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A View of the Palace of the Dukes of Brabant, Brussels (poss. 1660s)

Description:

Van der Heyden, whose family was from Gorkum and settled in Amsterdam in 1650, lived in the latter city all his life, with the exception of travels in the southern Netherlands and in the Rhineland. He began his career as a landscape painter but later turned to architectural scenes and eventually became the foremost townscape painter of his generation. Town squares and imposing buildings on clear, bright days, with every cobblestone and architectural detail meticulously rendered, were his speciality. This townscape was possibly painted during 1672-73. The palace, the seat of government and chief residence of the Dukes of Burgundy (largely destroyed by fire in 1731) dominates the scene. Van der Heyden has painted the view from an adjacent park, Le Warrande and shows the north-west side of the building. The scene is enlivened by groups of people and by vignettes of swans and deer. Other views of the same palace, also by van der Heyden, are in the Louvre, Paris and the Alte Pinakothek, Munich.