(b. 1620/21, Schiedam, d. 1673, Amsterdam)

Barges on a River

c. 1655
Oil on canvas, 43,5 x 35,5 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Adam Pynacker is said to have spent three years in Italy. Although no documentary evidence support the statement, the subtly observed reflections of the light clouds in the luminous morning sky upon the mirror-smooth water of his outstanding Barges on a River suggest that he had firsthand contact with the landscape in Italy.

The picture is unusual in his oeuvre. More characteristic are paintings of prominent white birches and beeches, elegant reeds, and clumps of thistles streaked with silvery light, seen against distant views of blue mountains. After working in Schiedam, a port near Rotterdam that was probably his birthplace, and possibly in nearby Delft, he settled in 1661 in Amsterdam where he began to produce large-scale landscapes for patrician homes. Toward the end of the decade the demand for his landscapes of this type apparently dwindled. The works of his last years, often variations on earlier compositions, are cabinet-size with colours that are rather harsh and metallic.