The artist frequently painted scenes, set in imaginary Italianate landscapes, populated by elegant horsemen and women, shepherds, peasants, cattle and sheep. Here he concentrates on a group of sheep and goats, prominently displayed in the foreground. Etchings produced after a painting was a common occurrence in the 17th century. In this case, however, Dujardin produced an etching of the subject first and painted this composition after it,18 years later. The work dates from the artist's late years, when he was living in Amsterdam.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN