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A rural landscape: in the light of the rising or setting sun, a man draws water from a well, while two horses drink from a stream. Engraving by S. à Bolswert after Sir P.P. Rubens.

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

About this work


The painting is described by Adler as follows (left and right have to be reversed for the engraving): "The painting, only 43 cm. long and executed rapidly with sketch-like light and cloud effects, shows a portion of man-made scenery at sunrise; the round disc of the sun, radiating bright golden-yellow light, is immediately above the horizon, somewhat left of centre. The view is limited by rising ground in the middle distance, on the left and especially on the right, where an Italian-looking villa is surrounded by trees; these, with their slender crowns of foliage, also have a Mediterranean look and seem to sway with the breeze in the silvery morning light. The view in the centre is so flooded with bright whitish yellow sunlight that the horizon cannot be seen there either. On the eminence to the left, slightly further off than the other, are trees of more sombre appearance with dark trunks and foliage, lit from behind by the sun's rays and standing out against a bright blue area of sky. Between their trunks can be seen, further off, a rustic building and a church with a pointed Gothic spire.

"In the immediate foreground are the trunks of felled trees, also two whole pollard willows with their branches and with reddish-brown leaves. This foliage with its warm reddish-brown and light cocoa brown reflections is summarily represented by dots as it is so near the spectator. A little further back, a stream with glittering bluish-white reflections runs aslant the foreground; it is crossed by a stone bridge leading to the villa. In the shadow of the bridge on the right can be seen the hindquarters of two horses, a grey and a bay, drinking at the stream; the bay is ridden by a peasant in a red jacket. On the hill-side behind the bridge is a cylindrical stone draw-well with a sloping lever; here a woman, also in a red jacket, is pouring water into a vessel standing on the ground. The sunlight, striking horizontally across the terrain, leaves many parts of it in shadow, but wherever an elevation catches the light it is picked out with rich yellowish-white and pinkish-white highlights; pink and bright red or milky brown light spreads over the scene, and the coping of the bridge parapet looks as if it were coated with warmly glowing paint. The sky on the left is intensely blue, on the right silver-grey. Delicate veils of cloud, running slantwise, complete the impression of morning radiance, as the light dissipates the last traces of mist in the sky and the tops of trees, the last shadows in folds of the ground."--Adler, loc. cit.

The villa described by Adler also serves as a farm-house: it contains a stable in which three cows or horses are seen. From the stream in the foreground a duck emerges to feed on the bank; it is not mentioned by Adler as being visible in the painting


[Antwerp] : [Gillis Hendricx?], 1638.

Physical description

1 print : engraving ; platemark 28.9 x 42.3 cm


Cum privilegiis regis christianissimi, principum Belgarum, et ordinum Bataviae. P.P. Rubens pinxit. Scelte. a Bolswert sculpsit a.o 1638.

References note

Wolfgang Adler, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, vol. XVIII, Landscapes and hunting scenes; part I: Landscapes, London 1982, no. 69 ("Landscape with a draw-well"), pp. 183-184 and fig. 154


Wellcome Library no. 2491339i

Reproduction note

After a painting by Rubens in the Musée du Louvre, Paris--Adler, loc. cit.


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