About this artwork

Maris paid his first visit to Amsterdam shortly after he returned to Holland from Paris. He seems to have been fascinated by views of the buildings along the river, and how they reflected in the water. During this period, Amsterdam was undergoing major transformations: old canals were filled in to create streets, bridges were lowered to accommodate the new trams, and the view of the cityscape from the river was being destroyed by the building of the new Central Railway Station (1882-1889), which cut the city off from the open water. Maris was notorious for his casual approach to topographical accuracy, however he seems to have deliberately ignored the encroachment of modern life on the city, and focused instead on a more peaceful and nostalgic view of the older buildings.

  • title: On the Amstel
  • accession number: NG 1049
  • artist: Jacob MarisDutch (1837 - 1899)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery(In Storage)
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Rivers
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: About 1885
  • measurements: 94.00 x 125.40 cm (framed: 168.30 x 135.60 x 16.50 cm)
  • credit line: Bequest of Hugh A. Laird 1911
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Jacob Maris

Jacob Maris

Born in The Hague, Maris trained in Antwerp and Paris, where he was greatly influenced by the art of the Barbizon painters. Much of his early work consisted of domestic scenes of figures. When Jacob returned to his native town in the summer of 1871, he had turned his back on figurative painting to concentrate on landscapes. These he tackled with his distinctive bold style. Maris’s masterful ability to capture light and atmosphere is evident in the numerous paintings he made of the same scene in slightly varying conditions. He became one of the most important members of an influential group of painters collectively known as the 'Hague School'. Despite teaching only three formal pupils (including his brother Willem), Maris’s paintings exerted an enormous influence on a number of artists.