. 15.9 x 50.6 cm
Colnaghi, London


Wooded Landscape with an Artist

Aelbert Cuyp, 1643
Oil on canvas. 98.5 x 136 cm
Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford

Dordrecht from the North

Aelbert Cuyp, 1650
Oil on canvas. 68.5 x 190 cm
Ascott, The Anthony de Rothschild Collection. The National Trust.


Landscape with Ubbergen Castle

Aelbert Cuyp
Oil on board 42.5 x 51.3 cm
National museum of Wales

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