Landscape with Sportsmen and Game
Pynacker’s visit to Italy in the mid-1640s had a significant impact on his career, so much so that on his return to the Netherlands he became one of the leading Dutch Italianate painters of the 17th century. This large landscape is regarded as one of his outstanding achievements, painted in his mature style of the 1660s when he was living in Amsterdam. It has a cool tonality and sharp definition, with an intense focus on the foreground group of birches to the left. The large blue leaves in the foreground are the result of a chemical change over time: yellow lake may have been laid as a glaze over the blue, which then either faded or was accidentally removed during former restorations.
The man blowing his hunting horn surrounded by dogs and dead game in the foreground succeed in securing our attention, despite their small size in relation to the extensive setting. The dogs were borrowed from a painting by the artist’s contemporary, Ludolf de Jongh which he presumably recorded through a sketch, and reused on more than one occasion. Some scholars have suggested that the huntsman was painted by another artist, such as Johannes Lingelbach. While artists were known to collaborate in this way with one painting the landscape and the other the figures, Pynacker is considered the sole author of this painting.