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Shepherd and his Family at the Well Johann Heinrich Roos


Johann Heinrich Roos Otterberg, 1631 – Frankfurt am Main, 1685

Culture German
Date ca. 1670
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas

75.5 x 92 cm
with frame: 95 x 11.5 x 11 cm

Inventory number 427
Collection Old Master Paintings
On view Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1600–1700 and British Painting 1600–1800, Gallery VII

Roos spent his youth in the Netherlands, and his art was largely affected by the Italianate landscape painting of Nicolaes Berchem and Karel du Jardin. His Budapest painting, showing a shepherd family, just like many of his similar works with bucolic theme, expressed his contemporaries’ longing for an idyllic world in which man could live in peace within the tranquillizing vicinity of nature. The painter paid special attention to the depiction of animals. He was thoroughly familiar with their physical traits, their distinctive ways of movement and behaviour, and their diversity of character. The protagonist of this work – apart from the shepherd sipping from his hat – is the sturdy ox, quenching his thirst at the water trough. Heinrich Sebastian Hüsgen, an influential eighteenth-century art collector and theorist from Frankfurt, justifiably described Roos as the “Raphael of animal painting”.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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