Overview

Dordrecht, situated at the confluence of the Maas and the Merwede rivers, serves as a backdrop to this historical scene on the water. In July 1646, a large Dutch transport fleet carrying thirty thousand soldiers and their equipment gathered at Dordrecht in a show of force by the rebel northern provinces—fighting for independence from the Spanish crown—at the onset of the negotiations that would eventually result in the Peace of Münster in 1648. The lasting appeal of Cuyp’s masterful depiction derives from the extraordinary light effects that bring an early summer morning to life and from the dramatic sweep of clouds that enhances the massive scale of the painting.

Spectators jam the quays, bugles and drums sound fanfares, and a shipboard cannon fires a salute. The young officer standing in the small boat wearing a white-and-red sash—the colors of Dordrecht—is likely the person who commissioned Cuyp to paint this historic event. The officer and his brightly clad companion are greeted by a distinguished-looking gentleman and numerous other figures, including a drummer, on the larger vessel. Attempts to identify the blue-and-white flag on the stern of this ship have thus far been unsuccessful. A second rowboat, carrying other dignitaries and a trumpeter who signals their arrival, approaches from the left. Most of the ships have their sails raised as though they are about to depart, and fluttering flags suggest the presence of a nice breeze, yet the overall sense of the scene is one of great calm.

Inscription

on sideboard of ship in right foreground: A.cuyp

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Johan van der Linden van Slingeland [1701-1782], Dordrecht, by 1752.[1] (his estate sale, at his residence by J. Yver and A. Delfos, Dordrecht, 22 August 1785 and days following, no. 70); "Rens" or "Delfos."[2] (Alexis Delahante, London), c. 1804 to 1814; sold to Abraham Hume, Bart. [1749-1838], Wormley, Hertfordshire, by 1815;[3] by inheritance to his grandson, John Hume Cust, Viscount Alford, M. P. [1812-1851], Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire; by inheritance to his son, John William Spencer, 2nd earl Brownlow [1842-1867], Ashridge Park; by inheritance to his brother, Adelbert Wellington, 3rd earl Brownlow [1844-1921], Ashridge Park and London; (his estate sale, Christie, Manson & Woods London, 4 and 7 May 1923, no. 75); (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[4] by exchange 1940 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1940 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1815
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, London, 1815, no. 67. [1]
1838
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom,London, 1838, no. 37.
1867
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, London, 1867, no. 21.
1878
Nottingham Castle, 1878, no. 78. [2]
1892
Loan Collection of Pictures, The Corporation Art Gallery (Guildhall), London, 1892, no. 85.
1925
Loan Exhibition of Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1925, no. 3.
1926
Inaugural Exhibition, The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1926, no. 143.
1928
Exhibition of Art Treasures, The Grafton Galleries, London, 1928, no. 1424.
1929
Exhibition of Dutch Art 1450-1900, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1929, no. 267.
1935
Cinq Siècles d'Art, Exposition universelle et internationale, Brussels, 1935, no. 714.
1936
Tentoonstelling van Oude Kunst, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1936, no. 37.
1939
Loan Exhibition of Dutch Landscape Paintings. 20th Loan Exhibition of Old Masters, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1939, no. 7.
1939
Rétrospective d'art, Exposition internationale, Liège, 1939, no. 54.
1990
Great Dutch Paintings from America, Mauritshuis, The Hague; The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, 1990-1991, no. 17, color repro., as Ships on the Maas River at Dordrecht.
2001
Aelbert Cuyp, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The National Gallery, London; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2001-2002, no. 28, repro.
2008
Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age, Royal Picture House Mauritshuis, The Hague; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2008-2009, no. 15, repro.

