When Herman van Swanevelt made this highly finished drawing, painters of pastoral themes often populated landscapes with nymphs and satyrs. He included several such vignettes in this landscape. Nymphs and satyrs play with children near a dead tree draped with vines on the left, and a satyr holds up an empty pan in the center as a nymph walks away. On the opposite bank of the river, Swanevelt carefully rendered the specific traits of flora and fauna in typical Dutch fashion.

Swanevelt used a subtle technique to draw the viewer's eye into the picture's center: he drew the framing elements at the edges in warm brown ink, while the center opens into brightness. The water and background foliage--delicately rendered in black chalk, pale wash, and luminous areas of blank paper--sparkle in the sunlight.


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