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Philips Wouwerman, A Horse being Shod outside a Village Smithy

Key facts
Full title A Horse being Shod outside a Village Smithy
Artist Philips Wouwerman
Artist dates 1619 - 1668
Date made probably 1640-50
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 46.1 × 62.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2554
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Horse being Shod outside a Village Smithy
Philips Wouwerman

Philips Wouwerman was an extremely successful painter in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century and was also a favourite in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His paintings – landscapes with rural scenes being enacted in them – are full of movement, small dramas and incident, capturing the imagination of the viewer.

A billowing cloud, its shape and movement echoed in the tree that pierces the sky, sets the busy, almost turbulent, atmosphere. The blacksmith shoeing the white horse raises a strong arm. Around him boys busy themselves with buckets, while the horse’s elegant owner supports its leg. A rider comes up the hill at a pace, while on the right another – and more gruesome – procedure is taking place, the horse’s head thrown back and its mouth open.

Wouwerman was able to breathe life into the everyday activities and scenes he painted – you can almost sense the noise, the smells and the chill breeze suggested here.

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