Halt of a Hunting Party
F. Duparc has suggested a date for DPG78 in the early 1660s (DPG archive, letter, 1997). This is the grandest of Wouwerman's landscapes at Dulwich, and a comparison with DPG77 sums up very neatly the journey that the artist's style has taken. This is an altogether more polite affair: aristocratic couples out hunting with hawks, dogs and a retinue of servants in an airy panoramic landscape. Wouwerman uses colour to focus our eyes on the resting couple on the left - white horse, red cloak, green dress, yellow jacket, orange dog. Gesture plays its part too, and Wouwerman has orchestrated a genteel ballet of movement and counter-movement across the frieze of figures. The scene is bracketed by a repeated gesture – the doffing of a hat. In one case, it signifies mere manners, part of the exaggerated fluff of courtship; in the other grim reality – an old beggar asks for alms.