River Landscape
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Philips Koninck
Dutch, Amsterdam, about 1675
Watercolor and bodycolor
5 5/16 x 7 7/8 in.

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With color and line, Philips Koninck integrated his composition and encouraged spectators to journey into it. He began with the wedge of land in the foreground: rivers, road, and fields converge on both sides, then gradually lead the viewer into the distance. Koninck also created depth through aerial perspective: color and tone fade as space recedes. In contrast to many Dutch artists of the 1600s who exploited watercolor's brilliant, jewel-like hues, Koninck chose a soft palette of buffs and browns, deep green, gray, and light blue. He also made extensive use of bodycolor, applying this opaque mixture thickly and loosely, particularly in the foreground. His gentle background blue and smoky chiaroscuro effects evoke the atmosphere of a bright but hazy day.

In this extremely rare colored landscape drawing, Koninck achieved the expansive space and rich atmosphere of his panoramic landscape paintings. The flatness of the Netherlands inspired this landscape drawing, but the view is imaginary rather than topographic.