This exhibition brings together 42 remarkable works, including paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp, Nicolaes Berchem and Meyndert Hobbema. These and the other artists represented in the exhibition were based in the main artistic centres of the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century; Haarlem, Amsterdam, Leiden, Utrecht, Dordrecht, Rotterdam, Delft and The Hague, but travelled throughout the countryside for inspiration.
The Dutch Republic, which gained independence from the Spanish-ruled Southern Netherlands in 1648, was physically expanding, with large areas being reclaimed from the sea. The new land was drained, and either built on or used for farming. Likewise, the population was growing, with that of Amsterdam doubling from 100,000 to 200,000 between 1625 and 1650. Landscape paintings seem to celebrate this expansion and the prosperity of the newly formed country.