• Hunters at Rest

    Artist:
    Berchem, Nicolaes (Claes) Pietersz. 1620-1683
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    100x148 cm

Berchem, Nicolaes (Claes) Pietersz. 1620-1683

Hunters at Rest

Holland, 1660-1670s

Nicolaes Berchem came from an artistic family. His father was the celebrated Pieter Claesz, whose work we have already seen. The fame of the painter son exceeded that of his father. After being accepted into the Guild of St Luke the artist was able to travel and visited Italy. The journey had a decisive effect on his oeuvre. He typically produced sunny landscapes painted in warm tones and populated by mythological or biblical personages. On his return to Holland, following fashion Berchem also painted genre scenes. The large-format painting of Hunters Resting is striking for the complexity of the composition. Catalogues note that 53 human figures and 70 animals can be counted on it. Mixed up in this jumble are hunters dressing game, hounds, grazing cattle and attractive herdswomen flirting with peasant men. There is a small child drinking milk and a little dog attacking a kid that is ready to rebuff it. The well-dressed lady has a falcon on her arm, while right behind her a horseman has swung a woman up onto his saddle and is galloping off with her. The monumentality of the mountainous landscape that tops the composition and the boisterous movement of the personages give rise to the feeling that what is taking place has some special significance. The little scenes obviously can be read as having secondary meaning almost as ancient allegories. A forested hill turns into a romantic mediaeval fortress. Berchem had a significant influence on the English and French landscape genres in the 18th century, being admired by such celebrated figures as Thomas Gainsborough and Antoine Watteau.

Title:

Hunters at Rest

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

100x148 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1770; acquired from the collection of Francois Tronchin in Geneva

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-1101

Category:

Collection: