NEER, Aert van der
(b. 1603/04, Amsterdam, d. 1677, Amsterdam)

The Farrier

Oil on wood, 48 x 61 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Nocturnal landscapes were a popular subject of Dutch painters and printmakers from about 1620 onward, and were inspired in part by engravings after Adam Elsheimer's Flight into Egypt. In the 1640s, night scenes in both interior and exterior settings flourished in such different fields as religious paintings, architectural views, and landscapes. Most Dutch nocturnes were painted in the area of Haarlem and Amsterdam. Aert van der Neer painted more than a hundred night scenes with greatly varied motifs in Amsterdam.

The present painting depicts a blacksmith's shop at the edge of a river, with a wooded area at the opposite side. In both subject and scale, the smithy is exceptional in Aert van der Neer's oeuvre.