Born into an affluent family in the Dutch city of Dordrecht, Nicolaes Maes studied in Amsterdam with Rembrandt. Although he produced paintings of diverse subject matter during his career, Maes focused on scenes of domestic life and portraits of wealthy patrons. Here, he presents a sober depiction of an upper-middle-class family, statically posed and facing the viewer. The parents appear in finery befitting their station—the mother wears a black gown reserved for Sundays and holidays, and the father wears a white collar with tassels, particularly fashionable around 1655. The open window looking out on the ships passing through Dordrecht’s canal, as well as the Chinese porcelain on the shelf above the scene, suggest that this is a merchant family. The two older children hold a basket of fruit, symbolic of the fertility of the marriage.
- Artist Name: Nicolaes Maes (Dutch, 1634-1693)
- Title: Interior with a Dordrecht Family
- Date: 1656
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 44-1/4 x 47-5/8 in. (112.4 x 121.0 cm)
- Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
- Accession Number: F.1972.15.2.P
- Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation
(sale, "A late distinguished marshal of France," London, Stanley, 11 June 1816, no 28).
Lord Carbery, Laxton Hall, Northhamptonshire by 1824, by inheritance to;
Mary, Lady Carbery, Castle Freke, County Cork, Ireland (London, 4 March 1921, no. 29, to Taylor for ,3,000 [bought in]); by inheritance to;
Christopher Sandford, Eye Manor, Hertfordshire (Sotheby's, 5 July 1967, no. 35 for ,5,800 to).
William J. Middendorf, New York & The Hague.
[Edward Speelman Ltd., London];
The Norton Simon Foundation.
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