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Quiringh van Brekelenkam, An Interior, with a Man and a Woman seated by a Fire

Key facts
Full title An Interior, with a Man and a Woman seated by a Fire
Artist Quiringh van Brekelenkam
Artist dates active 1644; died 1668
Date made 1653
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 51.4 × 70.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1891
Inventory number NG1329
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
An Interior, with a Man and a Woman seated by a Fire
Quiringh van Brekelenkam

This is a painting paying homage to diligent housekeeping, domestic harmony and a contented husband and wife. We are in a kitchen, so the woman takes centre stage and she sits bathed in light from the high window. She catches our eye, confident perhaps that we will approve of her housekeeping. The pots and pans are clean and orderly, and she has laid out a lunch of bread, cheese and ham on an immaculate cloth – a simple meal, but there is plenty of it. The man puffs on his pipe and enjoys the heat of the fire. His job was not to help in the kitchen, but to provide the money for the household. They are also a patriotic couple: a map of the Netherlands hangs by the chimney breast. However, the scene is not a real one. Van Brekelenkam is representing an atmospheric moment in an ideal home.

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