Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

A rural landscape (near Mechelen?): men are building haystacks, sheep are driven along a country road, two women carry clumps of turnips, and other women walk home carrying rakes and a pitchfork. Engraving by F. Vivares, 1775, after Sir P. P. Rubens.

  • Rubens, Peter Paul, 1577-1640.
  • Pictures

About this work


"In Return from the harvest (No. 48, Fig. 127) in the Pitti Palace, everything indicates that man is a part of nature: the movement that unifies the work, the light that suffuses the whole, the transition of planes and colours, the parallel between the women carrying loads of produce on their heads and the tree-tops swaying in the wind.."--Adler, op. cit., p. 33

"In an extensive flat landscape under a cloudy sky at the height of summer, a stream on the right near the spectator is bordered by trees reflected in its waters. In front five countrywomen, most of them young, are moving briskly across the scene. The three on the right, two young and one old, are walking to the right, carrying a pitchfork and rakes. The girl in front is looking towards the spectator. The last of the three, who is also young, looks round with animation at a man who is moving towards the spectator and pointing in the direction in which the women are going. The two other women, seen from behind, are carrying loads of hay and turnips on their heads and are stepping rapidly towards the man. A wide road leads from the lower left corner diagonally across the picture; a carter with a rack waggon and two horses, a grey and a bay, advances towards the open country which stretches out beyond the groups of trees. Mounted on the grey horse, he waves with his whip towards the women; in front of him the way into the middle distance is marked by a flock of sheep, hurried along by a sheepdog. Further off on the left are grazing horses, tall pointed haystacks, bushes and trees, and in the background the tower of a Gothic church (Roger de Piles called the picture La veue de Malines). A pair of hawks hover in the air, looking for prey. The long shadows show that it is late afternoon … Goethe, who possessed Schelte a Bolswert's engraving of this picture, commented on it briefly to Eckermann on 11 April 1827, and at length to Eckermann and others on 18 April. He observed that the homeward-bound harvesters in the foreground and the clump of trees on the right were illuminated from opposite sides and thus cast their shadows towards each other; he commended this, however, as an example of Rubens’s artistic freedom"--Adler, op. cit., p. 152


[London?] : Printed and sold by Fran.s Vivares, 1775.

Physical description

1 print : etching ; image 37.8 x 49.2 cm


Harvest time. Le tems de la recolte. P. Paul Rubens pinxit. Fran.s Vivares sculpsit.

References note

Wolfgang Adler, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, vol. XVIII, Landscapes and hunting scenes; part I: Landscapes, London 1982, pp. 151-154, no. 48 ("Return from the harvest"), copy no. 7 (p. 151)

Lettering note

Bears number: No. 36


Wellcome Library no. 2863609i

Reproduction note

After a painting by Rubens in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, perhaps via the engraving by S. à Bolswert (Adler, loc. cit. copy no. 6)


  • English
  • French

Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores

Permanent link