Amsterdam (About 1878)
About this artwork
This view of one of Amsterdam’s many waterways includes two features that increasingly attracted Maris’s interest, and became a motif in his work: the windmills and the draw bridge. Draw bridges were used to span canals, and they could be raised to allow taller vessels to pass along the canal. Maris excelled at presenting ordinary subjects in a powerful way through his energetic application of paint and his dedication to the description of atmosphere. Although Maris’s picture draws heavily on the work of the French Impressionist painters, it is firmly rooted in the Dutch tradition of painting townscapes, which peaked in the seventeenth century with works such as Jan Vermeer’s ‘View of Delft’ (Mauritshuis, The Hague).
- title: Amsterdam
- accession number: NG 1050
- artist: Jacob MarisDutch (1837 - 1899)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Painting
- subject: Rivers
- materials: Oil on canvas
- date created: About 1878
- measurements: 34.30 x 58.40 cm (framed: 62.00 x 86.00 x 9.50 cm)
- credit line: Bequest of Hugh A. Laird 1911
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
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.