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Landscape with Shepherds near Roman Ruins
Poelenburch, Cornelis van
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Poelenburch, Cornelis van

Utrecht, 1594 - Utrecht, 1667

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Landscape with Shepherds near Roman Ruins

1622 - 1623. Oil on copperplate. Not on display

During the years he spent in Rome, Van Poelenburch began painting scenes of this kind with small-or medium-sized figures, in which the presence of ruins is so powerful that they could almost be said to be the main subject. In the foreground, which is slightly raised, a shepherd and a village woman engage in conversation near a herd of goats. Opening out behind them is a large space populated by numerous human figures and animals, flanked on the right by a recreation of Diocletian`s baths and on the left by a hillock. The ruins and the hillock trace diagonal lines towards the dense woodland of the background plane. The gradation of light and shade heightens the sensation of spatial depth. The brilliant, luminous colours are applied using smooth, uniform brushstrokes, although some areas -the ass`s saddle, the goat in the foreground and the architecture- are more impasto.

Van Poelenburch`s oeuvre shows little stylistic evolution from beginning to end and this, together with the fact that he rarely dated his works, makes it very difficult to establish a timeline, which can only be inferred from comparison with the few dated works that exist. Schaar (1959-60) claims the present work to be dated 1621, though this is not currently verifiable. Sluitjer-Seijffert (1984) ascribes it to 1622-23 and judges it to be stylistically and compositionally close to Landscape with Mercury and Battos, dated to around 1620 (Florence, Palazzo Pitti). The ruins shown here are found in one of the nine engravings after drawings by Van Poelenburch made by Jan Gerritsz. Bronckhorst (1603-1661) in the mid-1630s (The Illustrated Bartsch 5, no. 16).

Landscape with Shepherds near Roman Ruins and Diana bathing with her Nymphs (P2129) are traditionally held to have been saved in 1734 from the fire at the Alcázar in Madrid. However, only Diana bathing is listed in the inventory of rescued works. It has likewise been maintained in the Museum`s catalogues that both works belonged to Queen Isabella Farnese. They are, in fact, different works: the two paintings listed in the inventories of Isabella Farnese (now in the care of the Spanish national heritage, Patrimonio Nacional) are coppers and are each marked with their own number and the fleur-de-lis that indicates they belonged to that collection (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, pp. 309-310).


Technical data

Inventory number
Poelenburch, Cornelis van
Landscape with Shepherds near Roman Ruins
1622 - 1623
Height: 42 cm.; Width: 56 cm.
Royal Collection (Alcázar de Madrid, 1666 y 1734; Palacio Real, Madrid, 1747; Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, despacho del rey, 1772, nº 905; Palacio de Aranjuez, Madrid, pieza de la meridiana, 1794, nº 26; Aranjuez, pieza de vestir la reina, 1818, nº 26).

Bibliography +

Schaar, Eckhard, Poelemburg und Breemberg in Italien und ein Bild Elsheimers, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorische Instituts in Florenz, 9, 1959-60, pp. 37-38.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973, pp. 39-40.

Claudio de Lorena y el ideal clásico de paisaje en el siglo, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas, Madrid, 1984, pp. 168.

Sluijter-Seijffert, Nicolette, Cornelis van Poelenburch (ca. 1593-1667). Tesis doctoral., Univ. de Leiden, Leiden, 1984, pp. 81.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 511.

Chong, Alan, The drawings of Cornelis van Poelenburch, Master drawings, XXV, 1987, pp. 3-62.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº1538.

Aterido Fernández, Ángel, Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio: inventarios reales, I, Fundacion de Apoyo de la Historia, Madrid, 2004, pp. 444.

López Fanjul, M. Pérez Preciado, J. J., Los números y marcas de colección en los cuadros del Museo del Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXIII, 2005, pp. 84-110.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 109-110.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, El paisaje nórdico en el Prado: Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 135-136,164 / 48.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Rubens, Brueghel, Lorrain. A Paisagem Nórdica do Museu do Prado, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga - INCM - Museo Nacional del Prado, Lisboa, 2013, pp. 134,160 n.48.

Sluijter-Seijffert, Nicolette, Cornelis van Poelenburch 1594/5-1667 : the paintings, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2016, pp. 94,f.83, 95,364 n.224.

Other inventories +

Inv. Felipe IV, Alcázar de Madrid, 1666. Núm. s.n..
Vna lamina de media bara de alto y tercia de ancho, de vnas ruinas de mano no conocidas- [Inventario del Alcázar, 1666, Pieza de entrada a la galería del Cierzo]

Inv. Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1772. Núm. 905.
Despacho del Rey [...] {14409-14410} 408-905 / Otras dos [pinturas] iguales la vna de Venus y Adonis y la otra en lamina de vn pais con pastores y ganados tres quartas de alta y media vara de caide originales

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Aranjuez, 1794. Núm. 26.
Pieza de la Meridiana [...] {306} 26 / Una Lamina de pie y quarto de largo y tres quartos de alto: Pais con bariedad de Personas y ruinas de Arquitectura. Escuela de Bril ... 1.200

Inv. Fernando VII, Aranjuez, 1814-1818. Núm. 26.
Pieza de vestir la Reyna [...] {20833} 26 / Lámina vara y media quarta alto tercia ancho, pais con ruinas y muchas figuras igual mano

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. 148.
SALÓN 1º / ESCUELA HOLANDESA [...] Ciento cuarenta y ocho. País con las Termas de Diocleciano / de Cornelio Poetemburgo / Tª / 9.060

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1538.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1538.
C. Poelemburg / 1538. Pais con las termas de Diocleciano. / Tambien se ven pastores con su ganado. (cobre.) / Alto 1 pie, 6 pulg; ancho 2 pies, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1532.
1532.-(1538-R.)-País, con las ruinas de las termas de / Diocleciano, y pastores con su ganado. / Col. de Doña Isabel Farnesio, Pal. de San Ildef. / Alto 0,42; ancho 0,70.-C.

Exhibitions +

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
03.12.2013 - 30.03.2014

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
Palma de Mallorca
20.06.2013 - 29.09.2013

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
20.12.2012 - 24.02.2013

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
25.09.2012 - 25.11.2012

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
Santiago de Compostela
01.12.2011 - 18.03.2012

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

Displayed objects +


Update date: 16-10-2020 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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