Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dou, Gerrit

The Quack
Oil on canvas
112 x 83 cm
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Gerrit Dou (1613 – 1675), known as Gerard Dou, was a Dutch Golden Age painter, whose small, highly-polished paintings are typical of the Leiden fijnschilders. He specialized in genre scenes and is noted for his trompe l'oeil "niche" paintings and candlelit night-scenes with strong chiaroscuro.

In 1628, at the age of 15, he became the first pupil of the young 21 year old Rembrandt,  with whom he continued for three years. From Rembrandt, he acquired his skill in coloring, and in the more subtle effects of chiaroscuro; and the style of Rembrandt is reflected in several of his earlier pictures. After Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, Dou developed a style of his own, painting usually on a small scale, with a surface of almost enamelled smoothness.

Rembrandt as a representative of the loose way of painting and Dou as a representative of the other, the precise way.
He painted the home life of simple people with delightful truth and sympathetic interest in their peaceful routine, and he did this in perfect form, all parts in perfect relation to one another, with aerial perspective and enveloping atmosphere.
The distinction of method between Rembrandt (master) and Dou (pupil) may be clear. While Dou learned from Rembrandt the brilliant mastery of interior light, and of color, Dou adhered to his original tendency for minute execution. While Rembrandt grew broader, larger, more powerful, Dou contented himself with ever increasing care, for delicate treatment and extreme finish.