Known primarily as a painter of city views contemporary with those of Jan van der Heyden, Berckheyde also produced sun-dappled landscapes evocative of Italy. Yet Berckheyde never made an Italian sojourn and thus, while his Dutch cityscapes of important sites in Haarlem and Amsterdam are topographically accurate, his scenes of the countryside are largely imaginary composites of drawings and studies.
In the present work, a woman and boy rest in the sunlit foreground as a young woman walks towards them on a path. The approaching woman, presumably a traveler as she carries a bag and water jug, wears a fur cap and shirt with a ruffled collar resembling the costume of Friesland. In the barn door, a pentimento of an animal is visible in the shadows; Berckheyde may have eliminated this element in order to focus the viewer's attention on the exchange occurring in the foreground. The bright sunlight infuses the scene with an Italianate glow, as Berckheyde reveled in the long shadows cast by the setting sun, creating an alteration of sun and shadow that continues throughout the scene. Such tonal effects paired with a pastoral subject suggest the influence of the second generation of Italianate landscape painters such as Nicolaes Berchem, Jan Both and Jan Baptist Weenix (see C. Lawrence, Gerrit Adrianensz. Berckheyde, Doornspijk, 1991, p. 86).
Signature: Signed '.g.berck.Heyde.' (lower center)
Dr. Karl Hetweg, from whom inherited by his wife, Lillemor Hetweg Bergtson, Recklinghausen.
with Johnny van Haeften, Ltd., 2006.