Thursday, May 16, 2013

Painting of the Day: A Girl Chopping Onions, 1646

A Girl Chopping Onions
Gerrit Dou, 1646
Acquired by King George IV
The Royal Collection

King George IV had a special fondness for Dutch painting. In fact, he evendesigned a room in Carlton House around his collection of Dutch canvases. But, George IV wasn’t just any collector; he was able to amass an exceptional assortment of works from the finest Dutch painters.

Take, for instance, this domestic scene or genre painting by celebrated painter Gerrit Dou (1613-1675). Dou was notable as being the founder of the Dutch 
Fijnschilders school known for its meticulous brushwork, attention to detail and opulent finishes which give the paintings an ultra-realistic look. Dou often painted the subject of kitchen-maids which, in Dutch vernacular, was symbolic of more lascivious pursuits. The small child behind the table is, in light of this, more than just a “Dutch Baby,” but also a representation of cupid and the maid’s physicality.

This piece had a position of prominence in the collection of King George IV who was probably drawn to the work for both its outstanding artisty as well as its somewhat bawdy undertones. 

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Images Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

No comments: