Forest Landscape with a Distant Castle
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Denys van Alsloot
Flemish, Netherlands, 1608
Pen and brown ink, brown and blue-gray wash
8 x 10 7/8 in.

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This tranquil landscape with buildings in the distance is a symphony of varied lines enhanced by a delicate use of wash. Denys van Alsloot's fragile line ranges from the elegant curves of the tree trunks to squiggles suggesting leaves to almost dotlike notations for the grasses in the marsh at the center. Alsloot, official painter to the Brussels court, often created imaginary scenes like this one, including castles and abbeys seen in the nearby forest of Soignes.

A central clump of trees clearly divides the scene; at right, trees surround a path, and to the left a river meanders through rocks and mountains, stretching into a panoramic view. At least two of Alsloot's paintings show the same composition in mirror image.

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