Still Life with Globe, Lute, and Books, c. 1635, oil on panel, 22.5 x 30 (8 7/8 x 11 3/4), Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein



 

Still Life with Globe, Lute, and Books

The horizontal format is unusual in Dou's oeuvre and unique among his still lifes. The picture is painstakingly executed, particularly in the rendering of the various surfaces. Alternating thin and thick brush strokes suggest the raggedness and the weight of the pages of the upright book; thin, calligraphic brushwork describes the volumes' bindings.

The conjunction of a globe, a lute seen from the back, and a ragged portfolio and books first appeared in Dou's work in Artist in His Studio. The combination of elements associated with music and study probably alludes to the intellectual and artistic life. Dou's focus on the scholarly ideal, never more concentrated than in this work, is central to many of his early paintings.

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