The Hermit, 1670, oil on panel, 46 x 34.5 (18 1/8 x 13 5/8), National Gallery of Art, Washington, Timken Collection


The Hermit

The subject of the hermit is one that Dou borrowed from Rembrandt at the beginning of his career and returned to at the end of his life. The artist has ably captured a range of materials and textures. The wrinkles of the hermit's hand are painted in small, regular strokes of powder blue, pink, and ocher. The grasses that grow from the water at the bottom of the panel are painted in single, tapering sweeps of the brush, as different from one another as the grasses they describe. White highlights on the overturned earthenware jug suggest both the reflection of light and the working of the clay. Dou's characteristically fine brushwork is both spirited and free.

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