17th C, Baroque Landscape, Signed N. Berchem (Haarlem, 1621/’22 – Amsterdam,1683), Temple at Tivoli, populated with a Shepherd, two Shepherdesses and Animals, Oil on Canvas, 57 X 65 cm, Framed.
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Signed on a rock lower middle-right: N. Berchem. Nicolaes Berchem was one of the so-called ‘Italianates’. These were Dutch and Flemish artists who traveled to Italy to study the work of contemporary Italian artists, the Renaissance art and the remains of Antiquity. Cornelis van Poelenburch and Bartholomeus Breenberg were two Dutch landscape painters who observed intensively the light of the Italian countryside in the 1620’s. It is not known with certainty whether Nicolaes Berchem also went to Italy. Some scholars believe that he stayed in Italy between 1651 and 1655. Whatever the case, this painting is very Italianate in style. A golden yellow Mediterranean glow hangs over the meadows and ruin. The bright red scarf of one of the shepherdesses and the red collar and cuffs of the shepherd form a kind of counterpoint in the whole of the composition. They enliven the scene. Berchem unites the pastoral with an interest in Antiquity. On the rocks we find the temple of Tivoli, now a ruin of the Roman building from the 1st century BC. The landscapes of the Italianates were often not topographically accurate. Artistic interventions were made for the sake of the idyllic character.