Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Dog at Rest

Gerard Dou, ca. 1650
Museum of Fine Arts, Van Otterloo Collection, Boston

When does a work of art manage to move us? Is it grandeur, humor, psychological depth, religious surrender? In Gerard Dou’s Dog at Rest, there is no question of any of that. Perhaps the painting affects us so because it does not appeal to higher or intellectual values, but is simple, unadorned, and intimate. It is not about a pedigreed dog, but a domestic creature, curled up among the everyday objects of a kitchen. Dutch painters of the seventeenth century diligently explored everyday reality. Among them, Gerard Dou was a pioneer. He was unmatched in knowing how to paint the soft materiality of the dog’s fur, the gleam of the earthenware pot, the weathered bark of the branches, and the wickerwork of the basket. Despite its mundane subject, this small panel will have delighted connoisseurs and collectors alike with its phenomenal painting technique. It still does today.

Christiaan Vogelaar, Curator of Old Master Paintings and Sculpture, Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden

Explore more

Van Otterloo Collection

Information on the promised gift

Read on