Two Peasants with Cows

Govert Dircksz Camphuysen17th century

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Govert Camphuysen is a rather rare artist, not particularly well-known. His works, including this one, were often attributed to the more famous Paulus Potter (1625–54). He was not a Dutch Italianate, although his treatment of light means that his work hangs harmoniously alongside that of Cuyp and Adriane van de Velde (1636-72). An early career as a portraitist in Amsterdam foundered, and he turned to animals and landscape around 1650 (when he painted this picture), spending some time in Stockholm as a court painter to the Dowager Queen of Sweden.

Camphuysen excelled in rustic naturalism. He concentrated on realistic detail such as the farmer on the right’s bare feet and the shoes tied round his waist.

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  • Title: Two Peasants with Cows
  • Date: 17th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w628 x h473 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Nationality: Dutch
  • Support: Panel
  • Provenance: London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Inscriptions: [Forged signature P. Potter]
  • Further Information: Govert Camphuysen was born in Frisia (at Harlingen, Ameland or Dokkum), where his family was in religious exile on account of his father, who was a preacher. Camphuysen probably trained with his cousin, the Amsterdam painter Rafael Camphuysen and by 1643 he was active as a portrait painter in Amsterdam. Much of his work consists of animal paintings in the style of Paulus Potter and landscapes that share the unusual light effects and perspectives of Aert van der Neer. In 1880Two Peasants and a Cowbore a false signature, Paulus Potter. When the painting was cleaned in 1952-3 this signature was removed to reveal Camphuysen's initials. Like Potter, Camphuysen excelled in naturalistic rustic scenes, concentrating on realistic detail and farmers’ close relationship with the earth.Two Peasants with Cowsis typical of Camphuysen's work of around 1650.
  • Artist: Camphuysen, Govaert
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)