Holland in the seventeenth century presented artists with the most man-made landscape in Europe, and one which still exerts a timeless fascination on our imaginations today. The human narrative within the painted landscape ranged from peasants working and relaxing in the tradition of Bruegel to an evocation of aristocratic estates. Meanwhile, other Dutch artists were discovering in Italy a range of different subject matter, from streetscapes to the Roman campagna. Finally there was the sea, which played a vital role in the Dutch mentality, and which was used to suggest the drama of the nations life and history. This book presents each of these types of landscape, exploring the way they relate to one another, how they stand apart, and how each enables us today to enter the Dutch Golden Age.
Desmond Shawe-Taylor is Surveyor of the Queen s Pictures."