Judith Leyster possessed a remarkable ability to capture the freshness and spontaneity of children. In this beautifully painted tondo, the young boy conveys the innocence of childhood, his cheeks red and lips flushed. The flowing strand of hair in the background, known as a "love-lock," displays the lightness of Leyster’s touch, as do the delicate strokes defining the sitter’s features. Characteristic of Leyster’s techniques is the use of the back of the brush to scratch long strands of hair into the wet paint. Leyster’s supposed teacher Frans Hals (c.1585–1666) also possessed a remarkable ability to paint children with an energy and immediacy that transmits a sense of their vibrant youthfulness.

Judith Leyster entered into the Saint Luke’s Guild of Haarlem as an independent master in 1633. As a master in her own right, rare for a female artist, Leyster established her own workshop and had paying students. Five years earlier, her proficiency and talent had already drawn public praise. A chronicler of Haarlem described Judith Leyster, only nineteen years old at the time, as a painter of "good and keen insight." Following her marriage to fellow Haarlem artist Jan Miense Molenaer in 1636 Leyster stopped producing art in her own name, but probably continued to paint in collaboration with—and in the workshop of—her husband.


  • Title: Young Boy in Profile
  • Creator: Judith Leyster
  • Date Created: c. 1630
  • Physical Dimensions: diameter: 19 cm (7 1/2 in.)
  • Provenance: Private collection, Switzerland. (Kunsthandel P. de Boer, Amsterdam), at least in 1968. (Newhouse Gallery, New York); purchased by Thomas Mellon Evans [1910-1997], New York, and Greenwich, Connecticut; by inheritance to his wife, Mrs. Thomas M. Evans [née Betty Barton, 1923-2013], New York, and Greenwich, Connecticut; gift 2009 to NGA.
  • Medium: oil on panel

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