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CUYP, Aelbert/ ARTISTS 1650-1899/ ART MAIN film and food
(b. 1620, Dordrecht, d. 1691, Dordrecht) literature and food

Aelbert was born and died at Dordrecht, but he seems to have travelled along Holland's great rivers to the eastern part of the Netherlands, and he also painted views of Westphalia. A prodigious number of pictures are ascribed to him, but his oeuvre poses many problems. He often signed his paintings but rarely dated them, and a satisfactory chronology has never been established. Although he had little influence outside Dordrecht, Cuyp had several imitators there, and some of the paintings formerly attributed to him are now given to Abraham Calraet (1642-1722), who signed himself 'AC' (the same initials as Cuyp).

In 1658 Cuyp married a rich widow, and in the 1660s he seems to have virtually abandoned painting. He was almost forgotten for two generations after his death. Late 18th-century English collectors are credited with rediscovering his merits, and he is still much better represented in English collections, public and private, than in Dutch museums. His finest works - typically river scenes and landscapes with placid, dignified-looking cows - show great serenity and masterly handling of glowing light (usually Cuyp favored the effects of the early morning or evening sun). He approaches Claude more closely in spirit than any of his countrymen who travelled to Italy.

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Cuyp - amazon.co.uk  
chevre
Cuyp - The Dairy Maid  

The Dairy Maid
1650s
Oil on canvas, 106 x 172 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
 

From the 1650s onward golden sunlight becomes the all-pervading element in Cuyp's paintings. It spreads warmth and beauty over the Dutch countryside, where sturdy animals - most often cows - take the place of human heroes. They stand or rest in complete harmony with nature, breathing the invigorating air of the never-distant sea. Herds of cows in Cuyp's paintings can be seen as allusions to the pride the Dutch took in their celebrated, profitable dairy industry. In literature and emblems of the time the cow was used as a symbol of various abstract ideas (fertility, loyalty, wealth, moderation, and as a symbol of the Netherlands).