THE MAAS AT DORDRECHT BY CUYP, AELBERT (1620 TO 1691); Cuyp, Aelbert (1620 to 16...


Riverstone Museum Collections



About this object

Dordrecht, situated at the confluence of the Maas and the Merwede rivers, serves as a backdrop to this historical scene on the water. In July 1646, a large Dutch transport fleet carrying thirty thousand soldiers and their equipment gathered at Dordrecht in a show of force by the rebel northern provinces—fighting for independence from the Spanish crown—at the onset of the negotiations that would eventually result in the Peace of Münster in 1648. The lasting appeal of Cuyp’s masterful depiction derives from the extraordinary light effects that bring an early summer morning to life and from the dramatic sweep of clouds that enhances the massive scale of the painting.

Spectators jam the quays, bugles and drums sound fanfares, and a shipboard cannon fires a salute. The young officer standing in the small boat wearing a white-and-red sash—the colors of Dordrecht—is likely the person who commissioned Cuyp to paint this historic event. The officer and his brightly clad companion are greeted by a distinguished-looking gentleman and numerous other figures, including a drummer, on the larger vessel. Attempts to identify the blue-and-white flag on the stern of this ship have thus far been unsuccessful. A second rowboat, carrying other dignitaries and a trumpeter who signals their arrival, approaches from the left. Most of the ships have their sails raised as though they are about to depart, and fluttering flags suggest the presence of a nice breeze, yet the overall sense of the scene is one of great calm.


Cuyp, Aelbert (1620 to 1691)

Maker Role


Portfolio Title


Date Made

Circa 1650

Place Made


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