19th C, Romanticism, Genre Painting, Pieter Plas (Alkmaar 1810-1853), Sheepstable, Oil on Panel, 73 x 59 cm, Framed, Signed P. Plas and Dated 1849
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Pieter Plas placed himself with this pastoral scene in the tradition of the 17th century painters and draughtsmen such as Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem, Karel du Jardin, Marcus de Bye and Paulus Potter. Nevertheless, the work carries the typical ideals of Romanticism. The Romantics wanted to return to the nature they idealized. They believed in a connection between the individual and nature. The harmony between the shepherdess and her flock of sheep is part of this story. This line of thought must be placed against the background of the advancing industrialization that began to put pressure on the traditional rural society. Plas lets the light subtly enter the barn through a doorway. The rays of the sun that illuminate the sheep -in a slightly diagonal line – add depth and vibrancy to the scene. Pieter Plas(1810-1853 came from a well-known Alkmaar artist family. His father and first teacher was the carriage- and landscape painter Louwerencius Plas (1776-1847). The painter himself was also a carriage painter until the age of 24. After two years in Hilversum with Willem Bodeman and with the animal painter Jan van Ravenswaay he specialized in painting landscapes with cattle.
The flat North Dutch landscape was often his source of inspiration. Pieter Plas had several pupils and was director of the Drawing Company 'Kunst zij ons doel' in Alkmaar. Museum Willet-Holthuysen in Amsterdam and the Teylers Museum in Haarlem expose some of his works. Plas signs with a long 's' at the end of his name.