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A Shepherd with his Flock in a Woody Landscape
Peter Paul Rubens
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We look down from a height on a rocky outcrop of ground surrounded by trees, their reflection caught in the tranquil stream drifting past. The woods are dark and dense but unthreatening. There’s a pathway through the undergrowth towards the light.

A shepherd leans on his crook, his flock beside him. Although the sun shines brightest on the sheep, it’s the glowing red of the boy’s jacket in the shadow that serves to brighten the whole picture, and which catches the eye first.

Rubens’s love of the natural world is shown in the meticulous, realistic detail with which he has painted the various textures – rocks and pebbles, shaggy wool, stringy blades of grass, water and myriad kinds of leaf. Many of his exquisite drawings still exist in the museums and galleries of the world, revealing to us his fascination and understanding of nature.

Key facts
Artist Peter Paul Rubens
Artist dates 1577 - 1640
Full title A Shepherd with his Flock in a Woody Landscape
Date made probably 1615-22
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 64.3 x 94.3 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Rosalind, Countess of Carlisle, 1913
Inventory number NG2924
Location in Gallery Room 21
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