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Karel Dujardin, A Woman with Cattle and Sheep in an Italian Landscape

Key facts
Full title A Woman with Cattle and Sheep in an Italian Landscape
Artist Karel Dujardin
Artist dates 1626 - 1678
Date made 1650-5
Medium and support Oil on copper
Dimensions 22.6 × 29.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG828
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Woman with Cattle and Sheep in an Italian Landscape
Karel Dujardin

A young woman sits on a grassy bank spinning wool, distaff tucked under one arm. With a half-smile on her face, she looks with great concentration at her fingers untangling a lump in the wool. The twirling spindle hangs from her other hand. Karel Dujardin sets the animals that the young woman tends in a line across the foreground of the picture.

The picture was painted early in Dujardin’s career, shortly after he returned from a stay in Rome. Other Dutch artists had gathered there to paint the Roman Campagna (the countryside around the city). Dujardin had studied with Nicolaes Berchem, one of the leaders of this group (who became known as the Italianates). Their representations of the mountainous Italian landscape littered with classical or ruined buildings and of the soft, golden light of Mediterranean skies were very popular with Dutch collectors.

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