Black chalk and brown wash
Support: Laid paper
Overall: 17.4 x 27.6 cm (6 7/8 x 10 7/8 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 2002.90
Jan van Goyen belonged to a group of Dutch artists who transformed landscape painting in the 1630s and 1640s. Two works in the museum's collection by van Goyen and his contemporary Salomon van Ruisdael (on view in Gallery 221) illustrate this period, often called the "tonal" phase of Dutch painting. These artists used a limited range of color, mostly subtle browns and grays, to explore the quality of light unique to Holland.
Van Goyen made this drawing as a kind of smaller, less expensive version of a landscape painting. There was an eager market for such works at this time, and the artist was extremely prolific because he could easily sell what he made. He probably based this sheet, at least in part, on rapid sketches he made out-of-doors; he recorded landscape elements in small sketchbooks and then used them back in the studio to make both paintings and finished drawings. The use of brown wash here is unusual for van Goyen, who seems to have used it only in 1651.
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