A rural landscape: a shepherd playing the pipe, with his dog; his flock in front of him. Engraving by S. à Bolswert after Sir P.P. Rubens.

  • Rubens, Peter Paul, 1577-1640.
[between 1638? and 1659?]
  • Pictures

About this work


The painting is described by Adler as follows (left and right have to be reversed for the engraving): "The scene is the Brabant plain with its abundance of trees, bushes and watercourses; perhaps near 'Het Steen', the country seat which Rubens acquired in May 1635, though the building does not itself appear. A still pool extends diagonally from the lower left corner. On the right, in the middle distance, is a view between trees of a small castle with a stepped gable; its tower is surmounted by an onion spire. In front of it is a smaller farm building. A kestrel hovers high up in the air in front of a shadowy patch of cloud which leads the eye to the setting sun in the right half of the picture. A road in the middle distance extends right across the picture, crossing the pool by a footbridge.

"In the right foreground, on this side of the water, a flock of sheep is bathed in the golden-brown light of sunset. A shepherd, playing the flute, sits with crossed legs on the stone arch of a culvert. His dog stands close by, half-turned towards him, so that they form a single outline against the evening light. The sun, setting in the distance, is partly concealed at the top by a bank of cloud. Its last beams radiate downwards only; they reach the landscape which is already beginning to darken, like a material emanation, as though pressed out of the golden disc by the weight of the clouds on the horizon. In the distance the sun's rays illuminate woods and a Gothic spire which shows in light ochre against the deepening blue of the horizon. Birches and willows on the left seem to sway in the evening breeze. Long shafts of lightbrown radiance penetrate the thickets; phosphorescent white reflections gleam through the dark parts of the foliage. Red and reddish-brown tints are seen in the foliage of the large trees on the right, in the shepherds clothes and on the ground."--Adler, loc. cit.


[Antwerp] : Gillis Hendricx excudit, [between 1638? and 1659?]

Physical description

1 print : engraving ; platemark 32 x 46 cm


Nobilissimo amplissimoque domino D. Joanni Philippo Happart urbis Antuerpiae senatori D.D.C.Q. Aegidius Henrix. Pet. Paul. Rubbens pinxit. S. à Bolswert sculpsit

References note

Wolfgang Adler, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, vol. XVIII, Landscapes and hunting scenes; part I: Landscapes, London 1982, no. 68 ("Landscape with a shepherd and his flock"), pp. 181-182 and fig. 152


Wellcome Collection 2491322i

Creator/production credits

The dedicatee Johan Philipp Happart was a canon of Antwerp cathedral

Reproduction note

After a painting by Rubens in the National Gallery, London--Adler, loc. cit.


Where to find it

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