Three cows are resting with two shepherds in the shade of a tree. A sheep is depicted in the bottom righthand corner, while a goat appears behind the cows. As in many of these Italianate landscapes, the scene is lit by a low, evening sun. In the hazy distance looms the outline of the mountains.
Perhaps this was a landscape Nicolaes Berchem had seen in Italy. Even so, the picture was not drawn directly from nature. He borrowed two of the cows from a print made by Paulus Potter in 1643. Potter, who specialised in depicting animals, placed his cows in a typically Dutch landscape, while Berchem preferred a more southerly countryside.