JACOB VAN DER DOES (Amsterdam 1623 – 1673 Amsterdam)

Jacob van der Does

Jacob van der Does (Amsterdam 1623 – 1673 Amsterdam)

A Woman and Child with a Shepherd in an Italianate Landscape

Red chalk, remains of brown ink framing lines, watermark arms of Amsterdam, 176 x 273 mm (6.9 x 10.7 inch)

~ Benjamin West (1738-1820), his mark at lower left (Lugt 419); the drawing can possibly be identified with the following lot in West’s posthumous sale, Messrs Christie, London, 9ff June 1820, second day’s sale, lot 56: ‘Adrien Vande Veld. One [drawing], a landscape with cattle.’
~ Ray Livingstone Murphy, New York; his sale, Christie’s, London, 13 December 1985, lot 479


On a sun-drenched summer’s day somewhere on the Campagna in Italy, a shepherd with a cow and donkey addresses a woman holding a child, while some sheep and goats rest in the foreground. The idyllic scene can be located in Italy because of the remains of Classical ruins, seen behind the woman. The medium of the warm red chalk is particularly appropriate to depict this Southern idyll.

Jacob van der Does was born in Amsterdam and received his artistic training from the pre-Rembrandtist Nicolaes Moeyaert, but his known oeuvre betrays the influence of artists such as Nicolaes Berchem. He was in Rome from 1644 to 1649 and this Italian sojourn was of tremendous importance for the development of his career. After his return to Amsterdam Van der Does specialised in Southern rural scenes, of which this drawing is an excellent example. His son’s Jacob II and Simon van der Does also became painters.

The drawing was once owned by the important Anglo-American painter Benjamin West (1738-1820), and carries his collector’s mark. West is famous for his heroically handled historical scenes, but occasionally attempted more rustic subjects. It is tempting to speculate that his sympathetic representation of a donkey, preserved at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, could have been inspired by a sheet from his own collection such as the present work by Van der Does.1


1. Helmut von Erffa and Allen Staley, The Paintings of Benjamin West, New Haven and London 1986, p. 437.