Delft house courtyard, Hooch

Delft house courtyard, Hooch
Delft house courtyard, Hooch

When we talk about the great works of Pieter de Hooch, we have to dismiss from our minds the great baroque images of twists and extreme movements where theatricality takes over the canvas to overwhelm the viewer; nothing is further from the reality of Hooch's pieces where everything is calm and intimacy. Perhaps that is what has made the works of this Dutch artist great, who never needed great compositions or the recreation of lavish scenes to achieve grandeur on his canvases; Quite the contrary, that grandeur was found in simple and everyday scenes that have become the testimony of an era, of the era that the artist was able to live and that he appreciated in his day to day.

Hooch (1629 – 1684) achieved success working primarily on genre scenes which were considered a minor style at the time, yet his canvases fetched large sums of money reaping a successful career in his time. On this occasion we will focus on an oil on canvas that the artist painted in the 1950s, specifically in 1658, and which is currently on display at the National Gallery in London.


The work is vertical in format and small in size, just over seventy centimeters high and sixty wide, and it shows the interior of a house in the city of Delft and how it connects to the main Street. ByAt the same time, Vermeer had painted a canvas that showed the opposite position: from the main street a small alley could be seen that would lead to one of these patios.

The artisthas represented three charactersin the composition, but it seems that his presence in the work is merely anecdotal. A woman appears in the courtyard talking quietly to a girl while the two enter the courtyard via some stairs. Inside the alley that gives access to the main street, another woman stares outside.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the composition is the fact of the structuring of the spaces; the artist presents us with three different spaces: one is the patio of the house with natural lighting and that remains in the foreground, an intermediate space that is in shadow and serves as a corridor or corridor with a brick and stone structure and finally, the area of ​​the street where the woman with her back to us looks out, where again we can appreciate a great illumination.

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