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Dutch, Portrait of a Seated Woman and a Girl in a Landscape

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Seated Woman and a Girl in a Landscape
Artist Dutch
Date made about 1640-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 92.7 × 68.3 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2546
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Seated Woman and a Girl in a Landscape

Age and youth, grandmother and granddaughter perhaps, an unknown artist and unknown sitters. What more can there be to say with such an undefined beginning – is it even safe to say they are grandmother and granddaughter? Maybe not, but their apparent ages and the one firm, fond hand holding the other would suggest so. There’s a strong likeness about the eyes, mouth, chin, and the wide forehead revealed by the impeccable hair, drawn back under the bonnet.

Perhaps the greatest puzzle of all is the object that the grandmother holds, delicately and with care. It could be a bird’s egg. It could be a stone. To the Dutch at the time, an egg was often a Christian symbol of the Resurrection of Christ and immortality, and a stone of the divine and eternal.

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