View of a Path in the Hague Forest, with Beggars at the Door of a Cottage
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Jan Lievens
Dutch, about 1654 - 1658
Pen and brown ink on Japanese paper
9 x 15 in.

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A narrow road dappled with sunlight winds through a forest, past a cottage where a family is begging for money at the gate. A traveler with a backpack and stick rests in the shade at the path's edge, while in the distance a woman wearing a broad hat carries two buckets on a yoke. The traditional title of the drawing refers to a path in the Haagse Bos, a large forest around The Hague in the Netherlands.

Although Jan Lievens produced this and most of his landscape drawings in the studio, he still managed to capture many minute details: the varied textures of leaves in sunlight, trees with delicate hatching on their trunks, and careful shading on the path to show the sunlight and shadows. Lievens used a rare and costly sheet of Japanese paper for this drawing. The slightly iridescent surface of the paper gives the composition an added warmth and rich sheen. Japanese paper was quite hard to find in the Netherlands during the 1600s, and the only other artist who used it often was Rembrandt, a friend and former colleague of Lievens.