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Girl cutting onions

Painting, 1646, 20.9×16.8 cm

Description of the artwork «Girl cutting onions»

"Girl chopping onions" one of the "business cards" by Gerrit Dou, along with "Young mother". Between these two works we can draw a number of Parallels. First, both represent magnificent samples of Leiden school of fijnschilders ("fine painters"), his meticulous execution of the smallest details and a smooth, polished surface. Also in both paintings, the master alludes to the personal lives of their heroines. That's only in contrast to the virtuous married "Young mother" – the mistress well appointed upper chamber of the then Dutch elite, here the viewer is transported into a world of carnal intrigues "lower" world cuisine.

At first glance, "Girl cutting onions" there is nothing erotic. As on the panel "Young mother", we see a blonde young woman who was caught off guard at work. The light from the window on the left pulls out of the gloom hanging upside down dead partridge, an empty birdcage and lying on the side of the jug.

Employment of cooks was one of the DOE. Here he could not only showcase their brilliant talent of the master of still life, but to fill the space of many – sometimes ambiguous – visual hints. Lustful strauchi were often the heroines of comic literature in the Netherlands of the XVII century, and the artists emphasized their charms with the help of symbols taken from the books of Proverbs and sayings.

In this case, an empty birdcage can be deciphered as a symbol of lost virginity. Additional allegories are partridge (the Dutch word vogel that "bird" in slang also means "intercourse", and vogelen"to catch birds" is a euphemism for "have sex") and onions, which was then considered an aphrodisiac. Many of the items in the picture, such as a candle, mortar and pestle, and the jug – there is a clear sexual connotation. The boy who holds the heroine bulb could pass for Cupid if he wasn't dressed and bescri.

However, all these separate aspects can be combined another, broader meaning: here the boy represents innocence and girl – on experience. However, in France in the eighteenth century the history of the painting Dou interpreted unambiguously. Engraver Pierre Louis Curug provided your etching following imaginary words: "I'm fully willing to believe that you have mastered the fine art of cooking stew. But I feel more appetite for you / Than to stews that you cook".

Author: Vlad Maslov
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait, Genre scene

Style of art: Baroque, The Golden age of Holland

Technique: Oil

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: 1646

Size: 20.9×16.8 cm

Artwork in selections: 9 selections

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