Portrait of a Woman, c. 1635-1640, oil on panel, oval, 13.3 x 11.3 (5 1/4 x 4 3/8), private collection



 

Portrait of a Woman

This painting is one of a series of small, oval, bust-length portraits and figure studies that Dou painted between 1635 and 1640. The handling of the paint, especially the contrast of the woman's delicately drawn features and the freely rendered sleeves of her fur jacket, points to a date closer to 1640. The supreme assurance in Dou's rendering of the transparent headdress and its lace decoration and the beautiful subtlety of the reflected light under the sitter's chin are hallmarks of a more confident and experienced painter. The small size of the panel, which creates an impression of preciousness, makes such virtuoso handling even more remarkable.


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