National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1964
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Amid the growing wealth of the Dutch middle classes, the gezin (nuclear family), comprising parents and children bound by feelings of affection, was considered the building block of a strong civic body. The importance of the family unit in seventeenth-century Holland is attested to by the emergence of the family portrait, which ordinary burghers commissioned in great numbers. These delightful paintings balance a correct sense of gratitude for luxury (evidence of God’s blessing) with a prudent fear of hubris. In this scene, fond glances between family members attest to emotional cohesiveness, while the go-cart symbolises the centrality of children in Dutch life.