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Gallery Text

While many Northern artists of his generation traveled to the Eternal City, Pynas is unusual in that he stayed in Rome on two separate occasions—between 1605 and 1607, and again in 1616–17. This impeccably preserved landscape was probably made during or soon after Pynas’s first Italian sojourn. Although contemporary sources suggest that the artist studied Italian landscape from life, this drawing certainly derives from the imagination. Many stylistic and technical features of the work—the combination of dense parallel hatching and controlled washes, the carefully ordered composition, and the close attention to the effects of light—indicate Pynas’s familiarity with the landscape tradition developed in Italy by Paul Bril (as seen in the drawing displayed nearby). With its overgrown ruins of ancient buildings, its wild, oversize foliage, and its lack of human figures, the scene evokes a landscape that has been taken over by the powerful forces of nature.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Jan Symonsz. Pynas, Dutch (Alkmaar 1581/1582 - 1631 Amsterdam)
A Mountainous Landscape with an Arched Bridge over a River
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3600, University Research Gallery
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Physical Descriptions
Brown ink and gray wash over traces of black chalk on off-white antique laid paper, framing line in dark brown ink
14.3 × 19.1 cm (5 5/8 × 7 1/2 in.)
framed: 31.3 × 40.2 × 2 cm (12 5/16 × 15 13/16 × 13/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • collector's mark: Recto, lower right, black ink: cross encircled (Lugt 2903c, not identified)
  • collector's mark: Verso, lower left, brown ink: RA [encircled] (Lugt 4618, mark of I.Q. van Regteren Altena)
  • watermark: bottom of sheet: fragment of a coat of arms (possibly arms of Burgundy and Austria)
Unidentified collector (Lugt 2903c). Prince Wladimir Nikolaevich Argoutinsky-Dolgoroukoff (without his mark)[1]. I.Q. van Regteren Altena, Amsterdam (Lugt 418), by descent to his heirs; [Christie's, London, July 10, 2014, lot 34]; Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston

[1] According to Christie's sale catalogue
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston, Long Term Loan
Object Number
European and American Art
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Exhibition History

The Art of Drawing in the Early Dutch Golden Age, 1590–1630: Selected Works from the Abrams Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/09/2017 - 01/14/2018

Crossroads: Drawing the Dutch Landscape, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2022 - 08/14/2022

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at