Collection Online

Portrait of a lady
(c. 1640)

Medium
oil on canvas
Measurements
126.0 × 104.0 cm
Accession Number
E1-1979
Department
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1979
Gallery location
17th Century & Flemish Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
About
Portraits enjoyed great popularity in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century, reflecting the growing affluence and civic pride of Dutch society. Members of the extensive Dutch middle class were keen consumers of art, and their patronage sustained a large community of talented painters. This young woman’s black attire, while austere to modern eyes, was chosen for its fashionability and formality. She wears the bouwen, or close-fronted dress of an unmarried woman, a ‘millstone’ ruff, still in vogue in the 1730s, and a ‘diadem cap’ of silk or linen and pearl earrings. An expensive gold watch gleams against the piped black silk.