A Lady teaching a Child to Read

Netscher intends a deliberate contrast between the industry of the girl who is being taught to read and the idleness of the boy, who prefers to play with the dog and knucklebone. On the wall behind is a small copy of Rubens's 'The Brazen Serpent', the original of which is in the National Gallery's Collection.

Netscher, who was a portrait and genre painter, trained with Gerard ter Borch, but later his style became strongly influenced by Anthony Van Dyck and his followers in The Hague.

Key facts

Artist dates
1635/6 - 1684
Full title
A Lady teaching a Child to read, and a Child playing with a Dog ('La Maîtresse d'école')
Date made
probably 1670s
Medium and support
Oil on oak
45.1 x 37 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1871
Inventory number
Location in Gallery