Browse by Artist

Artist: Maes, Nicolaes 3 of 3 Previous Previous | Next Next

Interior with a Dordrecht Family, 1656

Nicolaes Maes

Dutch, 1634-1693
Oil on canvas
44-1/4 x 47-5/8 in. (112.4 x 121.0 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1972.15.2.P
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

One of the most talented students of Rembrandt, Nicolaes Maes worked in his native city of Dordrecht and in Amsterdam. Maes specialized in domestic scenes and portraiture, both of which provide valuable information about how the Dutch pictured themselves. Viewing this elegantly orchestrated composition, where each figure is linked to another in pose or gesture, we can deduce associations that were meaningful to this family: The father’s gesture, with his right hand placed over his heart, declares his marital commitment. The seated mother holding the infant reminds us of her important maternal role. Maes tenderly captures the innocent attention of the two older children. The basket of fruit they both hold alludes to biblical references that characterize children as the fruits of marriage. Centered in the composition and visible through the open window, Dordrecht Cathedral symbolizes the family’s Protestant affiliation. Evidence of their affluence can be read in the fine if sober quality of their clothing and in the expensive Chinese porcelain arranged along the shelf at right.

View Provenance

Audio Listen to an excerpt from the audio tour

 

Audio Listen to an excerpt from the audio tour

 


Artist: Maes, Nicolaes 3 of 3 Previous Previous | Next Next