The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Italian Landscape with Figures
  • Nicolaes Berchem (1620 - 1683)
  • Italian Landscape with Figures
  • Netherlands
  • 1654
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 53.2 x 64.2 cm
  • Signature: 'CPBerchem f.1654' 'CPB' in monogram
  • P186
  • East Galleries III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This expressive depiction of a mountainous terrain of the Roman Campagna belongs to a group of sweeping panoramic landscapes painted by Berchem in the mid- to late 1650s. Comparable examples include the Landscape with Muleteers, c. 1658 at the National Gallery, and the Village on a Mountain Plateau, 1655, in the Royal Collection.

    The expansive, rocky landscape is bathed in golden evening light. Berchem’s warm light effects recall those of his contemporary, Jan Both (see P28; P198). As in so many of Berchem’s paintings, our attention is drawn to the woman on horseback, who wears a bright red blouse and turns gracefully to converse with her companion who walks alongside her. The elegance of Berchem’s figures, with their characteristically expressive yet enigmatic gestures, was greatly admired by collectors until the mid-nineteenth century. The image was publicised widely in a print after the painting, entitled Le Soir, engraved by Le Bas in 1740.
    The painting passed through a number of eminent French collections, including that of the duchesse de Berry and duc de Morny, before it was acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1852.