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Possibly by Michiel Nouts, A Family Group

Key facts
Full title A Family Group
Artist Possibly by Michiel Nouts
Artist dates baptised 1628-1693
Date made about 1655
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 178 × 235 cm
Acquisition credit The left half presented by Charles Fairfax Murray, 1900; the right half bought, 1910
Inventory number NG1699
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Family Group
Possibly by Michiel Nouts

This very large painting was cut in half sometime before 1900. In 1915, the halves were rejoined in the National Gallery and some missing portions replaced.

The way the family is grouped, with clear division between male and female, is significant. Father and son are together. They turn towards each other and a gesture from the father suggests that, one day, his son will inherit his role as the head of the family. The mother and three daughters are dutifully supportive, the mother still nurturing the two youngsters. The eldest girl, with the two bright red cherries, leans away, slightly apart. She is learning to become independent, ready one day to marry out of the family.

The costumes suggest a date in the 1650s. The artist was possibly familiar with painting in Delft. A stylistic resemblance between this picture and a portrait by Michiel Nouts (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) – his only known signed work – suggests it may be by him.

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