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Pieter Codde, Portrait of a Man, a Woman and a Boy in a Room

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Man, a Woman and a Boy in a Room
Artist Pieter Codde
Artist dates 1599 - 1678
Date made 1640
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 48.3 × 65 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2576
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Man, a Woman and a Boy in a Room
Pieter Codde

In this painting of 1640 of a well-to-do but unremarkable Dutch family, Pieter Codde’s challenge was to give life to a static scene. The sitters are unknown, although it has been suggested that they are Hendricus Meursius and Judith Cotermans with their son. Whatever their identity, their fine clothes (too luxurious for everyday wear), spacious room, handsome furniture and the painting above the fireplace show that their household has money.

Codde puts the viewer into the position of a guest who has just walked into the room. The father, surprised in a pose of great informality, gestures a welcome with his hand; his wife has just risen from her chair, while his son doffs his hat at the visitor. With this clever narrative Codde manages to combine the family’s friendliness, courtesy and status in one domestic scene.

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