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Landscape with cows

Manner of Potter Paulus

(Enkhuizen 1625 - Amsterdam 1654)

Purchased by Camillo Borghese in 1819, this painting depicts a group of grazing cows. It was executed in the manner of Paulus Potter, the Dutch painter who specialised in the representation of animals and landscapes. Nonetheless, the complete absence of transparent tones and the rigidity of several features have rightly led critics to label it an imitation, made between the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Object details

fine XVIII - inizi XIX secolo
oil on panel
cm 43 x 62

19th-century frame with cymatium moulding, lotus and acanthus motifs, 66.5 x 84.5 x 10, cm


Rome, Camillo Borghese, 1819 (see Della Pergola 1959); Inventario Fidecommissario 1833, p. 8; purchased by Italian state, 1902.

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1863 - Bruxelles (cleaning);
  • 1906 - Luigi Bartolucci (support).


Together with the Visitation by Martin Mandekens (inv. no. 274), this panel was purchased on 11 August 1819 by Prince Camillo Borghese as a work by Paulus Potter, according to a note in Giovanni Piancastelli’s Note manoscritte (1891), which Paola della Pergola made known in 1959. After Platner raised doubts as to its authenticity (Della Pergola 1959), in 1863 the painting was sent to Brussels for cleaning and inspection by several experts, whose opinion persuaded Giovanni Morelli and Adolfo Venturi to label it a modern  copy (Morelli 1893), as the work lacked those transparent tones and that lightness typical of the Dutch painter (Venturi 1893). These observations, together with the negative opinion of Giulio Cantalamessa (1911-12) and Roberto Longhi (1928), led Della Pergola to publish the panel as an ‘imitation of Paulus Potter’ executed between the late 18th and early 19th centuries; her theory was upheld by Kristina Herrmann Fiore (2006) and is shared by the present writer.

Antonio Iommelli