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Dutch Painting

Woman Milking a Red Cow

Karel Du Jardin
c. 1657
Oilon canvas, 81 x 75 x 6 cm.
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Woman Milking a Red Cow, Karel de jardin

Amsterdam 1621/2 (?)- Venice 1678

Although most of Du Jardin's pictures are Italian landscapes in the manner of Nicolaes Berchem, who is believed to have been his master, his art shows a wide variety of subject matter and technique. He also painted a few large pictures like the Conversion of Saul (in the National Gallery, London) but these lack the precision and concentration of his small-scale pictures. There are also a few excellent portraits, most of which depict a young man. Although the sitters differ, almost all of them have at one time been described as self-portraits.
Du Jardin did not make any contribution to the development of the Italianate landscape which was evolved by Jan Both and continued by Berchem, but he practiced the genre with a skill and perfection which make him outstanding of the group. He was also good at painting animals and occasionally his pictures come close to those of Paulus Potter.

Jan Both concentrated on the general effect of his landscapes, which are meant to be viewed as a whole, but Du Jardin preferred his pictures to be read at close quarters. The atmosphere has a milky quality rather than the olden glow used by most of his contemporaries.

His career was complex and is best summarized as follows: Rome before 1650; Amsterdam 1650; Lyons; Amsterdam 1652; The Hague 1656; Amsterdam 1659; Rome 1675; Venice 1678. His pictures show remarkably little evidence of these continuous moves and, without dates on them, they remarkably difficult to pin-point to a particular time in his career.

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