Milkmaids and Shepherds with their Flock at the Mouth of a Grotto, a Drover Watering his Cattle Beyond
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Nicholaes Berchem ( Haarlem 1620 - Amsterdam 1683 )
Berchem was a highly talented and successful painter of pastoral landscapes and a member of the second generation of Dutch Italianate painters. These were artists who travelled to Italy, or aspired to, in order to soak up the romanticism of the country, bringing home sketchbooks full of drawings of classical ruins and pastoral imagery. Berchem’s oeuvre is versatile and includes scenes of his native landscape as well as fanciful Mediterranean harbours and Italian ruins, night scenes, hunts, battles, complex allegories, mythological narratives and history paintings. Berchem’s prolific output was estimated by Hofstede de Groot as amounting to over 850 paintings, a figure no doubt inflated by numerous misattributions, but significant nonetheless. In addition, he is credited with more than 300 drawings and 50 etchings, mostly animal studies. His career brought a number of collaborations with artists such as Gerrit Dou, Jan Wils and Jan Baptist Weenix the elder.