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Portrait of a Family
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Portrait of a Family

Description Conservation Provenance Credit
Description It was in the Dutch Republic that the family portrait first became a significant subject, particularly among the middle class. This is due, in part, to the important role of women in Dutch society as well as to the prosperity and political power of the middle class. The seated parents are surrounded by their children, who stand in respect. The souls of infants who died young or were stillborn hover above. The rural setting indicates that the family has property; however, their attire is sober, excepting the lustrous, East-Indian pearls worn by the girls, possibly to suggest the dowries they will bring to marriage. In addition, the two girls of marriageable age carry roses-they are in bloom! The boys have one hand on the hip, a gesture of determination, associated in portraiture with the man "on guard," ready to defend the family. Maybe the family members did all look alike, but, more likely, this provincial artist was unable to register the distinctions.
Date Description Narrative
3/01/1937Treatmentexamined for condition; varnish removed or reduced
8/01/2004Treatmentcleaned; inpainted; loss compensation
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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1635-1640 (Baroque)
oil on panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
56 1/4 x 71 5/16 in. (142.8 x 181.2 cm)


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