The young mother, Gerrit Dou

The young mother, Gerrit Dou
The young mother, Gerrit Dou

The Young Mother is one of the best-known works by the Baroque artist Gerrit Dou. Painted in oil on canvas, the work perfectly shows us Dou's detailed style in which the influence of some of the most outstanding baroque painters of the time is appreciated; If the painting of this singular artist stands out for something precisely, it is for knowing how to perfectly combine the different stylistic aspects of the baroque.


Gerrit Dou (1613 – 1675), also known as Gerad Dou or even Gerrit Dow, is one of the most representative artistic figures of what is known as the Leiden school. Dou belonged to a family of artists, his first contacts with the art world came precisely from his father, an expert stained glass painter; For some time the artist remained in the family workshop, however the young Dou was more interested in plastic painting, so he soon entered as an apprentice in the workshop of some local painters -Dolendo or Peter Kouwhoorn- at the early age of fifteen. artist you will be presented with a unique opportunity to enter the workshop of the most outstanding artist of Dutch painting, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn.

Gerrit Dou specialized in interior scenes such as the one we are dealing with here, The Young Mother is an oil on canvas painted by the artist in the mid-17th century, around the year 1658. It is a small tablewhich measures just over fifty centimeters wide and seventy centimeters high and whose upper part has been finished off in a semicircle. It is about a mother, assuming she is new, who is sewing while the maid attends to her newborn son at her feet, who is inside a wicker basket. The woman has looked up from her work to stare at the viewer, ignoring the crying baby to whom the maid solicitously attends.

The figures, which the artist has placed in a more distant plane, have remained small within the large room that appears to be crowded with objects. As an inheritance of Rembrandt's aesthetics, a spectacular handling of color can be seen, which on this occasion appears nuanced by powerful lighting effects. Light is a legacy of the tenebrist tradition started in Italy by Caravaggio and spread throughout Europe, it is a light that strikes from the right, entering through the large window that appears semi-open and from where you can see the silhouette of the city of Leiden.

But without a doubt,Dou's artistic quality is more than appreciable in the detailwith which he elaborates each of the many details that adorn the canvas. In the room you can count more than a dozen superfluous elements where the artist has wasted virtuosity perfectly reproducing every detail.

The work of The Young Mother is currently in the Mauristshuis Museum in The Hague.

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