Anthony van Dyck, A wooded slope with farm buildings, a drawing

Flanders or England, around AD 1634

This is one of a number of surviving landscape scenes by van Dyck. It is drawn simply in pen and ink. He has concentrated on the middle distance, not on the foreground or background. The only features are some simple farm buildings and a wooded slope.

The pen work is very precise and the trees are shaded is simple parallel hatching. On the nearest tree he used a mixture of lighter and denser pen strokes and inks to suggest the falling light and movement of the branches. Some of the paper is left blank to allow the paper itself to suggest the clear light of the day. It is an informal composition which strongly suggests that it was drawn from life and not in the studio.

It was probably drawn about 1634, either in Flanders or in England which he twice visited between 1632 and 1640. It is possible that it represents the countryside near Rye in Sussex, where he made other sketches of this type. Van Dyck would have sailed from this busy port for Flanders in the spring of 1634. He signed the drawing at the lower right and it may have belonged to a stock of such drawings that he used in the backgrounds of several paintings of the mid 1630s.

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More information

Bibliography

M. Royalton-Kisch, The light of nature: landscape (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

Sir O. Millar, Van Dyck in England (London, National Portrait Gallery, 1982)

Dimensions

Height: 188.000 mm
Width: 300.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1897-4-10-16 (Hind 84)

PDO12267

Location

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