François van Knibbergen


Wood (oak), oil, 35.3 x 47.5 cm

The landscape belongs to an important period in the formation of Dutch tonal painting. Therefore, here the monochrome manner in depicting the earth is still combined with the soft blue color of the sky in the gaps among the clouds. Tonal painting uses light and shadow contrasts. Bright light from the depths of the picture consistently illuminates the entire composition up to the foreground immersed in shadow. The artist, avoiding planes, uses masterful brushwork to weave small details of the landscape, filling it with the complex texture of rocks, thickets of bushes and dry fallen trees, among which he often has spruce trees. Staffage figures at three perspective points help the viewer determine the scale of the landscape. It is quite intimate, which is typical for Dutch landscape painting. Knibbergen's refined, whimsical style of painting was noted by his contemporaries. The painter, writer and art theorist Samuel van Hoogstraten in his book “Introduction to the High School of Painting” described the competition between the artists Knibbergen, Porcellis and Goyen. Analyzing the technique of the masters, the author compares Knibbergen's painting with pen drawing.