Two Flemish peasants gather sticks into bundles before a landscape of rolling hills, rural homes, and a river. The trees have lost their leaves, the sky is overcast, and the men are warmly dressed, suggesting winter. In addition, the activity of clearing away dead wood was traditionally a wintertime activity.
This small cutting from the lower border of a manuscript page originally served as an illustration in the calendar section of a book of hours. The seasonal character of the landscape suggests that it was associated with one of the winter months. The expansive landscape and the description of atmosphere are characteristic of the art of Simon Bening, who worked in the first half of the 1500s, when landscape painting emerged as an independent genre of art in easel paintings.