With convincing <term>naturalism</term>, a cow turns its head to survey a group of figures resting above a crevice on a hillside. The <term>satyr</term> sleeps with his head on the lap of a <term>nymph</term>, and a young child playfully tugs at her arm. Cows and sheep rest around the family, completing the image of peaceful tranquility in this <term>arcadian</term> landscape. On the right side of the painting, trees grow at different angles on a rocky hillside sloping diagonally down toward a crevice or dry creek bed. In the far distance, hazy mountains give way to a light-blue sky with grayish-white clouds.

Nicolaes Berchem was fond of depicting idylls in imaginary Italian settings. The foliage and hilly landscape identify the location as typical of northern Italy, not Holland. Here he used a vertical format and suggested movement through the diagonals of the hillside and leaning trees. Framed by the large open expanse on the left, the standing cow, rather than the family group in the <term>foreground</term>, captures the viewer's attention.


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