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Gerrit Dou, A Poulterer's Shop

Key facts
Full title A Poulterer's Shop
Artist Gerrit Dou
Artist dates 1613 - 1675
Date made about 1670
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 58 × 46 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG825
Location Room 16
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Poulterer's Shop
Gerrit Dou

This is one of the best examples of Gerrit Dou’s brilliance at depicting different surfaces and textures, like the fraying cloth crumpled underneath a bucket, the smooth stone of the sill, the feathers in the duck’s wing and the pocked skin of its breast and neck.

Dou was one of the most successful artists in Leiden, and his accounts of everyday scenes like this – a young woman buying poultry and game – were particularly sought-after. As here, many were set in an architectural frame, an unusual device because even though the details and the figures are extremely realistic, a Leiden poultry seller would definitely not have displayed her produce in such a grand setting. It was obviously a device which proved popular with Dou’s own customers however, and it also allowed him to give his scenes a greater illusion of depth.

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