Aelbert Cuyp (artist)|
Dutch, 1620 - 1691
Lady and Gentleman on Horseback, c. 1655, reworked 1660/1665
oil on canvas
overall: 123 x 172 cm (48 7/16 x 67 11/16 in.) framed: 164.8 x 214 x 16.2 cm (64 7/8 x 84 1/4 x 6 3/8 in.)
Object 3 of 8
This double portrait on horseback is unique in Dutch art and seventeenth-century Europe, because equestrian likenesses usually were reserved for individual monarchs. The couple is probably husband and wife. Cuyp originally included a larger hunting party. Presumably the sitters wanted more attention directed to themselves, so Cuyp reworked and simplified the composition. The burdock plants at the left, for instance, conceal traces of several dogs now overpainted.
Reusing favorite motifs, Cuyp repeated the lady's white steed in his Horsemen and Herdsmen with Cattle. That picture, which portrays an imaginary hunt, is set against ruins of German castles and monasteries that Cuyp sketched during a trip up the Rhine river.
Outside the Netherlands, the five Cuyps in the National Gallery constitute the most varied collection of his work. River Landscape with Cows and Herdsmen Tending Cattle combine landscape subjects with genre scenes of daily life and animal studies. The artist, a prominent citizen of his native Dordrecht, very often depicted the cheerful optimism of a golden dawn light.
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