Aelbert Cuyp (1620-91) is the most famous member of the family of Dutch painters of Dordrecht, of which three members gained distinction. He is one of the most celebrated of all landscape painters, although he also painted many other subjects. Aelbert was the son and probably the pupil of Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp. His early works also show the influence of Jan van Goyen.

 Aelbert was born and died at Dordrecht, but he seems to have traveled along Holland's great rivers to the eastern part of the Netherlands, and he also painted views of Westphalia. A prodigious number of pictures are ascribed to him, but his oeuvre poses many problems. He often signed his paintings but rarely dated them, and a satisfactory chronology has never been established. Although he had little influence outside Dordrecht, Cuyp had several imitators there, and some of the paintings formerly attributed to him are now given to Abraham Calraet (1642-1722), who signed himself 'AC' (the same initials as Cuyp).

In 1658 Cuyp married a rich widow, and in the 1660s he seems to have virtually abandoned painting. He was almost forgotten for two generations after his death. Late 18th-century English collectors are credited with rediscovering his merits, and he is still much better represented in English collections, public and private, than in Dutch museums. His finest works (typically river scenes and landscapes with placid, dignified-looking cows) show great serenity and masterly handling of glowing light (usually Cuyp favored the effects of the early morning or evening sun).


"The Maas at Dordrecht" (1660) Oil on canvas, Oil on canvas, 114.9 x 170.2 cm - 45.2 x 67 in. The National Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA.



"View of Dordrecht" (1655) Oil on canvas, 97.8 x 137.8 cm - 38.5 x 54.3 in. Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, London, UK.



"Ships Tossed in a Gale" (1640s) Oil on canvas, 107 x 146 cm - 42.1 x 57.5 in. Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.



"Young Herdsman with Cows" (1655-60) Oil on canvas, 112 x 132 cm - 44.1 x 52 in. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.



"Domestic Fowl" Oil on oak panel, 144.5 x 54.5 cm - 56.9 x 21.5 in. Groeninge Museum, Bruges, Belgium.



"The Avenue at Meerdervoort" (1650-52) Oil on wood, 70 x 99 cm - 27.6 x 39 in. Wallace Collection, London, UK.

Text source: 'Webmuseum' (

Related Terms: Baroque.


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