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Dirk Maas (Haarlem 1659-1717 Haarlem)

Cavalry troops passing through a mountainous landscape

signed ‘D. Maas’
black chalk, grey wash, black chalk framing lines
16.9 x 23.2 cm

With Jeroen Jurjens Fine Art, Amsterdam;
Private collection, The Netherlands.

Dirk Maas’ artistic output consisted of paintings, prints and drawings of (almost exclusively) cavalry and equestrian scenes. The vast majority of his paintings and drawings depict Arcadian landscapes with travelling horsemen and cavalry troops passing through. According to Houbraken, Maas took his subject matter and style from his first master, Nicolaes Berchem (1622-1683), while he was later inspired by his second master, Jan van Huchtenburg (1646-1733), to specialize in equestrian scenes all together. [1] In his etchings, Maas too focused on depictions of equestrian subjects; they mainly show dressage riders performing different movements, while he also produced a number of battle scenes and a series of depictions of soldiers. He gained considerable success as a printer and painter and received various commissions from the court in The Hague, including a hunting scene for king William III and two ceiling paintings for Soestdijk Palace. [2]
The present sheet, signed in the lower right, is typical for the artist’s drawing both in style and subject. The soft, feathery use of the chalk and subtle use of wash, can be closely compared to two drawings in the Rijksmuseum and three drawings in the Morgan Library & Museum. Annemarie Stefes has observed that these darwings, which are similar in size, subject and execution, probably blonged to a ‘’stock of similar finished drawings from which buyers could choose.’’ She furthermore observe that ‘’None of these drawings is dated, but they may have been executed before the artist went to England in 1690.’’ [3]

[1] A. Houbraken, De groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en Schilderessen […],
Amsterdam, 1753, vol. III, [second edition], p. 362.
[2] I. van Thiel-Stroman, ‘Dirck Carelsz Maas’, in Painting in Haarlem 1500-1850. The Collection of the Frans Hals Museum, Ghent and Haarlem, 2006, pp. 227.
[3] A. Stefes, 2018, 'Dirk Maas, Hilly Landscape with Hunters on Horseback, Haarlem, c. 1680 - c. 1690', in J. Turner (ed.), Dutch Drawings of the Seventeenth Century in the Rijksmuseum, online coll. cat. Amsterdam: (accessed 12 March 2024 12:26:01).

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