Focus on the Peck Collection: Windmills in Dutch Art

February 23, 2024 - May 24, 2024

A view of a landscape with a windmill in the distance

The instantly recognizable silhouette of a windmill, with its towering structure and rotating blades, has become an iconic symbol of The Netherlands. From their early construction in the thirteenth century, these large machines have played a crucial role in the country’s agricultural, engineering, and industrial heritage. This Focus on the Peck Collection installation features three nineteenth-century images in which windmills are a principal element of each composition. Featuring the locales of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Zaandam, each underscores the persistent role of windmills in nineteenth-century Dutch life and how artists employed the structures in their work as both picturesque motifs and as symbols of Dutch ingenuity and innovation.

Image credit:

Gerrit Lamberts, Dutch, 1776-1850, A View of the Spiegelgracht from the Prinsengracht, c. 1810-1820, pen and brown ink, watercolor, over traces of graphite on paper, 7 1/2 × 10 3/8 in. (19 × 26.4 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Peck Collection, 2017.1.115.

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