|Courtesy of www.Piet-Mondrian.org|
At Work (On the Land) was painted by Piet Mondrian in 1898. The influence of the Hague school on Piet Mondrian is evident in the painting, not only from the subject but also from the title, from the treatment of light and space, and in fact from the entire approach to the reality that inspired the work.
After picturesqueness, mood was the most important watchword of the Hague school; this picture complies with both. Its title. At Work, already suggests a mood, the idyllic mood of working day. And the contrasts of the dark background, the clouds, and the effects of light in the evening sky emphasize an extremely picturesque approach to landscape - the flat Dutch landscape, with its changing light and ever-varying mood, that was the main subject of the Hague school, the slightly belated offshoot of the Barbizon school.
This picture must not be regarded as a work indicative of future genius. At Work is a conventional painting, no better and no worse in quality than similar works by Mondrian's contemporaries, and if there is anything individual to note, it may perhaps be the stringent way in which the composition is built up out of horizontal planes.