BARENT GRAAT (Amsterdam 1628 – Amsterdam 1709)
A Baby Lamb with a Kid and a Goat
signed B. Graat in the lower left
oval, oil on panel
4 7/8 x 6 1/8 inches (12.5 x 15.5 cm.)
Harari and Johns, London
Bob P. Haboldt & Co., New York, 1986 from whom acquired by
Private Collection, Missouri
Barent Graat spent his entire career working in Amsterdam. His teacher was his uncle Hans, an animal and landscape painter. Graat’s early landscapes were inspired by those of the Bamboccianti artist Pieter van Laer (1599 – 1642?). He populated these works with lively figures and exquisitely rendered animals. The encyclopedists Michael Bryan and George Stanley in the 1849 edition of their Dictionary of Painters and Engravers stated “The landscapes of Graat exhibit very pleasing scenery, and the figures and animals with which he embellished them are correctly drawn and touched with great spirit, particularly his sheep and goats, in which he excelled.” Upon viewing our delightful panel one can only concur with this sentiment. These works met with great success which inspired Graat to expand his range with historical and mythological subjects, genre scenes, and both individual and group portraits. To enhance his knowledge of anatomy Graat founded an academy in his home where artists drew from life. Besides being a draughtsman he produced copper etchings mainly depicting animals.
An important legacy of the artist was his role as an instructor circa 1650 of Johann Heinrich Roos (1631-1685), the most important German animal painter of the seventeenth century. Roos’s realistic scenes of cattle, goats and sheep in softly lit Italianate landscapes were widely imitated in Germany and Holland until the early nineteenth century. Directly related to our panel are Roos’s numerous renderings, especially in drawings and etchings, of sheep and goats in a small format. Graat’s works can be found in the museums of Amsterdam, Brussels, Schwerin and Stockholm as well as the Royal Collection, London.