barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


Hendrick Cornelisz. van der Vliet (1611/2-1675)

A Grotto in an Imaginary Landscape

Delft, Holland, 1643

Oil on wood

54.7 x 90.2 cm

 

Vliet specialised in painting church interiors and this is his only known landscape, though such scenes were popular with his Dutch contemporaries.

The grotto is a curious hybrid, partly natural and partly man-made with elements carved from the rocks.  Two gentlemen have journeyed to inspect the site.  With its shadowy statue, to the left, and giant head, to the right, it seems to have been the centre of a mysterious antique cult.  A kneeling shepherd, to the right, suggests that the primitive worship of nature continues.

 

Purchased 1966 (No.66.1)