Jacob Gerrritsz Cuyp, Dutch, 1594–1651/2
Albert Cuyp, Dutch, 1620–1691
Portrait of a Family in a Landscape
Oil on canvas
155 x 245 cm
Gift of Joseph R. and Madeleine Nash, Paris
Accession number: B65.04.0166
A collaborative work of father and son, Jacob Gerritsz. and Aelbert Cuyp of Dordrecht, this painting is both a landscape and a family portrait that captures the moment of the return from the hunt. Hunting, a privilege granted to the upper classes, had just become fashionable when the painting was commissioned.
The figures, by Jacob, are rather rigid and stiff. Their faces reveal a family resemblance, and their ages are inscribed on the ground beneath them. The maid on the extreme right holds a set of bellows and carries a basket with a chicken that she has prepared for the family outing. The son, accompanied by a servant, at left, is handing his trophy-a dead game bird-to his youngest sister, thus enlivening the composition. The young girl second from right holds a bunch of grapes, which is a symbol of nature's bounty, as are the hunted game and the cow being milked in the background.
The vast landscape, bathed in golden hues and reminiscent of the style of Jan van Goyen, was painted by Aelbert, then a youth of twenty-one. Cows graze and are milked; people work in the field. Everything that the viewer beholds belongs to this affluent family and serves as evidence that they have been blessed by God.