- Museum number
Cows, study for a painting; main group of three cows feeding in a meadow, one at left looking round to left, smaller, light sketches of cows surrounding. c.1636-38
Pen and brown ink, with grey wash
- Production date
- 1618-1620 (circa)
Height: 340 millimetres
Width: 526 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The study was used in two landscape paintings: 'Polder Landscape with Eleven Cows' from around 1618-1620 in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, inv.no.322 (Rooses 1201) and 'Landscape with Cows and Sportsmen' from around 1625-1638 in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. The grazing animal seen from the front also appears in slightly altered form, in Rubens's 'Mercury and Argus' of around 1635-1638 in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, inv.no.962C.
The attribution is uncertain, as the drawing is based on one in the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth, which is apparently an autograph and signed work by Van Dyck. Apart from this drawing, two other versions have long been recorded, one also in the British Museum (see 1860,0616.90), the other formerly in the Northwick collection (sold Sothebys' November 1920, lot 200; now in a private collection, illustrated and discussed by Anne-Marie Logan in "In Arte Venustas. Studies in Drawings in Honour of Teréz Gerzi presented on her Eightieth Birthday", 2007, pp.139-141, no.44). A version in red chalk, perhaps also from Rubens's workshop, is in a private collection (B. Boëlens van Waesberghe [ed.], 'European Master Drawings unveiled', exh. cat., Rotterdam, Kunsthal, 2002, no.25).
The composition was also engraved (in reverse) by Paulus Pontius in his 'Book of Drawing' of 1649 (plate 16), probably on the basis of the Chatsworth drawing.
Literature: Anne-Marie Logan, 'Distinguishing the Drawings by Anthony van Dyck from those of Peter Paul Rubens', in Hans Vlieghe (ed.), "Van Dyck 1599-1999: conjectures and refutations", Turnhout, 2001, pp.24-6, repr. fig.23 (as copy after Rubens); K.A. Schroder and H. Widauer (eds.), 'Peter Paul Rubens', exh.cat. Albertina, Vienna, 2004, cat.no.72; Anne-Marie Logan, 'Peter Paul Rubens: The Drawings', exh.cat. Metropolitan Museum, New Haven and London, 2004, cat.no.101.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, 'Rubens drawings and sketches', no.201
2004 Sept-Dec, Vienna, Albertina, 'Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640): The Drawings'
2005 Jan-April, New York, Metropolitan Mus.of Art, 'Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640): The Drawings'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number