The landscapes of Adriaen van de Velde are among the very best that the Dutch Golden Age produced, showing great variety and superb draughtsmanship, depicting meadows, Italianate views, beaches, dunes, forests, winter scenes, and portraits in landscape settings. Delicate and carefully composed, his paintings demonstrate his mastery of lighting effects as well as the human figure. The short-lived artist's work was greatly appreciated in the 18th and 19th centuries, highly sought after by collectors in Germany, France and England. Despite that fame and the exquisite quality of Adriaen van de Velde's output, however, there has never been an exhibition or monograph devoted to the artist - until now. This substanial and richly illustrated catalogue - which accompanies a major exhibition at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London - will be the definitive reference on the artist, examining his life and work, working methods, pupils and followers, collaborations and legacy.
As well as bringing together 60 of Van de Velde's masterpieces shown in the exhibition, this publication surveys and illustrates over 150 of his other works, including a large number of drawings, which are widely considered to be a high point in 17th-century Dutch draughtsmanship. The artist made figure and animal studies in seductive red chalk and compositional studies in pen and ink in preparation for his paintings, making it possible to follow very precisely the various phases in his creative process - perhaps more so than is possible for any other Dutch artist of the period. For this reason, and because of their exceptional quality, drawings form a major part of the exhibition that this catalogue accompanies, with some of them reunited for the first time with the paintings for which they were studies. The publication therefore offers not only a survey of the artist's oeuvre but also a rare glimpse of a 17th-century Dutch landscape painter at work, from conception to completion.