Animals Grazing beneath Trees, Lucas van Valckenborch
Lucas van Valckenborch
Animals Grazing beneath Trees
Back to top

Lucas van Valckenborch

Animals Grazing beneath Trees, 1573

34.5 x 46.8 x min. 0.2 cm
maximum depth
0.6 cm
Physical Description
Oil on oak
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1892 as a bequest from Moritz Gontard
On display, 2nd upper level, Old Masters, room 9


About the Work

A farmer's wife has been milking a cow in a sparse forest on the edge of a pool. Possibly distracted by the farmer, who is leaning casually against the animal's back, she has failed to notice that the cow has knocked over the milk pail. Her arms thrown apart in a gesture of reproach, she draws the farmer's attention to the spilt milk. The Flemish painter Lucas van Valckenborch has painstakingly reproduced the rural scenery. We can recognise individual plants and the lizards and rabbits in the foreground, while an angler and a staggering man supported by two companions can be seen in the background.

About the Acquisition

Having fled from France in 1689 for religious reasons, the Calvinist Gontard family soon rose to wealth and honour in its new home town of Frankfurt: the Gontards were ennobled as "Imperial Knight of the Holy Roman Empire, Lord von Gontard". Their city mansion, 'Zum weißen Hirsch', lay in Großer Hirschgraben in the neighbourhood of those of the Goethe and Passavant families. The merchant and art collector Moritz von Gontard (1826-1886) was chairman of the five-man administrative committee of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut for many years until his death. Gontard made a gift to the museum on two occasions: once for the opening of the new building in Schaumainkai, completed in 1878, which he took as an opportunity to present the museum with Lucas Cranach's 'Venus'. Eight years later Moritz von Gontard died and bequeathed his art collection to the Städel. On 28 April 1887 the official press of Prussia confirmed that it was permissible to accept the bequest: "The Administration of the Städelsches Kunst-Institut in Frankfurt am Main has been granted permission by the territorial lord to receive the 33 paintings with an approximate total value of 103,000 M which were bequeathed by the deceased merchant Friedrich Moritz Gontard in his last will and testament." The collection mainly contained works of Dutch and Flemish Baroque painting.


ASK AN ARTWORK – Fragen an die Kunst: Lucas van Valckenborch
Es gibt viel zu entdecken auf dem Gemälde von Lucas van Valckenborch „Viehweide unter Bäumen". Doch ganz so idylisch, wie es den Anschein hat, ist es nicht. In der Serie ASK AN ARTWORK beantwortet die Kunsthistorikerin Anna Huber (Mitarbeiterin der Abteilung Bildung und Vermittlung) Fragen, die wir an die Kunst haben. Findet Lucas van Valckenborchs Werk „Viehweide unter Bäumen" (1573) in der Digitalen Sammlung: There's a lot going on in the painting from Lucas van Valckenborch "Animals Grazing beneath Trees". But it's not quite as idyllic as it might seem. In the series ASK AN ARTWORK art historian Anna Huber (Educational Department of the Städel Museum) answers the questions that we have for art. Find Lucas van Valckenborch's "Animals Grazing beneath Trees" (1573) in our Digital Collection:

Work Data

Work Content

Similar works

  • All

More to discover



Do you have any suggestions, questions or information about this work?

Last update