<< Search Results
Bookmark and Share


Core Record

Title The Milkwoman
Collection English Heritage (Wellington Museum, Apsley House)
Artist Maes, Nicolaes (Dutch painter, 1634–1693)
Date Earliest probably about 1656
Date Latest probably about 1656
Signed yes

This is a companion to The Eavesdropper (WM1503), dating from thesame period, about 1656. It belongs to a group of compositions with saleswomen in front of houses painted by Maes at this time, many of which depict milkwomen. As Krempel has noted, the earliest mention of WM1506 identifies it as ‘Sight' from a series of the Five Senses (see WM1503). The bespectacled old woman's careful examination of each grudgingly tendered coin is matched by the milk-vendor's expectant gaze, emphasizing the importance of visual examination in a market transaction.

Born in Dordrecht, Nicolaes Maes was probably a pupil of Rembrandt in Amsterdam in about 1650. He was back at Dordrecht before 1654 and remained there until 1673, when he settled in Amsterdam. He painted genre scenes in his early years, but from 1660 he confined himself to portraiture.

Current Accession Number WM 1506–1948
Inscription front ll 'N.MAES'
Subject townscape; figure; trade and industry; everyday life
Measurements 57.5 x 66.6 cm
Material oil on canvas

Related paintings include a Woman Selling Milk in the Mansion House, London (Harold Samuel collection; Krempel 2000, no. D23) and another one in the Anthony de Rothschild Collection at Ascott (The National Trust; Krempel 2000, no. D10). All have the large central figure typical of Maes's genre compositions of the mid- to late 1650s. The gateway in the street on the left is the St Joris Poort at Dordrecht, where Maes lived until 1673; a woman from the countryside enters, her yoke hung with milkjug and pail. There are several related drawings of milksellers, of which the one in the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden (Sumowski 1984, no. 1868x) is the closest. Two drawings in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (inv. 3045A, 3045B; see Sumowski 1984, no. 1788) are more closely related to the Ascott painting, showing the housewife standing in front of the door instead of behind it.

For Maes see W.R. Valentiner, Nicolaes Maes, Stuttgart, 1924; W. Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, VIII, New York, 1984, pp. 3951–4489; W. Sumowski, Die Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, III, Landau, Pfalz 1986, pp. 1951–2174; L. Krempel, Studien zu den datierten Gemälden des Nicolaes Maes (1634–1693), Petersberg, 2000.

Rights Owner Copyright English Heritage
Author C.M. Kauffmann, revised by Susan Jenkins



about        contact        terms of use        image credits        © 2020