Road by the Edge of a Lake
Several peasants take a brief rest as they herd their cows along a lakeside path. The diffused light, long shadows, and delicate colour of the sky place this scene at dusk, inviting the viewer to enjoy the end of the day alongside the group.
Jan Both (1615/22–52), based in Utrecht in the Netherlands, was one of the most influential and important of the Dutch Italianate painters. He travelled to Italy between 1638 and 1641, and this picture was probably painted when he was in Rome. There he was part of the Bamboccianti group of Northern European artists, so called because of their interest in bawdy scenes of everyday life, known as bambocciate. The broad characterisation and handling of the figures contrasts with the delicate detail in the landscape, suggesting that the figures were painted by someone else. Jan Both frequently collaborated with other painters in this way.