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Abraham van Calraet, The Interior of a Stable

Key facts
Full title The Interior of a Stable
Artist Abraham van Calraet
Artist dates 1642 - 1722
Date made about 1690
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 39.3 × 57.3 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Miss Susannah Caught, 1901
Inventory number NG1851
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Interior of a Stable
Abraham van Calraet

Paintings depicting the interior of large stables were first made popular by Philips Wouwerman in Haarlem in the 1650s. They tend to depict day-to-day activity in large rural stables – a gentleman horseman, surrounded by his servants. Van Calraet was working 30 to 40 years later in Dordrecht and drew on the work of both Wouwerman and Aelbert Cuyp, another animal specialist.

This picture has similarities with Wouwerman’s The Interior of a Stable, also in the National Gallery’s collection: the predominantly dark background full of figures and activity, hens pecking in the right foreground, an opening to the outside world, a white horse and a mounted horseman in the centre. However, van Calraet created a stronger contrast between light and dark, highlighting the white horse in a more dramatic way. And while the painting by Wouwerman shows a gentleman tipping a groom, van Calraet’s shows a vignette of a mother with three young children, apparently receiving alms from the stable-master.

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