The present lot is a characteristic example of the panoramic Rhenish river landscapes with which Koekkoek established his reputation as the great Dutch romantic landscape painter during the 1840's. A characteristic trait in these works was the glowing sunset which both unified the landscape as enhanced the idyllic nature of the piece. Also the high foregrond, giving the viewer a brilliant opportunity to survey all the various sections of the landscape in one glance, was a typical and recurrent motive in the artist's oeuvre.
Koekkoek's pictoral world is one of timeless idealism. Any allusions to modern times are carefully avoided with farmers in timeless costumes taking place of contemporary clad figures. Sailing boats are depicted rather than steamships. Medieval ruins and towns with a fantastic medieval architecture are preferred above realistic topographical depictions of existing towns. If by chance a contemporary motive would appear, it would be gracefully absorbed into the overall romantic aura of the landscape, like the smoking chimney in the right background in the present lot (see A. Nollert, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (1803-1862), Prins der Landschapschilders, 1997, pp. 43-47).
In the 1850's Koekkoek further developed the theme of the panoramic river landscape by painting each individual section in the landscape in even further detail. Although this attention to detail from this period can already be observed in the busy background town of the present lot, the overall execution of the landscape still shows a great similarity to the landscapes of the 1840's.
There are no preliminary drawings that can be brought into connection with the present lot. This is no surprise when one considers Koekkoek's working method: he preferred to paint directly in a broad brushstroke on the panel as he disliked to have to repeat the same composition twice. In his testimony to young artists, herinneringen en Mededeelingen van eenen landschapschilder, 1841, pp. 98-103, Koekkoek meticiously described his working method: his main concern was to include sources of light and dark in the composition, giving priority to the play of sunlight and shadows above everything else.