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A Dutch Interior

BREKELENKAM, Gerritsz. Quiringh van (1620 - 1658)

A Dutch Interior

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. 

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