A new exhibition reveals the creative processes behind the treasured works of one of the finest landscape artists of the Dutch Golden Age, writes Lionel Cartlidge
The latest Art Appreciation group visit was to the Dulwich Picture Gallery for the exhibition of many of the works of the 17th-century Dutch artist, Adriaen van de Velde.
Van de Velde’s life was short – he died aged 35 – but highly productive, giving us some of the most valued paintings of the Dutch Golden Age. This is the first time so many of his paintings and drawings have been exhibited in the UK and provides a fascinating illustration of the artist’s working methods.
His exquisite draughtsmanship was based upon meticulous preliminary studies in red chalk, which were then transferred to pen and ink drawings of exceptional quality before finally becoming finished works in oil or watercolour. The exhibition reunites many of the preliminary drawings with the paintings for which they were prepared and allows us to see the artist’s creative processes at work.
Van de Velde’s oeuvre includes more than 170 paintings, most of which are of the landscape, a few religious works and many drawings. His range was wide, encompassing views of beaches, forests, meadows and winter scenes. His use of light, his commanding skies and beautiful trees, his ability as an animal painter as well as of human figures in the landscape make for a highly enjoyable artistic experience.
His works were bought by the great and the good and have been treasured by collectors over the centuries. All in all the exhibition is a fine and enjoyable introduction to a wonderful artist.
• The exhibition runs until 15 January.