Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem

The Bird Trap: Encampment with a Figure on a White Horse (About 1645 - 1646)

About this artwork

This picture is typical of Berchem’s early work, when he was still producing scenes that resemble the area around his native town, Haarlem. The hunters here are preparing to catch small birds, almost certainly finches. The nets in the foreground and slung behind the horseman’s saddle are typical for this type of hunting and the dunes along the North Sea, such as those outside Haarlem, were optimal places for catching finches.

  • title: The Bird Trap: Encampment with a Figure on a White Horse
  • accession number: NG 2788
  • artist: Nicolaes Pietersz. BerchemNetherlandish (1621/1622 - 1683)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery(In Storage)
  • object type: Painting
  • date created: About 1645 - 1646
  • measurements: 30.60 x 40.30 cm
  • credit line: Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to The National Galleries of Scotland 2005
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem

Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem

Berchem was the most important and versatile of the so-called Dutch Italianates – painters who produced landscapes with a distinctly Italian flavour. Born in Haarlem, he studied under his father, the still-life painter Pieter Claesz. The surname ‘Berchem’ was adopted when he entered the studio of the landscape painter Jan van Goyen. He took up the classicising Italianate style of northern landscapists such as Cornelis van Poelenburgh. It is uncertain if Berchem ever actually visited Italy, or if he captured the warm Italian sunlight through admiring the work of other artists. Berchem collaborated with artists such as Jan Baptist Weenix, Jacob van Ruisdael and Meindert Hobbema, by adding figures to their work. Eventually settling in Amsterdam, he enjoyed a prolific painting career.