Skip to main content
The Watering Place
Peter Paul Rubens
/

A young milkmaid with a brass pitcher on her head and a bucket in her hand leads her herd of cattle away for milking. The rising sun reflects in a pool and reaches through the trees to catch the sleek white hides of some of the cows. It’s an idyllic, rustic scene, yet there is energy: people are working and animals moving.

In seventeenth-century Flanders, landscape began to be accepted as a genre of its own instead of as a mere background for narrative paintings or portraits. For Rubens in particular it became a way of celebrating the Flemish countryside he loved. But in England, landscape painting was still neglected, even into the eighteenth century, until artists such as Richard Wilson and Thomas Gainsborough turned their attention to it. The latter saw The Watering Place in London in 1768 and painted a landscape inspired by it in homage to Rubens.

Key facts
Artist Peter Paul Rubens
Artist dates 1577 - 1640
Full title Peasants with Cattle by a Stream in a Woody Landscape ('The Watering Place')
Date made about 1615-22
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 99.4 x 135 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with a contribution from the Art Fund, 1936
Inventory number NG4815
Location in Gallery Room 21
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo