Herdswomen with their cattle
  • Nicolaes Piertersz. Berchem
  • Haarlem 1620 - 1683 Amsterdam
  • Herdswomen with their cattle, circa 1658
  • Black chalk, grey wash, on laid paper,
  • signed with chalk upper right: Berchem f.
    traces of transfer, old numbering on the verso: no. 175.z
  • 261 × 204 mm
Simon Fokke, Amsterdam (1712-1784),
his sale, Amsterdam, Dec. 6, 1784, no. C 183
William Esdaile, London (Lugt 816)
William Mayor, London (Lugt 2799)
Martin Johann Jenisch the younger, Hamburg (1793-1857)
collection von Jenisch, Blumendorf castle (until 2010)
Hugo Helbing: Handzeichnungen alter Meister aus
verschiedenen Sammlungen,
Munich 1902 (ill.)
A. Stefes: icolaes Pietersz. Berchem – Die Zeichnungen,
(unpublished dissertation) Bern 1997, no. II / 105

Like numerous other drawings by Berchem, this sheet was published in reverse as an engraving by Cornelis Visscher (1619 -1658) (Fig. 1). The printmaker’s death provides us thus with the latest possible date for the making of the drawing.

The subject of this richly detailed study corresponds to Berchem’s affinity for rural scenes with herdsmen and cattle. Italian influence is palpable as well, with the young artist having taken a voyage of study there before 1642. In particular the figure of the standing woman, with a basket of laundry on her head, is based on such recollections.