Pieter Bout


Oil on canvas, 50 x 71 cm

The composition of the famous Flemish artist Peter Bout goes back to the broad “universal” Dutch landscapes of the 16th century. The general idea of such compositions is to show in one landscape the whole world in all its diversity and movement: mountains and plains, a village and the outlines of a city in the distance, land and a sea bay with fishing boats and ships under sail. The world is populated by people, and signs of their presence are visible everywhere: plowed fields, mown meadows, roads, buildings, residential buildings and churches. Since the world is in perpetual motion, in the cycle of days, the Flemish artist reflected this in his comprehensive landscape. The movement is set by a line of peasant carts going down the hill towards the foreground. The line of the road is zigzag, emphatically dynamic. The peasants who have come to the fore are in different states of their daily existence. On the right, people are working - using sickles and scythes to mow down the remains of a wheat field, knitting sheaves and loading them into a cart. A little further behind them, in front of the peasant tavern, a crowded celebration with dancing had already begun, symbolizing rest after righteous labors. In the center of the landscape is a large family of several generations sitting on the ground, resting and having a snack. Their presence is a metaphor: different generations: from children to old people, symbolize the human life cycle, the eternal change of generations. The versatility of the landscape can also be seen in the types of activities. Farmers are adjacent to fishermen, represented on their fishing boats on the left. Flemish artist Peter Bout is a master of staffage. In his landscape, he carefully painted out many human figures “for viewing.” He is also an excellent animal painter: horses, cows, goats and sheep were painted by him masterfully and accurately.

The ideas of cyclical movement, development, and circulation are realized by the Flemish artist not only on earth, but also in the sky. If in the distance we see clear and cloudless weather, then in the foreground we are shown a whole atmospheric process: on the left - clouds are gathering; in the center - it is raining heavily; on the right, after the rain, huge cumulus clouds rise from the ground.