Nikolaas Baur is one of the greatest Dutch landscape painters of the second half of the XVIII century . His first artistic education Nikolaas Baur received from his father, good rokoko painter Johannes Antonius Baur. Johannes Antonius Baur mostly was portrait painter and at the beginning Nikolaas Baur also wanted to workas a portraitist or genre painter. Though, more significant for Baur’s art was a great influence of the Dutch landscape painting of “Golden Age”. Soon Baur took the position of serious marine painter. He produced numerous sea landscapes, often with naval battle. Now the considerable part of his heritage is kept in Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam and in Hague.
Surprisingly, in the very beginning of 1800 his manner survived a dramatic transformation. It was caused by common pre-romantic atmosphere soaring under Europe at the beginning of the XIX century. At this time his art reveals certain parallelism with the painting of his great contemporary Caspar David Friedrich.
View of the Franeker poort in Harlingenwas executed by Baur in 1813. It presents his native town Harlingen in Friesland. The identification of the place belongs to Eelco Nagelsmit. The old renaissance building of Franeker poort was demolished at the XIX century and for a very long time was known only due to the XVIII century etching (one of them is kept in Universiteitsbibliotheek, Leiden). The Bayr’s picture is enlarging the iconography of that northern town while showing it in a delicate romantic atmosphere.
The subject with night baigneuses has a long tradition in Dutch painting but Baur produces another treatment of it. He increases the romantic aspect of the subject. He properly modifies the night scene onto the late evening scene that reflects the great impact of art of Caspar David Fridrich.