AERT VAN DER NEER
Nocturnal Canal Landscape with Fishing Boats
Oil on canvas
Inv. No. 1092
41.8 × 52.2 cm
The Amsterdam painter Aert van der Neer specialized in winter and moonlit landscapes characterized by subtle handling of the light and a highly atmospheric quality. This nocturnal canal landscape is among his best works: constructed according to the principles of central perspective, the composition is bathed in pale backlight by the full moon. The celestial body is low on the horizon and partially hidden by clouds; the shapes of boats, trees, houses and staffage figures can be made out in front of it. With deliberately placed light reflections, the mirror-image of the lunar disc in the water and the dramatically illuminated cloud formations, he sensitively captures the nocturnal atmosphere.