Inspired by David Ames’ Monday Motivation Shuffle, for this week only, Susan Omand hits the Take a Chance button on the National Gallery website and writes about what she sees...
What’s the painting called, who is the artist and when was it painted?
A Landscape with a River at Evening by Aert van der Neer in about 1650
What does The National Gallery say about it?
The sun appears to be setting beyond a river and its last rays are reflected on the figures and cattle in the foreground. The painting was probably executed in the late 1640s or early 1650s.
A clearer look at the painting (details brightened using Photoshop)
What’s interesting about the painting?
It’s amazing what a bit of a clean up reveals isn’t it? There’s so much detail in the foreground that can hardly be seen in the original. And yet, the majority of the painting is taken up but a very Turner-esque and atmospheric sky.
What do I personally like about the painting?
It’s all about the far background for me. I like the boat on the horizon and that clear yellow light of the sunset. I enjoy how the clouds echo the shapes of the branches on the trees and I like the hint of red in the clouds that looks like thumb prints just to pull the colour up from the scene below.
What do I personally not like about the painting?
I’m just not a fan of the rest of the subject matter – the pastoral idyll does nothing for me as there is no social history here, nothing that holds my interest even though there is a lot of detail.
Would I have it on my wall?
No. Give me a Turner for my big skies please.
Image - The National Gallery