36 East 73rd Street New York City, NY 10021 212.517.9176
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$ 98,000

Elaborate Landscape with Figures and Animals Before Ruins

Origin Netherlands
Period Pre 18th Century
Materials Oil on Canvas
Condition Excellent.
Creation Date 17th century
Description Size: Unframed: 24" high x 33" wide (61 x 83.8 cm.)
Framed: 29" high x 38 1/2" wide (73.6 x 97.7 cm.)

Exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
North Italian (18th century)
Lent by Miss N. E. Goddard and Mr Shirley Goddard

The Berchem family was from Bergnemdam (Brabant). They emigrated to Holland after the religious persecution. Berchem’s first master was Pieter Claes van Harlem, a painter of still life. Nicholas Berchem was then the pupil of Claes Moyaert de Grebber and Jan Wils.

In 1642, Berchem was a guild member in Harlem. He traveled to Italy where he painted extensively and directly from nature. Berchem also made a great number of studies and sketches which served him when he returned to Holland.

After first establishing his studio in Harlem, Berchem moved to Amsterdam in 1670. He remained there until his death in 1683. Berchem’s paintings included hunt scenes; views of ports and beaches, but the most significant part of his oeuvre were pastoral scenes, such as the painting shown here. The shepherds, animals and other figures are very surely observed. Berchem’s ability to render the light, its effects, a sunny atmosphere and the transparency of water was prodigious. The artist’s sure technique, the lightness of his brush stroke and the beauty of his composition were much appreciated in his time.

The dominant motif of this painting—a ruin composed of two pairs of Tuscan columns with a broken pediment and figurated base, all set in perspective—is a device particular to a type of fanciful picture evoking the lost splendors of Ancient Rome for which the Paris-based Pierre Patel (1605-1676) and his workshop and followers were known. The division of the landscape between a closed foreground (here, at the right) and an open, panoramic view with hills and brilliant sunlight effects (here, at the left) is a classic seventeenth century effect. The picture’s staffage, consisting of a variety of rustic figures, two goats, a lamb and two cows are of particularly spirited paint handling, bright palette and subtle lighting, as in the foreground goat in particular.

There are many illustrations of landscape pictures by painters based in Rome in Luigi Salerno’s major study of the subject or in the growing literature on the so-called second generation of Dutch Italianate landscape painting.

He collaborated with J. Verhagen, C. Poelenburs, M. Ruisdael, J. Wils, Isaac Moucheron and Everdingen. He also had very many pupils, amongst who were W. Romeyn, G. Le Febre, Claes Simonsz Schout, Karel Du Jardin, J. Van Huchtenburg, J. Glauber, J. Van Hysum and Pieter de Hooch.

His works are in museums in the Netherlands, France and Sweden.
Styles / Movements Old Master
Dealer Reference Number PNG 18-44
Incollect Reference Number 181067
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