Alkmaar 1621 – 1675 Amsterdam

Riverscape with Sailboat and a Joyful Company

Pen and brush in brown ink, brown wash, over black chalk; framing lines in brown ink
Inscriptions: recto, lower right corner, indistinctly visible monogram: AVE
10.4 x 10.2 cm

Private collection, Swiss; Collection of Count Stroganoff (Lugt 550, c. 1910)

Alice I. Davies, The Drawings of Allart van Everdingen, Devaco Publishers, Doornspijk 2007.

This delightful and recently rediscovered drawing by Allart van Everdingen shows an elegant company of well-dressed people, who are about to board a sailing boat. On the other side of the river a stately home stands between the trees, complementing the scenery, while on the left side of the bank a few grazing cows can be seen, all meticulously rendered. The sheet is related to a series of drawings depicting ‘The Twelve Months’, a subject that can be traced back to the Middle Ages, and which was, at the beginning of the seventeenth-century in Holland, further pursued in a more naturalistic manner by Jan van de Velde II (1593-1641). Van Everdingen continued this tradition, closely relating the appearance of his subjects to everyday life, making his drawings highly realistic.

Here, the artist probably depicted the month of May, using leisure activities and pleasant weather as its metaphor. The drawing is fluently and cogently executed, showing van Everdingen’s fabulous drawing skills, which can be observed in the treatment of the figures, the boat, and the many lovely details. Given the naturalistic impression of the drawing, one could easily come to believe that it was done from nature. But like so many of his contemporaries, van Everdingen mainly turned to nature and society as a source of inspiration. As a gifted artist he used his own imagination and talent to create realistic and natural impressions. The drawing before us, therefore, might best be understood as a lively reminiscence of the Dutch landscape, of which the exact location eludes the observer.

We are grateful to Alice Davies who confirmed the attribution to Allart van Everdingen.

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