From around 1640, Aert van der Neer’s works are marked by intense artistic experimentation as he explored the representation of landscape under the varying effects of light and atmosphere. As with many of Van der Neer’s works, the present panel is undated, and a chronology is not always easy to establish within his œuvre
. It would appear, however, to fit with a group of small-scale paintings produced during the 1640s and early 1650s, featuring wooded, village landscapes and stretches of water with ferry or rowing boats, characterised by a preoccupation with the rendering of natural light. See, for example, a panel of similar dimensions, which depicts a Village in the evening with a canal and drawbridge
, datable to circa
1645 (sold Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 17 November 1980, lot 7).1
This painting, which captures a peaceful, unhurried scene at sunset, may be regarded as part of Van der Neer’s exploration of mood as defined by specific times of day, that would ultimately lead to his refinement of the rendering of moonlit landscapes, for which he became best known.
1 See Schulz 2002, pp. 272-73, cat. no. 586, reproduced fig. 119.