Gerrit Dou was one of the most highly esteemed Dutch painters of the seventeenth century, prized for his meticulous technique and illusionistic effects. He entered Rembrandt van Rijn's Leiden studio at the age of fifteen, when the great master himself was still a teenager. Dou's fame, however, resulted from his own artistic achievements. He was considered the founder of the Leiden school of fijnschilders (fine painters), and his works were sought by collectors throughout Europe, including Queen Christina in Stockholm and Cosimo III de' Medici in Florence, who paid extremely high prices for his works.

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