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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Nicolaes Berchem the Elder
Dutch, 1620–1683

The Resting Herd

Etching, about 1652
Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 2001.41

Goats and sheep, a cow, a horse, and a mule rest in the partial shade of a tree while a young herdsman leans against his staff in this calm image of a pastoral Italian landscape.Unlike many Northern European artists who never traveled South, Nicolaes Berchem went to Italy in the 1640s (fellow Dutchman Jan Both also spent time in Italy; see pp. 26–29). In this print the artist has given us a glimpse of the magical southern Italian light. Berchem creates a shimmering composition by making the foreground darker with thicker and more densely placed lines and progressively lightening the composition in the middleground and background. Fine meshes of short, broken, and crisscrossing lines create a softly tonal landscape.