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Portrait of a Lady, c. 1635-40

Gerard Dou

Dutch, 1613-1675
Oil on panel
19-3/8 x 15-1/4 in. (49.2 x 38.7 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1969.43.P
© 2012 The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Dou was one of Rembrandt's premier students in Leiden. After Rembrandt's move to Amsterdam, Dou successfully established his own studio. His painting technique reflects certain early aspects of Rembrandt's style, particularly his use of chiaroscuro and color. Dou influenced many pupils and followers. He developed formulas such as the use of architectural niches to frame compositions, thus creating a stage-like atmosphere.

This portrait is one of the few examples of this subject that Dou completed during his long career. He was discouraged from continuing portrait commissions because contemporaries claimed he did not capture good likenesses of his subjects. Dou was further accused of requiring his clients to sit too long and charging them exorbitant rates. Ultimately, he abandoned portrait painting, but must be credited with setting the long-lived Dutch vogue for small, carefully finished portraits.

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