The artist is showing us two families here; the mother and the child are part of one family, and the cow and her calf make up the other family.
This is a peasant wife. She and her husband farm the land and have a cow to give milk for the family. The cow is important to them because in addition to the milk, she is the source of butter and cheese for them. Her calf may enlarge the herd, or it may be sold to get other supplies that the family needs.
The mother is barefooted and her apron appears to be patched.
Notice the background with the open landscape on the right side of the picture and the trees and foliage giving a deep shade on the left side. This contrast creates an interesting picture.
Look at the enlarged version.
What do you think the mother has in her pocket?
The cattle have cloven hoofs. What does this mean? Look up the word in the dictionary if you don't know.
The Boy Luther at the House of Madame Cotta The Menagerie
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