A boy offers a basket of bread to a lady in an interior; behind them a tiled courtyard leads into another dark interior, beyond which can be seen a canal with a second woman, possibly the boy’s mother, watching the transaction from afar. With its masterly illusion of receding depth, the picture demonstrates De Hooch’s sensitivity to differing effects of daylight in adjoining spaces, in this case through a series of indoor and outdoor spaces. Originally a girl reading a book sat in the doorway, but she was painted out in favour of the lady and the boy, whose stance echoes the verticality of the architecture and prompts the eye to travel upwards into the picture space. By paring down his composition De Hooch focuses the viewer’s attention and imbues the scene with intensified quietude.
Where to see this painting?
The Wallace Collection
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