Artwork of the month October

Meindert Hobbema, Landscape with Homestead and Staffage, around 1665–68

Meindert Hobbema

* 1638 in Amsterdam, † 1709 in Amsterdam

Landscape with Homestead and Staffage, around 1665–68

Oil on wood

52.5 x 67 cm

Donation by Graf Maurice Arnold von Bendern, 1968


A gently winding road leads the viewer directly into the picture in the right half of the painting. To the left, a farm lies behind an impressive clump of trees dominating this half of the picture. Following the path, along which other farms are situated on either side, the eye beholds a remarkably expansive depth of this depiction of landscape. Right at the front are two people just coming out of the shadow of the large trees and stepping into the light zone in the foreground. Along the same axis, but some way further down the road, three people stand engrossed in conversation. The light and shadowy areas are the key elements structuring the depth of the picture. Spread out on the ground in the shadowy zone of the clump of trees in the foreground are a number of felled trees testifying to forestry work. Beyond, in the second shadowy zone, a solitary man is walking towards the nearby farm. The second clump of trees belonging to a farm situated at the right edge of the picture assists the staggered arrangement of the depiction, at the same time creating the "ponderation", the sense of equilibrium, in the landscape portrait. Thy sky is filled with softly modelled cumulus clouds. An idyllic tranquility flooded with light characteristic of High Baroque landscapes. A moving silence reigns in Hobbema's painting.

Owing to the light colouring and the loose, impasto application of paint, handled with great effect and with subtlety of nuance, the painting is dated to the period between 1665 and 1668. The composition follows in a long series of similar paintings by Hobbema in which the left half of the foreground is dark while the right permits a view into the distance. His painting was preceded by a meticulous observation of nature in the environs of Amsterdam and on travels as far as the Westphalian border. He painted his recurrent themes in varying light conditions, with different hues and in all seasons.

Christiane Meyer-Stoll

<b>Meindert Hobbema, Landscape with Homestead and Staffage, around 1665–68</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.