This so-called ‘niche piece’, Dou’s specialism, symbolises the victory of divine love over worldly love. This theme is represented here by the relief with fighting putti and the mother and her praying son on the one hand and the charming maid on the other.


  • Title: Maid at the Window
  • Date Created: circa 1660
  • Physical Dimensions: w280 x h380 cm (Without frame)
  • Painter: Gerard Dou
  • Original Title: Dienstmaagd aan het venster
  • Artist Information: Gerard Dou studied with Rembrandt between 1628 and 1631/2. When Rembrandt left Leiden in 1631/32, Dou stayed behind and continued to live and work there. He mainly painted small and very refined scenes from daily life. He was one of the founders of the Leiden school of painting. In his time, he was one of the best paid artists, and in later times too his work remained popular.
  • Additional Artwork Information: Gerard Dou was one of the most sought-after and best-paid painters of his day. His work was greatly admired for its wealth of detail. A contemporary of his revealed that Dou would spend more than three days painting a single fingernail. Another visitor to his studio claims to have seen him at work with three pairs of spectacles balanced on the bridge of his nose. Dou specialized in small paintings with no more than a few figures. The Quack, however, is an exception. It is Dou’s largest painting by far, with fifteen figures in all. Among them, we see a peasant pushing a barrow containing vegetables, a pancake maker wiping her child’s bottom, and a fish merchant, blithely unaware that she is being robbed of her purse. The scene is set just outside the walls of the painter’s hometown, Leiden. Dou portrayed himself as well, leaning out of a window with a palette in his hand. He would surely have had a reason for placing himself beside the quack. Perhaps his idea was that both are masters of illusion: the bogus doctor deceives by selling useless remedies, the artist by suggesting a reality which is merely paint on a panel.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Lent by Stichting Willem van der Vorm 1972, http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • External Link: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Medium: Oil on panel

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