Dutch Landscape Drawings - Room 301
This room presents "Themes of the Naturalist Landscape" and "Significant Stylistic Expressions".
Themes of the Naturalist Landscape
The naturalists addressed themselves to various themes in their landscapes, which were both familiar to and meaningful for their public. They often derived from poetry which had concerned itself since classical times with the landscape as the place for pleasure and love. They also thematised historical events, city dwellers’ recreational use of the landscape, and even art theoretical discussions of the relationship between art and reality in the landscape. Some of the most popular themes are presented in this part of the exhibition.
Significant Stylistic Expressions
The naturalists developed a style of drawing that gives the impression of the landscape having been reproduced direct and neutrally. They could choose different stylistic expressions within this general style. However, there was an expectation that there should be an agreement between motif and expression so that an elevated motif would be expressed in an idealising style whereas everyday motifs, like the local countryside, would be depicted in a correspondingly simple and realistic style. The style the naturalists drew in was seen to be closely related to the Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel (1525-1569), and their choice of style can be understood as a way of ensuring that their works were seen in relation to Bruegel’s great achievements in landscape art.
In the drawing above a small lifting bridge is the pivotal point of the chance meeting between a wanderer and a small sailing boat, soon to cross each other’s paths. The bridge is seen slightly from below as if the observer is sitting in a boat low in the water, regarding this little everyday scene. The experience of spontaneity is further strengthened by the simple drawing style.
Claes Jansz Visscher was a pioneer among the artists who shortly after 1600 made it their artistic project to imitate reality.