The Institute is fortunate in its examples of distinguished European landscape painting from Patinir to our own time. To these we now add a Pastoral Scene
by Johann Heinrich Roos (1631-1658),1
a painter favored in German courts of the later seventeenth century. Handsome landscapes were standard palace ornaments in that and the following century. Most often they showed—as in Claude—the kind of hills and weathers of Italy made “interesting” by small figures in scenes from sacred and profane history. The artists of the Lowlands, with their sharp eyes and pragmatic realism, transformed this more ideal form by introducing into it the lowly and the real. Roos' scene is an example of this; hardly real in itself, it is an ideal amalgam of real elements: Dutch livestock, Italian peasant children and landscape, a Roman ruin (the columns of the Temple of Vespasian in the Forum of Rome). The scene is limpid, gentle and beautiful in itself. The land is rich, the livestock prosperous and content, and the children happy if poor. It is a blissful vision of simple good rendered by the most polished and genial art.This is one of Roos' finest works, signed and dated 1676. Related but inferior works are in the Vienna Academy and the Staedel Institute (1680). Similar motives appear in paintings by Roos in the Kassel Gallery, in the Budapest Museum as well as in the Augsburg Gallery.2Endnotes
Referenced Work of Art
- Signed and dated J. H. Roos/1676. Ex colls.: General Count Wenkheim; F. X. de Bertin; Dorotheum, Vienna, 1917; Rothschild, Frankfurt-am-Main. See de Bertin, Traité thèorique. . . , II, Brussels, 1808, p. 283s., no. 126; H. Jedding, Johann Heinrich Roos, no. 122.
- Mr. Stephen Spector draws my attention to a drawing recently in the New York art market (as Claude) showing the same view of the ruin. See also the British Museum drawing 0.o 10-2 29.
- Johann Heinrich Roos, German, 1631-1685. Pastoral Scene, 1676. Oil on canvas, 24” x 29 1/2”. The William Hood Dunwoody Fund, 1961, 61.64.