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Emanuel de Witte, Adriana van Heusden and Daughter at the Fishmarket

Key facts
Full title Adriana van Heusden and her Daughter at the New Fishmarket in Amsterdam
Artist Emanuel de Witte
Artist dates 1615/17 - 1691/2
Date made about 1662
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 57.1 × 64.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1922
Inventory number NG3682
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Adriana van Heusden and Daughter at the Fishmarket
Emanuel de Witte

Emanuel de Witte is best known for his pictures of church interiors, but he had begun his career as a figure painter and later in life started painting portraits. This is one of them. We know from contemporary documents that this is a portrait of one of his patrons, Adriana van Heusden, and her daughter. Adriana was the wife of de Witte’s landlord and patron in Amsterdam, Joris de Wijs.

As well as presenting a wealthy woman out shopping, the painting is interesting in the way it uses striking perspectives – a technique which de Witte had developed in his architectural pictures. The diagonals and upright lines created by the struts and supports of the fishmonger’s stall frame the two women with dramatic effect, and give the picture a strong sense of depth. This effect is enhanced by the wet slippery fish, complete with gills, roe and entrails, which dominate the foreground.

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