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Jan-Baptist Huysmans, A Cowherd in a Woody Landscape

Key facts
Full title A Cowherd in a Woody Landscape
Artist Jan-Baptist Huysmans
Artist dates 1654 - 1716
Date made about 1697
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 66.5 × 85.5 cm
Acquisition credit Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876
Inventory number NG954
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Cowherd in a Woody Landscape
Jan-Baptist Huysmans

A herdsman heads across the scene with his cows to follow the path away to the right. The evening light catches his white shirt and the tops of the tumbling waters of a stream at his side. A slender birch tree seems to cling on to the side of the rocky slope, its tall trunk vanishing into the darkness of the woods overhead, lending height and wildness to the atmosphere of the scene.

This mountainous landscape is imaginary, painted in the Italianate style popular in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century. We don't know if Huysmans had ever been to Rome but he knew artists who had. He was able to refer to their sketches and drawings to produce his softly lit views of the Roman countryside.

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