Rubens primarily devoted his efforts to history painting - the genre that, owing to its complex subject matter, was held in highest esteem well into the 19th century. Nevertheless, he also painted several landscapes that reveal the strong influence of the Dutch painting tradition. Here, the scene of a grazing herd of cows in a densely wooded countryside harks back to the work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Rubens' landscape paintings not only reflect the artist's interest in Antwerp's rural surroundings. They also carry a political message, as suggested in the peaceful mood that exemplifies the quiet which returned to Flanders after the negotiated truce with Northern Netherlands.