Pieter-Jansz van Asch
Pastoral, c. 1640
oil on canvas
41.6 x 55.2 cm
Permanent loan to the Winnipeg Art Gallery from the City of Winnipeg, James Cleghorn Collection
This picturesque, sunny, back-lit scene of rural Holland is typical of Pieter-Jansz van Asch, a landscape painter who specialized in producing small-scale pictures from the villages surrounding Delft. More than topographical studies of a specific place, van Asch’s paintings attempted to capture the social attributes of a certain region. His landscape compositions also reveal the influence of foreign artists, in particular the Baroque landscape painter Annibale Carracci whose work highlighted the harmonious relationship of rural peasants to the land. Popular among Dutch bourgeois collectors, the highly admired paintings of van Asch were featured on the walls of townhouses in busy city centres as a celebrative, nostalgic reference to the seemingly simple life of countrymen.