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A Wide Landscape with Resting Country Folk. Black chalk, grey and greyish-brown wash; borderline in black ink. 17.8 x 26 cm. Signed: PMolyn.
Like his colleague from Haarlem, Jan van Goyen, Pieter de Molijn was a prolific draughtsman who produced numerous sheets – especially in the 1650s – which satisfied the greatly increased demand for finished, picture-like drawings and should be regarded as separate works in their own right. Without exception they were chalk drawings with grey or brown wash. The majority of these sheets are signed and dated. Molijn preferred identical paper formats, and the comparable compositional structure of these drawings indicates that they were produced as a series. The finely drawn landscapes are often in horizontal format; they are arranged in several parallel layers of space and enlivened by staffage figures placed to good effect. Molijn probably adopted a drawing procedure similar to that employed by van Goyen. He observed his motifs outdoors and drew sketches in situ, but did the drawings in his studio. His cautious and careful method of composition suggests that most of his landscapes are imaginary. The vigorous, granular stroke of the chalk and the use of certain recurrent abbreviations, such as the little round hooks for the depiction of the foliage, are typical features of Molijn’s style. The flowing wash produces soft chiaroscuro contrasts and an atmospheric diffusion of the landscape, engendering a very special natural lyricism.
From the collection of A. Glüenstein (Lugt 123).