|Title||Classical Landscape with River and Figures|
|Collection||Wakefield Art Gallery|
|Artist|| Attributed to Heusch, Jacob de (Dutch painter, draughtsman, and printmaker, 1657-1701)
Previously attributed to school of Lorrain, Claude (French painter and draftsman, 1604-1682, active in Italy)
Previously attributed to school of Ricci, Marco (Italian painter and draftsman, 1676-1730)
|Date Earliest||possibly about 1674|
|Description||Almost all of de Heusch's paintings depict Italianate classical landscapes, typically populated by diminutive figures. The Wakefield composition adheres to perhaps the most popular formula, presenting an expansive vista of a river, which recedes to the left distance and has numerous figures busy on its banks.|
|Current Accession Number||A1.373|
|Measurements||98.0 x 120.8 cm cm (estimate)|
|Material||oil on canvas|
|Acquisition Details||Purchased jointly with the Wakefield Permanent Art Fund 1942.|
|Notes||Jacob de Heusch was a Dutch Italianate painting landscapes in Italy and his homeland. His role as a ‘vedute' painter has been underestimated and he is usually classed as one of the last of the Italianate landscapists even though his work also points forward to the eighteenth century.
Jacon de Heusch studied under either his uncle or his cousin, but because they both signed their work with the initial 'G' (Giacomo / Guillaume), it is hard to attribute even signed workes with any authority.
Despite his skill for plagiarising other painters' styles, earning him the nickname ‘Aufdrunk', he interpreted Salvator Rosa's picturesque approach with striking originality. He was to make a considerable impact on the next generation of landscape painters such as van Bloemen, Locatelli and Carlevaris.
In a letter dated 23rd March 1954 to the then Director, Miss Helen Kapp, H.F. Constantine of Sheffield wrote: 'the picture is undoubtedly North Italian of the eighteenth century and I would personally say Venetian and a follower of Marco Ricci'. Shortly after, in May of the same year, Francis Watson of the Wallace Collection, London, confirmed it as a work of the eighteenth century, but doubted whether it was Italian at all. He wrote: 'I should have thought it more likely to be by a Frenchman or, perhaps a Dutchman working in Italy.'This proposal must certainly have influenced the work's subsequent reattribution to 'School of Claude', although when the name of Jacob de Heusch was put forward is not documented.
. De Heusch's debt to Claude is particularly pertinent to this painting, as he has imitated not only his style but also, more specifically, the composition of his predecessor's The Artist's Favourite Mill (Northbrook Collection). The mill itself would seem to be the inspiration for de Heusch's central, circular building that creates a strong contrast with the framing classical pillars at the picture's left edge. Even the woman reclining at their base finds origins in Claude's painting, where he has placed a comparable figure at the foot of his own framing device. These women serve not only to encourage the spectator to gaze further into the painting, but also help to offer a sense of scale, where both artists are striving to underline the enormity and grandeur of nature, and the relative insignificance of man within it.
|Rights Owner||Wakefield Art Gallery|