There are really two subjects of this painting. The landscape creates a slightly mysterious air. The trees are backlit by a bright sky, and the long reflection across the pond leads our eye to the open gate beyond. It seems we are in a walled park or the formal gardens of a grand house. Then there is the activity in the foreground. A gaggle of ducks and exotic waterfowl – fashionable among wealthy landowners at the time – flock to the woman who is feeding them from the window of a garden house.
Anthonie van Borssum was born in Amsterdam and may have been a pupil of Rembrandt from about 1645 to 1650. He was a versatile and eclectic artist who principally painted landscapes and pictures of plants and animals. This picture was probably made in the early 1660s and may have been influenced by the work of Melchior d'Hondecoeter, who specialised in painting birds.
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