Haarlem 1620-1683 Amsterdam
Panel, 41 x 56 cm
Signed : Berchem (lower left)
Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, The Hague
While the clouds close in over the landscape, the evening sun illuminates with its dying rays two shepherds and their animals. The low light plays strikingly on the face of the shepherdess and a shadow falls gracefully on her neck. Also splendidly lit is the bull, whose power- ful appearance is emphasized by the dramatic shadows. On the left of this group two goats form a compositional counterweight to the boy and the dog on the right. Of course, the evening light has a blurring effect on the texture. But Berchem made grateful use of this, employing the dark mountains as a tranquil backdrop to this illuminated scene.
Every element in this landscape is toned down by Berchem to suggest a peaceful atmosphere. And he cleverly accentuates the sense of rest with the pyramid framework that encompasses the figures. But it is mainly due to Berchem’s excellent use of light, shadows and halftones that the landscape acquires its lovely, dreamy atmosphere.