Frederik de Moucheron (Emden, Germany 1633 - Amsterdam 1686)

A Wooded River Landscape with a Traveller on a Track


signed ‘Moucheron’ (lower right, on the rock)
oil on canvas
61 x 78.1 cm (24 x 30¾ in)

Provenance: The Rev. Reginald Cholmondeley, Condover Hall;
(+) Christie's, London, 6 March 1897, lot 50 (28 gns. to Philpot).



Frederik de Moucheron’s majestic landscape, caught moments before the evening light dwindles into a brilliant sunset, inspires a serene and nostalgic atmosphere. The tranquillity of this bucolic ideal is brought to life by his exceptional contouring with its alternating bands of light and shade. The beautiful perspective of the work is created with a foreground interest of slender trees which act as a neat framing device. Both the winding river and the complementary curve of the dappled lowland with its mounted traveller, establish a broad and spacious view. Other human activity is evident on the curved path leading up to the castle ruins, where a shepherd tends to his small flock. There is also, in the middle distance, a modest dwelling place, its tall chimney positioned to the far left of the painting’s centre point.

Strong Italianate influences can be detected in the luminous silvering of the tree trunks and their delicately highlighted leaves. Similar silvering can be seen in another of de Moucheron’s works, An Extensive Wooded Landscape (Private Collection).

De Moucheron was heavily influenced by the second generation of Dutch Italianate artists who numbered Jan Asselijn (after 1610-1652), under whom he trained, Jan Both (c.1618-1652) and Nicholas Berchem (1620-1683) among others. These artists, active in Rome and the Netherlands from the 1630s onwards, incorporated classical architecture into their otherwise naturalistic scenery. Such a tendency is clearly apparent in the work of de Moucheron himself. De Moucheron’s paintings are appreciated in the main for their decorative and hugely attractive picturesque qualities. Consequently, he was greatly in demand by the upper classes of Amsterdam who commissioned him to paint landscapes for the walls of their homes. Towards the end of his life he even painted the walls of a doll’s house which was made and furnished in Amsterdam for Adam Oortmans and Petronella de la Court between c.1674 and 1690.