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The approach to a village.
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The approach to a village.
Work Type
prints, etchings, drypoints, works on paper
etching and drypoint
Plate: 282mm (width), 189mm (height), Support: 284mm (width), 193mm (height), Secondary support: 298mm (width), 207mm (height)

Simon de Vlieger (c. 1601-1653) was an early Dutch Golden Age artist. His training is undocumented, but his early paintings display the monochrome palette of a marine painter. Willem van de Velde the Elder also may have taught him.

From the late 1620s de Vlieger worked in Rotterdam, moving to Delft in 1634 and joining the Guild of Saint Luke there. Four years later he was in Amsterdam. He provided designs for festivities associated with Marie de' Medici's visit to Amsterdam, designed tapestries for Delft's magistrates, painted organ shutters for Rotterdam's Laurenskerk, and designed stained-glass windows for Amsterdam's prestigious Nieuwe Kerk. He also made approximately 20 etchings and drypoints - Te Papa currently has four such works, all of which were presented to the Colonial Museum by Bishop Ditlev Monrad in 1869.

De Vlieger's influence on Dutch marine painting was decisive. His early tendency to portray dramatic rocky coasts gave way to placid, deeply spatial marine vistas, whose firmly structured compositions and calm seas influenced Jan van de Cappelle. Colors in his late seascapes became brighter and more blond, possibly in response to Van de Cappelle's work. Even de Vlieger's few history paintings have marine settings. His rare landscapes anticipate works by Jacob van Ruisdael and Meindert Hobbema.

The subject of this etching/drypoint combination is the approach to a village. A horse-drawn waggon, accompanied by cattle, is making its way past a row of tall houses on the left, headed by a scampering dog. On the right, a man is drawing water from a well and animals are drinking from a trough nearby, beside which a very tall tree is growing. Two pigs are engaged in earnest conversation in the right foreground - or more likely are in pursuit of anything edible. De Vlieger's scene shows his characteristic lightness and rightness of touch, and a touch of humour too.

See: J. Paul Getty Museum, 'Simon de Vlieger',

Dr Mark Stocker Curator, Historical International Art April 2019

Collection: Art
Gift of Bishop Monrad, 1869
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Image and original data provided by Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa
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