Aelbert Cuyp (Dutch, 1620–1691) This drawing is a masterful portrayal of a distant cityscape confined by an endless sky and wide body of water. It shows Cuyp’s native city of Dordrecht along the River Maas in topographical detail, with major and minor buildings identifiable. It begins on the left with the windmills outside the North Dike Harbor, moving right to the Riedijkse Harbor and Riedijkse Gate, the Melkpoortje (little Milk Gate) within the wall of the quay, to the Groothoofdspoort, then to the northern entrance to the New Harbor. Close examination of the right edge of the sheet suggests that this drawing was cut down and originally may have included Dordrecht’s largest church, the so-called Grote Kerk with its large, square tower. The tuffs of vegetation in the foreground together with the sparing application of gum arabic to saturate the dark brown ink enhances the vastness of this panorama, which Cuyp seemingly sketched in black chalk from an embankment or boat before adding the colored washes back in the studio. The distant cityscape filled with intricate details and the broad stretch of water with delicate reflections lend this drawing an extraordinary richness. Although made as a highly finished work of art, the sheet relates to a painting of Dordrecht that dates to 1647. Of considerable proportions that painting was cut in half. The left hand part hangs in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the right in the Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig. The proposed sheet relates to a handful of large, highly finished panoramic views of various Dutch cities. These all have the same watermark and can be dated between 1645 and 1652. They are now in the Rijksmuseum, Harvard Art Museums, Teyler Museum, and the Albertina.
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