The present large and unlined canvas by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek displays many of the qualities for which the artist is so highly regarded. Painted in 1840 when Koekkoek had developed his fully fledged pictorial style, the picture does not have the somewhat stiff elements that his earlier sometimes has. A softly undulating landscape is adorned with towering trees amongst which the soft reds, yellows and pinks of a rising sun appear in the distance. In addition to this, Koekkoek has taken great care in applying lovely detailing to individual flowers and shrubs close to the picture plane.
The year after the present lot was painted Koekkoek published an artists-manual for apprentices called Herinneringen en Mededeelingen eenen Landschapschilder. It takes the reader on one of the journeys which the artist used to take along the Rhine and draws attention to the many specific characteristics of nature and the environment. It was intended as a manual for painting landscapes and contains many ideas about nature and art, as well as advice concerning possible subject-matter and techniques.
In order to attain the highest degree of excellence, Koekkoek advised his pupils to study after nature as much as possible. The warm glow of a sunset or the cold silver light of early morning, the overwhelming character of an approaching storm or the fresh green of a forest drying after a mild rain, they all had to be studied so that they may be properly reflected in paint. According to Koekkoek the effects of sunlight was 'de ziel van alles' (the soul of everything). The apprentice had to absorb this above all to enable him to record nature in the studio. Although Koekkoek stated that a study of nature was the only way to perfect artistic craftsmanship, he also directed his pupils to the Dutch 17th Century masters. After all, they too had chosen nature as a guide. But though indebted to the 17th Century masters, nature remained his main source of inspiration. He wrote:
'Alles wat gij naar de natuur maakt, is nieuw, dus origineel,want uw model blijft het altijd. Gij zijt volkomen onafhankelijk; behoeft geene penseelsbehandeling te volgen, want de natuur is niet geschilderd; volgt slechts de waarheid. Gij verrijkt Uwe portefeuille met een schat van schoonheden, die gij naderhand in het barre jaargetijde, in uwe kamer gezeten raadpleegt (...), om iets schoons te scheppen en eene nieuwe schilderij de wereld te laten zien'.
The authenticity has kindly been confirmed by Drs G. de Werd, director of Museum Haus Koekkoek, Cleves, after firsthand examination.