Van Gogh •
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Aelbert Cuyp, a landscape artist who was often called the Dutch Lorrain,
was born in Dordrecht. He came from a family of artists; his grandfather and uncle were glass stainers and his father, Jacob
Gerritsz Cuyp, was a portraitist. Cuyp studied art with his father and had as his fellow student a young uncle. Upon the death
of his parents, Cuyp inherited a considerable fortune and a few years later, in 1659, he married a widow who was a member of a
patrician family. He was active in civic and religious affairs in Dordrecht throughout his life, becoming a deacon of the
Reformed Community in 1659, an elder of the Church Council in 1667, and a member of the Tribunal of Eight for the Southern
Provinces in 1682. Cuyp's wife died in 1689 and he probably spent the last two years of his life at the home of his only
daughter and her husband, proprietor of a brewhouse called "le Lis."
Cuyp, who painted still lives, animals, portraits, and landscapes, worked in two distinct styles. Between 1639 and 1645,
under the influence of other artists, Cuyp painted naturalistic, diagonal compositions that show a good sense of space and
an almost monochromatic yellowish-gray color. His more individualistic style, most evident in his work from the period
between 1650 and 1670, is considered his best. Cuyp's paintings are sunny and lively in atmosphere, profound in tonalities,
simple in outline, well-balanced in composition, and notable for the large, rich foreground masses. Although his palette
tends largely to yellow, pinkish red, warm browns, and olive green rather than blue and silver grey, he is considered a
forerunner of Vermeer in his handling of light.
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"The diseases that we civilized people labor under most are melancholy and pessimism."