'Winter Landscape at Sunset' was painted by Aert van der Neer c.1650-55 and is an oil on canvas naturalistic work of size and prominence which presently hangs in the Leicester New Walk Museum. This particular work has been chosen for analysis because this busy scene of limited palette has, despite its low horizon, a high number of subjects grouped towards the centre of the image, buildings and trees at the outskirt and an active sky without appearing crowded or fantasist.
The purpose of this essay will be to analyse these elements of the painting; examining style, content and context with an objective reference to the title, medium, colour, line, space, scale and overall composition. The analysis will then move on to attempt to identify any emphasised elements, underlying patterns or emotional intent or invocation.
Contextual analysis of the painting will be made with a view to establishing patronage or motive.
This will commence with a brief history of the artist and his contemporaries to assess whether the techniques, style or subject matter are common or unusual. Any political, religious or social contexts will also be considered. The essay will conclude following a comprehensive scrutiny of the image with a summary of the key features of the work.
* * *The painting has been monographed VDN and has been confidently attributed to van der Neer. Provenance is not exhaustive but suggests the painting has been in England for over 100 years and when attained by the government in lieu of tax was donated to the Leicester museum in 1979 . The title of the painting has not been proven to have been given by the artist and it is believed to have been referred to simply as a Dutch landscape when exhibited previously. The title is apposite though as the subject...