Description A child teasing a cat is a frequent subject in Dutch art; it refers to the idea that (sexual) teasing can lead to a painful scratching. That this mischievous girl is partially disrobed makes the consequences more obvious and erotic-since her bared skin teases the viewer as well. Her voluptuousness and apparent cheerfulness suggest a brothel, not the everyday life of children. Van Bijlert, a leading master in Utrecht, owes his sensual treatment of the human body to the influence of his teacher Abraham Bloemaert and the paintings by the great Italian master Caravaggio that he saw while in Rome (1621-24/25), such as the latter's melancholic, starkly sensual "Musicians," from which he apparently adapted the shoulder and arm of the boy at the right for this girl.
- Going for Baroque. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995-1996.
- Masters of Light: Dutch Painters in Utrecht During the Golden Age. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; The National Gallery, London. 1997-1998.
Provenance Daphne Alazraki, Old master Paintings, New York; Wallters Art Museum, Baltimore, 1993, by purchase.
Inscriptions [Signature] J.v bijlert fe
Credit Museum purchase with funds provided by the W. Alton Jones Acquisition Fund, 1993
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