Meindert Hobbema - The Avenue at Middelharnis

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The Avenue at Middelharnis
Meindert Hobbema (Dutch, 1638-1709)
Oil on canvas, 104 × 141 cm (40,9 x 55,5 in)
National Gallery, London

Hobbema is the last of the great landscape painters from the Dutch Golden Age, and along with Jacob van Ruisdael -of whom he was probably a pupil- he is probably the best of them. Comparisons between these two painters are common. Van Ruisdael is more versatile and brave. Hobbema is calm and precise. His study of Dutch landscape and its characteristic features (mills, cottages) are reminiscent of John Constable’s views of the English countryside.

When Hobbema was at the height of his artistic powers, he got a well paid job as a wine appraiser, so sadly his artistic production was greatly reduced. " The Avenue at Middelharnis" is therefore one of the last works by the artist, and certainly one of the most original.

The picture shows the coastal village of Middelharnis in the western Netherlands. As in many other works from this period of Dutch painting, the artist has chosen a very low horizon line, emphasizing the horizontality of the Dutch landscape, and focusing on the representation of the sky, although unfortunately this painting has suffered some poor restorations that have changed the original appearance of the sky.

The powerful central perspective -emphasized by the trees and the avenue itself- dominates the picture. The originality of the composition seems to presage the great impressionist landscapes by Sisley and Pissarro.

G. Fernández -

Hobbema - The Avenue at Middelharnis

Detail of the lower left corner of the painting

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