Collection Online

Travellers by a well
(c. 1635-1641)

oil on wood panel
23.7 × 34.0 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through The Art Foundation of Victoria by Dr Orde Poynton CMG, Fellow, 1980
Gallery location
17th Century & Flemish Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Collection of Protheroe (?), until 1810; included in the sale of property of the 6th Earl of Coventry and others, Christie’s, London, 16-17 February 1810 (sold 17 February), no. 94 as Jan Both (style of); collection of V. K. Burmeister, before c. 1956; by whom bequeathed to the Art Gallery of South Australia, c. 1956; subsequently sold, Theodore Bruce (auction house), Adelaide, 1957; bought from this sale by Dr John Orde Poynton (1906–2001); collection of Dr John Orde Poynton, 1957–80; by whom donated to the NGV through The Art Foundation of Victoria, 1980.

After artistic training in their native Utrecht, Andries Both and his brother Jan travelled to Italy in the early 1630s. They established themselves in Rome painting bambocciate, a new genre being developed there by Dutch, French, Flemish and German artists. Bambocciate were small cabinet pictures of ‘low’ life in the Roman Campagna, painted with Northern realism and infused with recognisably Italian light. The amusing and rustic character of these simple vignettes was relished by Roman aristocratic and bourgeois collectors. This particular scene, showing travellers paused for refreshment, might well have been observed during the Both brothers’ journeys.