Bibliography

1752
Hoet, Gerard. Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen.... 2 vols. The Hague, 1752: 2:490.
1753
Descamps, Jean Baptiste. La vie des peintres flamands, allemands et hollandais. 4 vols. Paris, 1753–1763: 2(1754):80.
1815
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom. Catalogue of pictures by Rubens, Rembrandt, Vandyke, and other artists of the Flemish and Dutch Schools. Exh. cat. British Institution, London, 1815: 17, no. 67.
1822
Burnet, John. Practical hints on Composition in Painting. London, 1822: 14-15, pl. 2, fig.4 (etching).
1824
Buchanan, William. Memoirs of Painting. 2 vols. London, 1824: 2:192, no. 10.
1829
Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. 9 vols. London, 1829-1842: 5(1834):311, no. 98.
1854
Jervis-White-Jervis, Lady Marian. Painting and Celebrated Painters, Ancient and Modern. 2 vols. London, 1854: 2:217, 326.
1854
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Treasures of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of the Chief Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Illuminated Mss.. 3 vols. Translated by Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake. London, 1854: 2:313, 316.
1867
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom. Catalogue of pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French and English masters: with which the proprietors have favoured the Institution. June 1867. Exh. cat. British Institution, London, 1867: 17, no. 67.
1880
Burnet, John. "Practical Hints on Light and Shade in Painting." In A Treatise on Painting in Four Parts. Reprint. London, 1880: Part 2:14-15, pl. 2, fig. 4 (etching).
1884
Veth, G. H. "Aelbert Cuyp, Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp en Benjamin Cuyp." Oud Holland 2 (1884): 284, no. 70.
1891
Cundall, Frank. The Landscape and Pastoral Painters of Holland: Ruisdael, Hobbema, Cuijp, Potter. Illustrated biographies of the great artists. London, 1891: 96-97, 163.
1892
Temple, Alfred G. Descriptive catalogue of the loan collection of pictures. Exh. cat. Art Gallery of the Corporation of London, 1892: no. 85.
1906
Wurzbach, Alfred von. Niederlandisches Kunstler-Lexikon. 3 vols. Vienna, 1906-1911: 1(1906):367.
1907
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8 vols. Translated by Edward G. Hawke. London, 1907-1927: 2(1909):15-16, no. 28.
1907
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts. 10 vols. Esslingen and Paris, 1907-1928: 2(1908):16, no. 28.
1913
Graves, Algernon. A Century of Loan Exhibitions, 1813–1912. 5 vols. London, 1913-1915: 1(1913):240, 243, 245, 250.
1925
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Loan Exhibition of Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. Exh. cat. Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1925: no. 3.
1925
Washburn Freund, F. E. "Eine Ausstellung niederländischer Malerei in Detroit." Der Cicerone 17 (1925): 460.
1926
Art Gallery of Toronto. Catalogue of inaugural exhibition. Exh. cat. Art Gallery of Toronto. Toronto, 1926: 36, no. 143.
1928
"America Lends Dutch Paintings to London Show." Art News (29 December 1928): 1.
1928
Grafton Galleries. Exhibition of art treasures. Exh. cat. Grafton Galleries, London, 1928: no. 1424.
1929
Bauch, Kurt. "Ausstellung holländischer Kunst von 1450–1900 in London." Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst 63 (1929): 9-23.
1929
Borenius, Tancred. "Die holländische Ausstellung in London." Pantheon 3 (February 1929): 64.
1929
Gibson, W. "The Dutch Exhibition at Burlington House." Apollo 9 (January 1929): 84, repro.
1929
Martin, Wilhelm. "Die holländische Ausstellung in London." Der Kunstwanderer 10, no. 1 (1929): 199–202, 299–303.
1929
Martin, Wilhelm. "Last Words on the Dutch Exhibition." Connoisseur 83 (1929): 131–142.
1929
Rutter, Frank. "Notes from Abroad." International Studio 92 (1929): 64-66.
1929
Witt, Robert Clermont. Exhibition of Dutch art, 1450-1900. Exh. cat. Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1929: no. 267.
1929
Zwartendijk, J. "Wijzigingen in onzen smaak naar aanleiding van de tentoonstelling van Hollandsche kunst, te London gehouden." Elsevier’s Geïllustreerd Maandschrift 67, no. 6 (1929): 391, 393, pl. 87.
1930
Schneider, Hans. "Aelbert Cuyp: The Maas near Dordrecht." In Unknown Masterpieces in Public and Private Collections. Edited by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. London, 1930: no. 57, repro.
1930
Schneider, Hans. "Aelbert Cuyp: The Maas near Dordrecht." In Unknown Masterpieces in Public and Private Collections. Wilhelm R. Valentiner, ed. London, 1930: n.p., pl. 57.
1935
Exposition Universelle et Internationale. Cinq siécles d'art. Exh. cat. Exposition Universelle et Internationale, Brussels, 1935: no. 714..
1936
Hennus, M. F. "Tentoonstelling oude kunst uit het bezit van den intemationalen handel." Maandblad voor Beeldende Kunsten 13 (1936): 229-230, repro.
1936
Pelinck, Egbert. Catalogus van de tentoonstelling van oude kunst uit het bezit van den internationalen handel. Exh. cat. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1936: 9, no. 37.
1939
Detroit Institute of Arts. Loan Exhibition of Dutch Landscape Paintings. Exh. cat. Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1939: unpaginated, no. 7, repro.
1939
Exposition internationale de Liège. Rétrospective d'art, peinture, sculpture, tapisserie, gravure, art japonais. Liége, 1939: 37, no. 54.
1939
Lambotte, Paul. Les beaux-arts a l'exposition internationale de l'eau à Liège. Paris, 1939: 196, repro.
1941
Duveen Brothers. Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941: no. 209, repro.
1941
National Gallery of Art. Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1941: 51.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 249, repro. 23.
1949
Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 97, repro.
1952
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Great Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1952: 104, color repro.
1960
Baird, Thomas P. Dutch Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art 7. Washington, 1960: 20, color repro.
1961
Reitlinger, Gerald. The Rise and Fall of Picture Prices 1760-1960. (Vol. 1 of The Economics of Taste). London, 1961: 204.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.. New York, 1963: 196, repro.
1965
National Gallery of Art. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1965: 35.
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1: 244, color repro.
1966
Stechow, Wolfgang. Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century. Kress Foundation Studies in the History of European Art 1. London, 1966: 119, fig. 237.
1968
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 29, repro.
1973
Bol, Laurens J. Die holländische Marinemalerei des 17. Jahrhunderts. Braunschweig, 1973: 268-269, fig. 271.
1975
National Gallery of Art. European paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. Washington, 1975: 90, repro.
1975
Reiss, Stephen. Aelbert Cuyp. Boston, 1975: 143, no. 104, repro., 204, 212.
1975
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 296-297, repro.
1976
Hoet, Gerard. Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen. 3 vols. in 1. Reprint of 1752 ed. with supplement by Pieter Terwesten, 1770. Soest, 1976: 2:490.
1977
Butlin, Martin, and Evelyn Joll. The Paintings of J. M. W. Turner. 2 vols. Studies in British Art. New Haven, 1977: 2:92.
1978
Reiss, Stephen. "The Old Guardhouse by Aelbert Cuyp." The Burlington Magazine 120 (February 1978): 88 n 12.
1979
Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 79, pl. 66.
1982
Reitlinger, Gerald. The Economics of Taste: The Rise and Fall of Picture Prices, 1760–1960. 3 vols. Reprint. New York, 1982: 2:204.
1984
Butlin, Martin, and Evelyn Joll. The Paintings of J. M. W Turner. 2 vols. Rev. ed. New Haven, 1984: 104.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 297, no. 392, color repro.
1984
Wheelock, Jr., Arthur K. Dutch Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1984: 22-23, repro.
1985
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, 1985: 109, repro.
1986
Ford, Terrence, compiler and ed. Inventory of Music Iconography, no. 1. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York 1986: 5, no. 124.
1986
Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Washington and Grand Rapids, 1986: 306.
1990
Broos, Ben P. J., ed. Great Dutch Paintings from America. Exh. cat. Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Hague and Zwolle, 1990: no. 17, 212-217, color repro. 212.
1990
Russell, Margarita. "Aelbert Cuyp. The Maas at Dordrecht: The Great Assembly of the Dutch Armed Forces, June–July 1646." Dutch Crossing 40 (1990): 31-82.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 156, 158, color repro.
1992
Chong, Alan. "Aelbert Cuyp and the Meanings of Landscape." Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1992: 409, no. 161.
1992
National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1992: 129, repro.
1995
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History. New York, 1995: 793, fig. 19-52.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 36-43, color repro. 39.
2001
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Aelbert Cuyp. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington; National Gallery, London; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Washington, 2001: no. 28, 146-149.
2002
Kaufmann, Thomas DaCosta, ed. L'art flamand et hollandais: Belgique et Pays-Bas, 1520-1914. Paris, 2002: 213, 219, fig. 190.
2002
Kloek, W. Th. Aelbert Cuyp: land, water, light. Rijksmuseum dossiers. Translated by Lynne Richards. Zwolle, 2002: 31, fig. 42.
2002
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr., and Anna Tummers. "Aelbert Cuyp peintre de l'Arcadie hollandaise." L'Estampille-L'Objet d'Art 367 (February 2002): 38, repro.
2003
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. Translated by Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake. Facsimile edition of London 1854. London, 2003: 2:313, 316.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 184-185, no. 145, color repro.
2005
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History. Rev. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, 2005: 773, color fig. 19.60.
2008
Suchtelen, Ariane van, and Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr. Pride of Place: Dutch cityscapes of the Golden Age. Exh. cat. Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague; National Gallery of Art, Washington. Zwolle, 2008: 102-105, 211, no. 15, repro.

Conservation Notes

The original support is a single, moderate-weight, plain-weave fabric with threads of various thicknesses, which has been lined with the tacking margins trimmed. Cusping along all edges indicates that the dimensions are unchanged. The pale ground is thinly applied, and a darker imprimatura is used as a mid-tone in the foreground. Paint is applied in thin layers, at times blended wet-into-wet, at times scumbled wet-over-dry, with thin lines drawn fluidly in brush-applied paint. The X-radiographs show no changes.

The painting is in good condition, particularly for a work of its size. Moderate abrasion to the thin upper paint layers is visible in dark passages of the boats, figures, and seascape. The painting has undergone treatment three times since its acquisition: in 1994, when it was lined, in 1958, and in 2000. During the 2000 treatment, it was determined that a cloud at the left edge was not original, and it was consequently removed.

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