In the first half of the 17th century Jan Van Goyen was (along with Salomon van Ruisdael) the greatest creator of “realist” Dutch landscape paintings, which he liberated from the Flemish mannerist tradition.  He was also one of the most representative and prolific landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age. A productive painter and drawer, his favourite views were those of the major rivers in the Netherlands and the areas surrounding Cleves.

After his youthful work characterised by variety of colour and accumulation of detail, he reached his “classic” style around 1635-1640: a “monochrome” palette and economical and clear composition - marked by a significant lowering of the skyline - and great sensitivity in the depiction of the sky and misty effects.

This drawing displays all the artistic qualities of Van Goyen at his peak, namely in the later years of the artist’s life. The subject – an open landscape – and its treatment are emblematic of the artist and his style.

It displays an interesting variation on the theme of the winding sandy path which leads the gaze diagonally towards the background.

The graphic expression has become extremely free and the artist uses all the resources of his favourite technique, black chalk, which produces a slightly soft and oily line, with consummate skill. The use of the wash technique helps position the different fields of the work, by skilfully alternating dark and light layers.

The scene is lively and interesting although the subject is very mundane: a cart carrying fishermen is returning from the river while on the bank two herdsmen are taking care of their beasts. A view of the sea, in the background to the left, and a windmill complete this typically Dutch landscape.

S. R. de B.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

It is also possible to download around 12,000 images of the museum’s works free of charge.

Access the Museums of the City of Paris collections portal
Autre base documentaire

Extern databases

Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum.