Montelbaan Tower from Waals Eiland Gracht, Amsterdam


Gazing upon Michael John Hunt’s magnificent painting, you are instantaneously transported to Waals Eiland Gracht in Amsterdam. It’s a crystalline day, the sky a lucid blue – the tranquil canvas on which the cityscape unfolds.

The distant focal point of the composition is the striking Montelbaan Tower. The tower, a historic monument, exhibits a beguiling blend of Renaissance and Gothic architecture, its distinct octagonal spire reaching towards the flawless azure expanse. Its stone and brick facade, beautifully rendered in earthy tones, exudes an almost palpable sense of age and dignity.

The painting pulsates with the vibrant energy of the canal, flanked by an armada of barges and §boats. Each vessel is meticulously detailed – a testament to Michael John Hunt’s exceptional eye for precision. You can almost hear the lapping of the water against their hulls, the creaking of ropes, and the murmuring voices of their occupants. Every barge tells a tale, boasting a wealth of textures and hues – from gleaming brass fittings to weathered wooden decks.

On the canal’s banks, cobblestone streets and red brick bridges provide a rich, textural contrast to the flowing water. Here is the close focal point – three bicycles lean casually against a wall, their rustic charm heightened by the play of sunlight on their metal frames. The sight of these bicycles, synonymous with Amsterdam, adds a whimsical, authentically Dutch element to the scene.

On both sides of the canal, traditional Amsterdam houses proudly display their unique architectural allure. Their gabled rooftops and tall, narrow facades, expertly captured by Michael John Hunt, shimmer under the pristine spring light. The diverse range of warm ochres, siennas, and umbers in their bricks exude a homey comfort, their windows mirroring the splendid day.

The early spring setting breathes life into the canvas, the trees bordering the scene shyly unfurling their fresh, green leaves. These trees, in their state of gentle awakening, afford a delightful juxtaposition against the sturdy, stoic architecture.

Throughout, Michael John Hunt’s mastery of light and shadow creates a dynamic interplay that brings a sense of depth and drama to the scene. From the radiant shimmer on the canal surface to the subtle, dappling shadows of the infant leaves, his expert hand brings an almost photographic realism.

Yet, there’s a profound sense of tranquillity that pervades the painting. It’s as if time stands still, allowing us to relish in the myriad details, the play of light, and the symphony of colours.  Michael John Hunt’s work not only showcases his prodigious talent but also his deep love for Amsterdam – he had a 35 year association with a Gallery on the Kalverstraat and many one-man shows there. Each brushstroke exudes warmth and admiration, paying homage to the city’s timeless charm, and invites us to lose ourselves in this picturesque corner of the world.

Michael John Hunt
Acrylic on canvas
22″ x 26″