Jan Baptist Weenix, Dutch, 1621-1660/61
Title: The Sleeping Shepherdess
Date: c.1658
Medium: Oil on canvas
72.5 x 61.1 cm
Signed: upper centre: Gio : Batta Weenix
Credit Line: Bequeathed, Sir Henry Page Turner Barron, 1901
Object Number: NGI.511
DescriptionA shepherdess asleep amongst the debris of a classical ruin is protected from the sun by her large hat, and from danger b a Dutch partridge gun dog (a type of spaniel). The soft fall of light across her face and the reflections on her clothes are delicately handled. Beyond two overgrown columns can be seen an open-air inn with figures by the seashore. In one of his most beautiful paintings, Weenix evokes the lethargic mood of Italy a decade after his return to Holland. By excluding any reference to work, he appears not to be commenting on the moral dangers of heavy sleep as painted out by the Ditch moralists of the time.

Weenix trained with various masters before spending the years 1642-47 in Rome where he was in the service of Cardinal Pamphili. Settled in Utrecht, he painted genre and history subjects in Italianate settings, together with game pieces; as did his son Jan Weenix.

(National Gallery of Ireland: Essential Guide, 2008)
ProvenanceGalley of reigning Dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, Salzthalum until 1795; Francois-Xavier de Burtin, 1808; Etienne Le Roy; Viscomte de Bus de Gisignies, 1855; Viscomte de Bus de Gisignies sale, lot 91, Brussels, 9-10 May 1882; Sir Henry Page Turner Barron; bequeathed, Sir Henry Page Turner Barron, 1901
Exhibition HistoryCentenary Exhibition, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, October - December 1964

Dutch Paintings of the Golden Age from the Collection of the National Gallery of Ireland, Charles W. Bowers Memorial Museum, Santa Ana, California; Midland Arts Council, Midland, Michigan; Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina; Centre for the Fine Arts, Miami, Florida; IBM Gallery, New York, 1987

Master European Paintings from the National Gallery of Ireland, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 6 June - 9 August 1992; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, 19 September - 6 December 1992; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 13 January - 28 March 1993; IBM Gallery, New York, 27 April - 26 June 1993
Label TextA shepherdess wearing a large hat has fallen asleep amongst the stones of a classical ruin. Her partridge gun dog stands guard. In the background a man on horseback approaches a tavern overlooking the seashore. The scene is lit by typically Mediterranean sunlight. Weenix was a highly versatile Dutch painter, draughtsman and etcher, who arrived in Rome in 1642/3. He stayed there for four years, possibly working in the service of Cardinal Pamphili. By 1647, he was back in Amsterdam, where he continued painting Italianate landscapes and harbour scenes. He also painted genre scenes, still lifes and portraits.

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