Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

The White Cow
  • Jan van de Velde II
    born: Rotterdam or Delft, Dutch Republic (present-day Netherlands) ; died: Enkhuizen, Dutch Republic (present-day Netherlands)
  • The White Cow, 1622
  • Where object was made: Netherlands
  • etching, engraving
  • Image Dimensions Height/Width: 149 x 226 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: 5 7/8 x 8 7/8 in
    Mat Dimensions: 14 x 19 in
  • Gift of Rob Fucci in honor of Dr. Linda Stone-Ferrier
  • Not on display
  • 2009.0092
Catalogue raisonné

Landscape with tilled field, several goats, two cows and two figures. Pumpkins appear in the left foreground. The farmers and animals appear along a sloping left to right diagonal in the middle ground. A man sits atop one cow with a basket slung over one shoulder, while a woman walks behind the white cow from which the print gets its name. In the right background a line of trees angle from right to left as they diminish in size. In the left background the view opens to a panoramic vista. The lines of shading in the sky are darkest along the top edge and lighten as the approach the horizon of the landscape. The glow along the horizon suggests that it is dawn or dusk.

Another version of this image was printed with a Latin inscription that reads: As soon as the night is over, the industrious farmer drives his goats and cow from the country to the town, carrying chickens over his shoulders. The burden is light work for him, as long as he returns home loaded with money [Nox ubi pullatis orbem circumvolat, alis: Omnia fossa jacent, coelo jam tristior ignis. Affulget: lenis sopor, omnibus occupat artus: ut Pheobo redeunte, sita meliore resurgent].

The grouping of figures and animals may be borrowed from a drawing by Willem Buytewech.