Younger brother to Cesar van Everdingen, who became a history painter of note, Allart van Everdingen was baptised on June 18, 1621 in the town of Alkmaar. The trajectory of Everdingen’s artistic career was established by his crucial travel in 1644 to Norway and Sweden. By February 1645, he had returned to Holland, settling in Haarlem, where he married and, during the course of the next few years, became an active member of the local artists’ guild. The artist moved to Amsterdam in 1652.
Everdingen painted both marine and dune landscapes, but it was in another category—Scandinavian-inspired landscapes—that he would make his mark and have a profound influence on Ruisdael and many other artists in later generations. Around 1650 he developed the format of mountainous views with large rocks, profiled firs, and waterfalls often dramatically placed in the foreground. His paintings favour close-up views, rather than panoramas, of these Nordic motifs. Such views, creative conflations of sites documented in his travel drawings were very popular with the Dutch public of the second half of the seventeenth century, undoubtedly fascinated by landscapes so foreign to their own experience.
One of the delights of these late landscapes is the artist’s application of thin glazes of pigment, often allowing the under-drawing on the panel to show through. This is particularly the case in Mountain Village by Water, and permits the viewer to see the significant changes between the two, at times quite dramatic, as in the trees at centre. The overall rosy-brown tonality of the work is sophisticatedly enlivened by touches of yellow, green and grey, and the contrasting blue sky.