This is a portrait of Jochem van Aras (died 1662), a well-to-do baker from Amsterdam who was also a prosperous merchant. Accompanying him are his wife, Elisabeth Claes Loenen (c.1616–1673) and their daughter Maria van Aras (c.1644–1684). The view probably includes a view of their estate in the vicinity of Overveen, near Haarlem. Certainly it is Haarlem that is shown on the horizon. The paraphernalia of the hunt indicates their social aspirations. Following the extension of hunting rights, it became common for wealthy members of the middle classes like the Van Arases to be depicted enjoying this new privilege. Hence, the self-conscious gestures of the couple deliberately draw the viewer’s attention to the dead hare and the masterful relationship of the man and hound. While Elisabeth proudly displays the result of her husband’s hunting prowess, her daughter brings a basket of fruit, symbolising her hope of a fruitful marriage.
Where to see this painting?
The Wallace Collection
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