Cottage among Trees by Rembrandt

In the 1630s Rembrandt was very much preoccupied with the painting of landscape. This was no new thing in the Holland of his time; very many of the younger generation of artists had begun to specialise exclusively in landscapes for which there seems to have been a ready market. Broadly they fell into two types. Those which depicted more or less exactly the terrain of Holland or the nearby Rhine country. The other type was the fantastic or romantic foreign landscape which had its roots in the Flemish tradition.

In some ways Rembrandt seems to have combined these two traditions. He was obviously very responsive to the surrounding countryside of Amsterdam, as many of his studies survive in the form of careful, but rapid drawings. Most of them are at Chatsworth. They show an interest in recording the scene both accurately and atmospherically. There is no attempt in most of the drawings to make them conform to the conventions of the time as they were understood.