Artwork Detail

Landscape with Cattle and Milkmaid
c. 1650
Dutch, 1620–1691
Oil on canvas
46 x 64 3/4 "
University purchase, Parsons Fund, 1947
WU 3811
One of the leading landscape painters in seventeenth-century Netherlands, Aelbert Cuyp adopted effects of light from Italianate landscape painting to bring a new grandeur to traditional Dutch subjects, including townscapes and scenes of cattle. In this tranquil farm scene bathed in golden light, Cuyp prominently places two cows in the foreground, a subject that generally symbolized prosperity and references the expanding dairy industry in the area around Dordrecht where Cuyp was based. In the distance are a church steeple and windmills, which have been identified with The Hague; Cuyp made sketches while traveling in the countryside and sometimes incorporated them into his paintings. The overall tenor of the painting, which stresses a harmonious relationship between the land and its inhabitants and between the farm and the town in the distance, can be understood in relation to the period of peace and prosperity that followed the 1648 treaty that ended war with Spain and established the Dutch Republic. [Permanent collection label, 2016]