Masterpieces of Dutch Landscapes brings together four outstanding Dutch landscapes from the National Gallery of Ireland with related work from the Ulster Museum.
The seventeenth century was the ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch landscape painting. Dutch painters found a particular beauty in the low horizons, unremarkable vegetation and luminous skies of their native landscape. Their sensitive depiction of the daily lives of ordinary people, and of the changing light at different times of day and in different seasons, has rarely been surpassed.
Dutch artists tended to specialise in a particular type of landscape, some painting frozen winter scenes, such as Hendrick Avercamp, or maritime seascapes, such as Ludolf Backhuysen. The finest landscape painters were the van Ruisdaels, Salomon and his more talented nephew Jacob, who painted the cloud-shadowed rivers, fields and dunes around Haarlem.
In 2017, the Ulster Museum was allocated The Cornfield by Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/9 – 1682) from the Alfred Beit Foundation in lieu of Estate Duty. To celebrate this acquisition the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin proposed the loan of four masterpieces of Dutch seventeenth century landscape painting including The Castle of Bentheim by Jacob van Ruisdael, also from the Beit Collection and gifted to the National Gallery of Ireland in 1987. The exhibition reunites these two works, originally from the Alfred Beit Collection - one of the finest private collections in Europe.
Works included in the exhibition are by Hendrick Avercamp, Ludolf Bakhuizen, Jacob and Salomon van Ruisdael and will be shown with seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish paintings from the Ulster Museum collection. This exhibition offers the rare chance to reunite these masterpieces of Dutch landscape painting, and to celebrate the connections between the Beit collection, the National Gallery of Ireland and the Ulster Museum.
Hendrick Avercamp, Scene on the Ice c. 1620, oil on wood panel. Detail Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.