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Cows in Art: A Nostalgic Glimpse into Country Living

3 min read
Cows in Art: A Nostalgic Glimpse into Country Living

Cows are a popular subject of art, due to their importance in many cultures and religions. The cows are a beautiful example of pastoral art. They depict the simple, bucolic life of countryside living. The art value of the cows lies in their ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia and longing for a simpler time. There are a variety of artworks depicting cows in The Metropolitan Museum. These artworks provide a glimpse into the different ways that cows have been represented in art over time.

A Cowherd at Valhermeil, Auvers-sur-Oise

French, Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas 1830–1903 Paris / The Met

    This view shows one of the roads connecting the hamlet of Valhermeil in Auvers with Pontoise, the village northwest of Paris where Pissarro lived for many years.
    Between 1873 and 1882, he painted some twenty works in this area, several featuring the same red-roofed house.

The Hamlet of Optevoz

French, Paris 1817–1878 Paris / The Met

    This painting is thought to be based on drawings Daubigny made in 1852 at Optevoz, a town in the valley of the river Rhône that he had first visited in 1849.
    Although the painting appears to give a straightforward description of things seen, Daubigny is thought to have sacrificed finish and detail in order to imbue its modest subject with a poetic effect.
    Another version of the composition, signed and dated 1857 (Philadelphia Museum of Art), shows the view in different light and from a slightly greater distance.

Imaginary Landscape with the Palatine Hill from Campo Vaccino

French, Paris 1703–1770 Paris / The Met

    This painting is a capriccio.
    It was painted after Boucher's return to Paris from Italy.
    It is a fanciful depiction of the rustic countryside around Rome.

The Nativity with Donors and Saints Jerome and Leonard

Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges / The Met

    David focuses attention on the mystery of the Incarnation - that is, Christ's birth and sacrifice for the redemption of humankind.
    Despite the joyful moment depicted, the figures all wear somber expressions, foreshadowing Christ's eventual suffering and death.
    The sheaf of grain parallel to the manger refers to John 6:41:"I am the bread which came down from Heaven."

Cows Crossing a Ford

French, Nantes 1811–1889 L'Isle-Adam / The Met

    The painting is of a landscape with a low horizon and broadly painted sky.
    The painting is of interest to Dupré because it fits the description of an "expansive and true composition" recently painted "on the spot" in the Limousin region of central France.
    The painting was first owned by Paul Périer, an early supporter of Dupré as well as his colleagues Théodore Rousseau and Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps.

A River in a Meadow

French, Paris 1812–1867 Barbizon / The Met

    The painting is largely comprised of three horizontal bands:empty foreground, screen of trees, and sky.
    These broad registers are animated by nimble details, such as the complementary curves of the path and the river, or the straight line of figures that begins with the cow at left and leads the eye to the far bank.
    Light is deployed as a unifying element, a feature of seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painting that Rousseau transposed to a French setting.

Delaware Water Gap

American, Newburgh, New York 1825–1894 Bridge of Allan, Scotland / The Met

    From 1857 to 1891, Inness painted a number of views of the Delaware Water Gap, located on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
    This early version, which reflects some of the tenets of the Hudson River School, juxtaposes a moving steam engine at the left and heavily laden barges on the river, with the pastoral element of grazing cows in the foreground.
    The panoramic view of the countryside is enhanced by dramatic climatic effects: a passing storm and a rainbow.

From 14th Century To 15th Century

From 14th Century To 15th Century

During the 14th and 15th centuries, artists in Europe began to break away from the traditional Gothic style. They began to experiment with new techniques and styles, resulting in a period of great creativity and innovation in the arts. Some of the most famous artworks from this period include the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the sculptures of Donatello. Box with Romance Scenes     This coffret illustrated with scenes from Arthurian and other courtly literature of the M
-5 min read
From 1819 To 1826

From 1819 To 1826

The 19th century was a time of great change in the world of art. Artists began to experiment with new styles and media, and the art world was forever changed as a result. Some of the most famous artists of the time include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. The Falls of Niagara     The painting is of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.     The painting is based on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822. Heroic Landscape w
-4 min read
From 1787 To 1800

From 1787 To 1800

The 18th century was a time of great change in the world of art. New styles and genres emerged, and artists began to experiment with new techniques and materials. The art of the 18th century reflected the changing times, and the growing interest in the natural world and the human form. Elizabeth Farren (born about 1759, died 1829), Later Countess of Derby     The Irish actress Elizabeth Farren made her London debut in 1777 and soon became one of the most popular comic performers of the day.  
-5 min read