BERCHEM, Nicolaes
(b. 1620, Haarlem, d. 1683, Amsterdam)

Milkmaids and Shepherds

Oil on canvas, 104 x 130 cm
Private collection

This bucolic scene shows milkmaids and shepherds with their flock at the mouth of a grotto, a drover watering his cattle beyond. From the 1650s onwards, Berchem began painting in a purely Italianate style, defined by not only the presence of fragmented architecture and sculpture in his compositions, but by a soft Mediterranean light. The present painting demonstrates the influence of Cornelis van Poelenburgh, under whom Berchem studied. Berchem adopted his murky and largely monotone palette, dominated by browns and ochre, from his contemporary Jan van Goyen.

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