Art Collections Online
A Dutch Interior
BREKELENKAM, Gerritsz. Quiringh van (1620 - 1658)
Media: oil on canvas
Size: 44.4 x 61.6 cm
Acquired: 1921; Transfer; Turner House
Accession Number: NMW A 3736
This housewife is busy embroidering and selecting vegetables from a pail. But she may not be as virtuous as she appears. The artist Brekelenkam specialized in small-scale interiors, often with hidden meanings. The Dutch verb naaien (to sew) also means to copulate, while onions were considered to be aphrodisiacs. Cut flowers warn against short-lived pleasures and closed books suggest human ignorance. The bed in the background suggests this woman may be a prostitute.