MAES, Nicolaes
(b. 1634, Dordrecht, d. 1693, Amsterdam)

Young Woman Peeling Apples

Oil on wood, 55 x 46 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Paintings of women peeling apples, scraping parsnips, and otherwise preparing simple foods were one of several ways in which the Dutch endorsed an ideal of womanhood in middle-class society. The image of a homemaker, content with her modest and diligent life, had moral and religious overtones. This theme can be found, for example, in paintings by Gabriel Metsu, Pieter de Hooch, and Cornelis Bisschop.From the 1650s the motif and similar domestic subjects became fairly commonplace.