A Bull, Two Sheep and a Goat in Pasture

Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven, 1799 - 1881

A Bull, Two Sheep and a Goat in Pasture

Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven 1799 - 1881


This is a detailed portrait of an Italian breed of bull, with two sheep and a goat. Two tiny figures in pointed hats, one of whom is clearly wearing a herder's cape, are visible in the low scrub to the left. The margins of a lake create a natural divide between the detailed foreground and a hazy background of rolling hills that fade away in bands of green, purple and blue. The bull is a long-horned breed, a type that was common in Italy in the 19th century. The low viewpoint makes the animal more massive than usual, dwarfing the landscape. The slanting sunlight accentuates his angular hindquarters, which may indicate his type and age, rather than poor grazing. His air of calm resignation and the prominent branding on his fore and hindlegs inspire our sympathy. Verboeckhoven trained at the academy in Ghent, becoming a pupil in 1818 of Balthazar Paul Ommeganck (1725-1826), whose classical landscape style informed his early work. From the mid 1820s, he turned to the naturalistic painting of different breeds of animals, inspired by the work of the great Dutch animal painter Paulus Potter (1625-1654). Verboeckhoven was mainly active in Brussels, although this work is inscribed 'Rome'.

Object Name

A Bull, Two Sheep and a Goat in Pasture

Date Created



unframed: 18.6cm x 27.2cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


Bequeathed by John Edward Yates


© Manchester Art Gallery

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