The Dutch landscape was largely created by man, except for the sandy beaches and dunes along the coast, which were mostly created by nature. In the seventeenth century, when the Netherlands was the most urbanised region in Europe, the dunes offered a welcome refuge for the inhabitants of the overcrowded cities. Among those who sought refuge were 17th-century artists such as Goltzius and Rembrandt. Their works portray not only the entertaining qualities of the dunes, but also their grand, quiet and rugged nature. From 15 March to 20 June 2011, the Rijksmuseum
is exhibiting a selection of more than twenty of its most beautiful drawings and prints of dune landscapes in the 17th century.
Huigen Leeflang (Rijksmuseum Curator of Prints): The dunes were the birthplace of Dutch landscape art. Its remarkable that the way we experience the dunes has changed little in all those centuries. We still enjoy retreating to the dunes and artists are still inspired by the same grandness and rugged beauty.
The earliest known Dutch landscape drawings are the dune landscapes created by Hendrick Goltzius around 1600 in the Haarlem area. Numerous landscape specialists followed him, including Esaias van de Velde, Pieter Molijn, Claes van Beresteyn, Hendrick Goltzius, Aelbert Cuyp and Rembrandt.
The exhibition depicts situations ranging from disaster tourists fascinated by beached whales to city dwellers on trips to the linen bleachers.