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Follower of Marten de Vos, A Little Girl with a Basket of Cherries

Key facts
Full title A Little Girl with a Basket of Cherries
Artist Follower of Marten de Vos
Artist dates 1532 - 1603
Date made probably 1575-80
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 80.4 × 52.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Mrs Elizabeth Carstairs, 1952
Inventory number NG6161
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Little Girl with a Basket of Cherries
Follower of Marten de Vos

We don't know who this little girl was, but she was clearly the daughter of very rich parents. She wears a black, gold and white cap decorated with black beads, real and artificial flowers and tassels, as well as an ornament on her right ear. Her collar seems to be lace and her dark blue dress is perhaps decorated with strips of gold and silver lace.

She has gold chains around her waist, wrists and neck, one with a coral pendant. Her little wicker basket contains cherries, a fruit often associated with the Christ Child, perhaps because they were the colour of blood, as was red coral, which was believed to protect children from evil.

The style is close to portraits of children by Marten de Vos, but less competently painted: the hands are out of scale and badly drawn. The painter was a follower of Marten, possibly working in Antwerp around 1575–80, the likely date of this picture.

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