Roelandt Savery (Kortrijk, 1576 – Utrecht, 1639)
Landscape with a castle, animated with figures

Oil on wood
42 x 64 cm
Signed at the bottom on the dead tree in the foreground: “R. SAVERY”

Inv. 2007.6.1

Acquisition 2007
With a contribution from the Museums Regional Acquisition Fund

Masterpieces | Earthly & Spiritual Matters

Follow the convoy!

Roelandt Savery was born in Kortrijk in 1576. A pupil of his brother Jacob, he soon left his home town to get away from the political and religious instability that was rife at the time in the former polities in the Netherlands. From 1606 to 1614, he lived at the Prague Court alongside Emperor Rudolf II, who was a great art lover, where he developed a taste for landscape painting as well as animal depictions.

The composition of this landscape is classical, organised in three successive tiers. Savery abides by the tradition of Flemish landscapes by using varying shades of brown in the foreground, green in the middle ground and blue in the background. The colours as well as the edges of the painting, for example the dead tree in the foreground or rock on the right, provide perspective and lead the onlooker’s eye in to the middle of the composition.

Movement is created by the chase happening on the right: riders are trying to catch up with the robbers of a chariot. It is fairly uncommon to see so many figures in action in Savery’s landscapes; over time, his paintings were increasingly given over to sole portrayals of Nature and animals.