Aelbert Cuyp was a Dutch landscape painter. He was born and died in Dordrecht. He was the son of the painter Jacob Gerritsz. Guyp, and early works such as his Landscape with Cattle (1639; Musee des Beaux-Arts, Besancon) may reflect his father's style. For a time he painted landscapes in the tonal manner of Jan van Goyen Cuyp's style began to reflect the influence of those artists, such as Jan Both (c.1618?-52), whose vision of landscape had been formed by travel in Italy.
Cuyp is best known for his river scenes and seascapes in which the moist atmosphere bathed in soft golden light lends an Arcadian quality to his work. The mood of his pictures is generally calm and silent and there is a degree of generalization in his rendering of specific localities; the View of Nijmegen (Indianapolis Museum of Art) is an example of this. Sometimes he takes a close and very low viewpoint as in the Herdsman and Five Cows By a River (National Gallery, London). Cuyp seems to have avoided narrative pictures wherever possible; his scenes of action are his least successful works. (An example is Christ Entering Jerusalem; Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum.)
The Maas st Dordrecht (Kenwood, The Iveagh Bequest, London) is one of several representations of the mouth of the river in his native town. Though there is no documentary evidence that he ever left Dordrecht, paintings and drawings suggest that he travelled to Utrecht and along the Rhine. Through his marriage in 1658 he belonged to the wealthy merchant class of Dordrecht, and he later purchased a country estate. The chronology of his work is difficult to establish since he dated so few of his pictures; but it does appear that his financial security enabled him to give up painting in his last years of his life.
Cuyp had little influence on painters outside Dordrecht, but he became a favourite of collectors, especially in England, where some of his finest works remain.
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- Source: Biographical Dictionary of Artists