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Isack van Ostade, 'A Farmyard', about 1640

Key facts
Full title A Farmyard
Artist Isack van Ostade
Artist dates 1621 - 1649
Date made about 1640
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 40 × 41 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1891
Inventory number NG1347
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Farmyard
Isack van Ostade

Isack van Ostade shows us a farmyard with a forsaken air, tranquil and atmospheric. Under an ancient oak tree a patch of sunlight picks out a wooden pen, a shelf above it holding an earthenware pot and a sieve. Behind them, a cart wheel and a basket lie forgotten in an old shed – its withering thatch will be little help against the threatening rain cloud overhead. Only the hen and two cockerels pecking for food give any sign of life in this ramshackle place, a bunch of feathery black tail feathers standing out against the surrounding clutter.

The picture is painted in meticulous detail. Isack was the younger brother and student of Adriaen van Ostade, whose work also appears in the National Gallery’s collection. Sadly, Isack died at the age of 28, before his potential could be fulfilled.

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