Brusati Reflection MG

The picture that caught my attention the most was: View of Nieuwe Gracht near the Bolwerk, Haarlem, by Wybrand Hendriks. As seen this painting depicts the early canals of Niewue Gracht and the overall habit at the time, the second picture I included shows what Niewue Gracht looks like today. I believe this painter did a good job of implementing perspective into this picture, and the longer I spend looking at it from different angles the more new things I see. The first thing I noticed was the long canoe wadding in the water with a pile of hay on top, while a man is tying it to a post. Then looking directly above I noticed what almost looks like a meadow of hay, where a flock of chickens are walking and another man is raking the hay. Behind that is a woman about to cross a bridge, and then following the bridge all the way across I noticed a person knelling inside of what appears to be a door frame to a decomposing home. Similar to the Interior of the Church of St. Bavo in Haarlem, this painting uses a wide shot which opens up the picture to the viewer and gives them a good point of perspective. Thus as Van Hoogstraten states, “perspective, he asserts, is indispensable to the painter,  whose task it is to present nature not as it is, but as art appears to the eye,” which is what Hendriks is doing using a wide shot. I also noticed Hendriks used frames to draw attention to some of the more subtle details within the painting. For example, the door where the man is knelling in the back left corner. Once again Hoogstraten said he used this technique to peak the curiosity of those who view his images and this maintain active viewing. As I look at this in real time the meaning that I draw from this is Hendriks wanted to get a snapshot of society. Not nessicerally a special day or celebration,  but rather just a normal day and a moment of time which people from like us could look back on. This is the reason why I decided to add the second picture of current day society because I find the comparison humbling by admiring how much change can happen in a relativity short period of time. 


3 thoughts on “Brusati Reflection MG

  1. Thank you for including the present-day picture! It gave me a unique perspective on the painting. When I looked at this painting, I also noticed the canoe first. Hendriks does a great job of using not only door frames but also nature to provide perspective. The two large trees on either side of the boat act as a natural frame. I was also drawn to the canoe because of the glistening water. The majority of the painting is painted in hues of green; thus, the clear reflection in the water caught my attention.

    After looking at the canoe, my eyes bounced around the painting. Most of the human figures in the painting are framed by some sort of vertical line or structure. This enables the figures to stand-out. In addition, the frames also call attention to the various details around the figures.

    I would be interested to know Hendriks’ reaction to the present-day picture. Although the street seems calm, I wonder if he would be upset that the area has been built-up? It would also be interesting to see Hendriks paint the present-day landscape. Brusati praises the use of the camera obscura to help painters “gain knowledge of nature and to observe the characteristic features of a ‘truly natural’ painting”, but I would like to see Hendriks use a modern-day camera to help him capture this landscape (Brusati 918). I wonder what additional details would have been added to this painting if a camera were available during this time?


    1. I also noted how much Amsterdam seems to have lost its greenery and meadow like features. I for one seem to favor that type of landscape, and appreciated your choice in art. Similar to your choice in painting as well, I seem to have chosen a piece that reflects society on a normal day. Mine takes place in the winter as people ice skating within the town — but it doesn’t appear to be any sort of celebration. Another note of similarity, the attention to small details stuck with me as well. I drew attention to the think branches of a tree, and I thought that was so simple yet able to grasp my attention so well.


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