BRAY, Salomon de
(b. 1597, Amsterdam, d. 1664, Haarlem)

The Twins Clara and Aelbert de Bray

c. 1646
Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Salomon de Bray is usually remembered for his classical compositions - he was selected to paint large decorated fields for the Oranjezaal at Huis ten Bosch. Yet his double portrait of his nephew's twins puts him squarely in the tradition of Dutch naturalistic portraiture. The chiaroscuro effect and the colour scheme of the painting are reminiscent of Rembrandt's work of the 1640s, but stylistic slots are the last thing to come to mind when confronted by this touching image of two tiny babies wearing what are presumably their baptismal lockets lying in a richly carved gilded Baroque shell-like cradle.