Image from page 131 of "Great pictures, as seen and described by famous writers" (1899)
Publisher: New York : Dodd, Mead and Company
Contributing Library: Boston Public Library
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lls of ships in profile against a sky where the sun isveiled; to the right, a nursery-garden of shrubs androse-trees separated from the road by a wide ditch full ofwater; then, in the middle distance, the buildings of a farm;to the left, a clump of trees and another ditch, and furtherback the spire of a church; a huntsman, with a gun on hisshoulder and preceded by his dog, is walking on the road,and two peasants — a man and a woman — have stoppedto chat on the path that leads across to the farm; a horti-culturist is grafting the shrubs in the nursery-garden; andthis corner of a landscape has sufficed for Hobbema to pro-duce a masterpiece which the National Gallery of Londonis justly proud to possess. This youngest of the greatEuropean Museums is not the poorest and owns very con-siderable works of every school. What is most admired in this picture of the Dutch Mas-ter ? The firmness of touch, the brilliancy of the key, theease and breadth of execution without the slightest sign of
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THE AVENUE OF MIDDELHARNAIS 89 hesitation or alteration, or the extraordinary perfection withwhich the perspective is rendered ? We do not know.Despite the complexity of the subject, the one defect ofwhich may be a slight lack of unity in the composition, thegeneral effect of the picture is simple and powerful, and thegradation of colour harmonious and correct. It would beimpossible to go any farther than this artist has done in theinterpretation of this tranquil Dutch landscape. The deepvalues of the trees, the yellowish greys of the road, and thesluggish water of the ditches, together with the blue skyflecked with little grey and white clouds produce anensemble of absolute calm. The little figures which givelife to this canvas are so fine and delicate in execution thatthey leave nothing to be desired. Here, as very rarelyhappens, the multiplication of details does not spoil theeffect of the whole. This is a picture absolutely without a peer, and a pageby itself in Hobbemas work. Thi
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