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Dutch Baroque

Cottages with Haystack by a Muddy Track

Details: Cottages with Haystack by a Muddy Track

follow site 1632
Oil/oak, 41 x 66 cm
Signed and dated bottom right: J. v. G. 1632

Inv. Nr.427


GOYEN Jan van

1596 Leiden - 1656 The Hague

here go to site GOYEN Jan van
Jan Josephsz. van Goyen found subjects for his paintings as he travelled through Holland and the southern Netherlands. He filled several sketchbooks with drawings of villages, sand dunes, river views, and seascapes on which he based subsequent paintings.
He studied landscape and glass painting with several masters before he went to Haarlem in 1617 to study with his last master, Esaias van de Velde (1587-1630). The latter, who was his senior by no more than six years, had a noticeable influence on van Goyen's early works. Before this, Goyen had spent almost a full year (1615/16) in France. From 1618- 1632, he was active in Leiden. In 1632, he moved to The Hague, where he chaired the Guild of St. Luke from 1638-1640. Together with Pieter de Molijn (1595-1661) and Salomon van Ruysdael (1600-1670), Jan van Goyen was an important representative of Haarlem tonal painting. Respected and prosperous as a landscape painter, van Goyen lost his fortune speculating in real estate and later in tulip bulbs, when "tulipomania" was holding sway in 1636/37.


Cottages with Haystack by a Muddy Track
Several low cottages and a haystack nestling beneath a huge, windswept oak: the winding tracks of cartwheels, which draw the eye of the beholder to a group of figures resting by the side of the muddy road, thatched roofs, rotting fences. It was during his apprenticeship in Haarlem that van Goyen was motivated to paint this and similar villagescapes by a number of artists who cultivated this type of painting. The popularity of this motif can be explained by a trend among scholars and writers to extol country life.
The painting from 1632 is characteristic of Goyen's more mature work. The horizon lies under a high, overcast sky. The colour scheme and the diagonal picture composition combine to create a sense of balance which corresponded to the new conception of "close-to-nature" landscape painting. From about 1628, Jan van Goyen attempted to capture spatial expanse as well as the quality of light and air with a palette tending towards tonality. The 'tonal' phase reached its culmination in about 1640. Delicate blue, grey and brown hues lent a cool overall tone to the paintings while preserving the specific character of the materials of which the objects were made. It is interesting to note the underlying pencil sketch drawn with a swift and free hand. As a result of ageing, the black chalk sketch of the cottages and the haystack have become visible to the naked eye.


follow site Literature
Gabriele Groschner, Thomas Habersatter, Erika Mayr-Oehring (Ed.): Masterworks. Residenzgalerie Salzburg. Salzburg 2002, p. 16

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