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Philips Wouwerman

River Landscape with Bathers


Philips Wouwerman
Haarlem 1619 – Haarlem 1668


River Landscape with Bathers


About 1653


Oil on canvas


68.5 x 104 cm


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, inv. 2013.422


Western Art

Astonishingly skilled in the painting of horses, Wouwerman proved to be one of Haarlem’s most gifted Golden Age artists. Typical of one of his periods of great creativity, this scene is inspired by the myth, one very popular in Italy, of Diana and Actaeon, which recounts how the latter was transformed into a deer after having stumbled upon the goddess bathing with her nymphs. One of the most Italianate subjects in the artist’s oeuvre, with its mountains, obelisk in the middle ground to the left, and ruined bridge reminiscent of Rome’s Ponte Rotto, this powerful landscape evokes Italy. Conceived in the style of a frieze, the panorama owes its silvery atmosphere to a palette of delicate, luminous shades. Filled with numerous bathers, the composition is structured around trees, dunes and rock-strewn mountains, then opens out on the sky.

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