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A Man with Dead Birds, and Other Figures, in a Stable
Pieter de Hooch

The young woman cradling her baby seems to be the focus of this quiet scene. She looks down at the dead birds, her expression shuttered but perhaps suggesting that while the man’s work is done, hers – plucking, gutting and cooking the animals – is just beginning.

A series of rectangles, some open, some closed, define the space and give a glimpse of the fascination and skill in the use of perspective that became central to de Hooch’s work. On the right, clothes draped over a wooden plank catch the light, giving depth to the shadowy area behind it. To the left, sketchily painted objects hang on another wooden half wall; behind them, a web of narrow beams angle upwards to give height to the ceiling overhead.

Key facts
Artist Pieter de Hooch
Artist dates 1629 - after 1684
Full title A Man with Dead Birds, and Other Figures, in a Stable
Date made about 1655
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 53.5 x 49.7 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by F.N. and O.S. Ashcroft in memory of their parents, 1924
Inventory number NG3881
Location in Gallery Not on display
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