December is upon us - and we are all charging towards Christmas' Eve and all that beautiful Christmas Season.
Huntsmen halted - Birmingham, Barber Institute of Fine Arts - is another fine painting of hunters in very orientalised costumes (allegedly Hungarian) and their fine horses by the Dordrecht born and bred painter Aelbert Cuyp, who without visiting the sunny Italian Peninsula was able to convey the warm glow of the southern European light, also note the unusual and rather 'conjured' landscape.
Accordingly, Cuyp studied the Dutch and other masters who had visited Italy and so then he studied their paintings in Dordrecht in order to produce his own golden-glow light, in which he was quite successful. On the museum page they make a claim that Cuyp was influenced by the poetic light of Claude Lorrain.
These three hunters are allegedly the sons of a Dutch diplomat and statesman Cornelis van Beveren.
The African groom or a page is this time armed with a fine hunting sword and dressed in similar, orientalised fashion of his masters.
The black groom in this painting reflects the colonial history of the Dutch Republic, their far flung sea trade, including slaving ship ventures and participation in direct slave trade between the New Worl and African Continent, as well as their still small but very profitable African, American and East Asian colonial possessions and their exploitation.
It was the age of Embarrassment of Riches, as scholar Simon Schama calls the Dutch Golden Age, a time of unprecedented prosperity and influence during their golden XVII century. It was the British ships and the French guns that brought that Golden Age to a closure, but then nothing lasts for ever, does it?
|highly decorated saddle, note the lack of the thigh support with breastplate|
|cinches and longs leather stirrups|
|fine hot-blooded mounts, perhaps Oriental blood in dapple grey horse and perhaps a Spanish or more eastern the black one, or perhaps both horses are Polish or Hungarian or Turkish imports , note the ornate bridles with curb-bits?|
|beautiful bay - perhaps Spanish, Polish or Barb - with ornate bridle with a bit, short curb-bit?|
|fine pasterns and hooves shod with horse shoes|
|low-set tail of the dapple-grey horse, also note its crouper, on the bay in the background there is another fine breastplate|