Philips Koninck
(Amsterdam, 1619-1688, Amsterdam)
Landscape with Resting Traveller, 1665
Oil on canvas, 65.5 x 94.5 cm
Signed & dated lower left: Pkonink 1665
Gerson 1
Koninck painted many similar landscapes; we have to distinguish them, but the designation of the given motif may be an undue distraction from the spirit of generality aimed at by the painter. By the wayside, left foreground, a traveller with a basket on his back is resting. Another wanderer strides off, only the upper part of his body with knapsack being visible. There are no other human figures here, but these two are not lost in the enormous panorama; there are cattle in a field to the left, a building to the right of the central axis, and a town, barely visible in the background. A river also winds its way to the horizon. In such paintings Koninck converted the homely flat landscape into an artistic experience: the scene is immense, but there are slight rises and vegetation to animate it; it spreads out almost like the sea before the eye of the beholder, boldly represented without lateral supports in the foreground, flowing, as it were, toward the skyline without a break, this feeling being one of the most difficult things for a landscape painter to convey. What is decisive in Koninck's paintings are the colours that articulate the picture and create atmosphere. The artist's typical blue-green, dark green and brown tones produce the major impression, contrasting with the sandy yellow in the foreground. The brown-lilac ground tone is evident everywhere, especially in the distance and in the sky. The clouds contrast dramatically with the plain; only the spots lighted from the upper left are in accordance with the original appearance; if the rest looks like the atmosphere of a rainy day, we must keep in mind that this effect was not intended by the artist, but is due to later changes in the painting's condition.