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Nicolaes Berchem: 'Peasants by a Ruined Aqueduct'
This picture shows a landscape inspired by the countryside near Rome, with the remains of an aqueduct prominently silhouetted against the blue Mediterranean sky. It is not entirely clear when the artist went to Italy, but it has been suggested that he went twice, once in the early 1640s and for a second time between 1651 and 1653. There he is thought to have filled his sketchbooks with drawings of landscapes and figure subjects which he later incorporated into his paintings. Back in the Netherlands he moved frequently between Haarlem and Amsterdam.

This idyllic landscape was probably painted in the late 1650s, long after the artist's return to the Netherlands. It is similar to a landscape by him that is dated 1658 (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum).

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