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View of the Fortifications at Gennep on the Maas River

Accession Number
2000/2.2

Title
View of the Fortifications at Gennep on the Maas River

Artist(s)
Salomon van Ruysdael

Object Creation Date
1665

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

Dimensions
22 9/16 in x 34 7/16 in (57.31 cm x 87.47 cm);29 ¾ in x 41 ⅝ in (75.57 cm x 105.73 cm);22 9/16 in x 34 7/16 in (57.31 cm x 87.47 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase in honor of Charles H. Sawyer made possible by the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund

Label copy
March 28, 2009
In this canvas the successful landscape painter and businessman Salomon van Ruysdael portrays the fort overlooking the Maas River at Gennep, a town of strategic military importance on the southeastern border of the Netherlands. The painting commemorates the recapture of Gennep by the Dutch from the Spanish armies in 1641 during the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) in which the Netherlands won its independence from the Spanish Habsburg Empire. From the battlements of the fort waves an orange flag, a reference to the House of Orange, whose members were instrumental in the formation of the Dutch Republic.
Van Ruysdael painted many river landscapes during his career, often combining key elements such as rustic ferryboats, livestock, fishermen, shining expanses of water, and bright accents of color with compositional formulas that create a sense of depth and expansiveness in the terrain. The nationalistic overtones of this canvas indicate how the struggle for independence and the subsequent search for a Dutch national identity strongly shaped the demand for landscape paintings in the seventeenth-century Netherlands.

Subject matter
This landscape depicts the fort overlooking the Maas River at Gennep, a town of strategic military importance in the southeastern the Netherlands. The painting commemorates the recapture of Gennep by the Dutch from the Spanish armies in 1641 during the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648) in which the Dutch won their independence from Spain. From the battlements of the fort waves an orange flag, a reference to the House of Orange whose members were instrumental in the formation of the Dutch Republic.

Physical Description
The low horizon used in this landscape painting creates a sense of expansive sky and flat terrain, which is divided equally between river and land. Figures and animals engage in variety of activities on the riverbank and in boats, including fishing and ferrying cargo and animals. Silhouetted against the vast sky stands a fortress on a spur of land with an orange flag flying from its tower. The opposite bank is visible in the distance as a dark broken line across the shining stretch of water.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
landscape

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
boats
cows (mammals)
fortresses
landscapes (representations)
oil paintings (visual works)

13 Related Resources

Tour: Seasons
(Part of: Touring & Teaching)
Landscape and Nature, Comparative and Historical
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Second Grade Tour: My Community, My World
(Part of: Visit UMMA: Curricular Tour Descriptions for Teachers)
Second Grade Tour: Fishing Focus My Community, My World
(Part of: Visit UMMA: Curricular Tour Descriptions for Teachers)
Fifth Grade Tour: Elements of Art
(Part of: Visit UMMA: Curricular Tour Descriptions for Teachers)
Second Grade: My Community, My World
(Part of: Docent Curricular Tours)
Fifth Grade: Elements of Art
(Part of: Docent Curricular Tours)
Seasons Tour
(Part of: Docent Thematic Tours)
Travel
(Part of: Exchange and Influence on Global Trade Routes)

& Author Notes

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