Gerrit Dou's Bird Shop

Gerrit Dou's Bird Shop
Gerrit Dou's Bird Shop

The formation of the baroque painter Gerrit Dou (1613 – 1675) was very heterogeneous. To begin with because he was the son of a glass engraver, and with him he began to take his first steps halfway between the craft and the artistic. And later he too studied with a copper engraver and later with a glass painter, finally becoming a disciple of the great Dutch master Rembrandt from 1628.


Gerrit Dou's Bird Shop

The two of them were very young then. Since Dou was 15 years old, but Rembrandt only 22, nevertheless the master's talent left an important mark on the disciple. Though the paths diverged and Rembrandt settled in Amsterdam since 1631.

However Dou is a painter with a personality of his own. On the one hand he has the qualities of a miniaturist, with incredible precision to paint every last detail. To which is added his technique close to enamels, which allows him to capture all kinds of textures. In addition, from time to time, his training as a glass painter emerges and bright colors emerge. And of course with Rembrandt he learned to work with light and delicate chiaroscuro.

So it's no wonder he made an international name for himself, and he was even invited byKing Charles II of Englandto move to his court. Gerrit Dou, however, chose to remain in his city of Leyden andsucceed from there. In addition to that he founded a school of artists that remained open until the 19th century

One of his speci alties were niche paintings, like this one we see from the Poultry Store of 1670 that is kept in theNational Gallery in London. A type of paintings where they open an arcade or a window to show us an interior. Something that here is a store that serves to recreate a still life, but on other occasions, as in The Young Mother, is a room in a home where he recreates a scene of manners.

It may seem to us from the realism and details of the painting that Gerrit Dou has taken a kind of snapshot in the market. But actually that was not his working method. His realism is more selective. He took details, notes and ideas from various places and then recreated his paintings in his workshop, using the most varied sources.

For example, here we see in the lower part, at the base of what is the counter, a bas-relief with children playing, something that is actually inspired by a work by the Flemish sculptor Duquesnoy that he had done inRoma and that Dou would know from retorts.

In short, this is an exemplary work of the style of this Baroque artist in the Netherlands. A creator that allows the viewer to appreciate incredible details in the quality of the objects, people and animals represented, where everything has an incredible realism and an almost tactile quality.

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