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Gaspard Dughet, Landscape with a Cowherd

Key facts
Full title Landscape with a Cowherd
Artist Gaspard Dughet
Artist dates 1615 - 1675
Date made about 1637
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 54.2 × 43.5 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2619
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Landscape with a Cowherd
Gaspard Dughet

A herdsman waves a stick at his cattle to encourage them to move towards the stream. This painting does not show a story from the Bible or mythology – it is a scene inspired by the countryside near Rome, where Dughet spent most of his career.

Probably painted around 1637, this is one of Dughet’s early works. He was still perfecting certain skills: he has used clumsy paint dots, dashes and lines to convey the leaves and branches of the trees, and the cowherd’s pose is awkward. However, we can see the beginning of his talent for creating perspective, and his technique of overlapping darker green and yellow tones with lighter ones to avoid the trees appearing flat.

The foreground scene is framed by trees. Their curved trunks lead our eye into the centre of the composition and towards the distant buildings – the domed roof and obelisk recall the architecture of Rome – and the blue mountains.

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