MAN, Cornelis de
(b. 1621, Delft, d. 1706, Delft)

A Man Weighing Gold

c. 1670
Oil on canvas, 82 x 68 cm
Private collection

From about the mid-1660s onward, De Man painted stylish genre scenes that incorporate ideas adopted from works by De Hooch, Vermeer, and their contemporaries. The Man Weighing Gold is one of de Man's best-known and most beautiful genre paintings. In a comfortable interior, a gentleman weighs gold at a table watched by a seated woman, perhaps his wife. The artist cleverly suggests the chill of early morning by the thick garments worn by the pair, the woman's pose, the crumpled bedding beside the box bed, and the presence of a young servant placing peat in the hearth to ignite a fire. The perspective system is constructed upon an oblique, dual-point system. This complex system was common in paintings of church interiors, particularly in Delft, and de Man was undoubtedly familiar with it from his own, earlier renditions of such spaces. The conspicuous floor tiles and beamed ceiling intensify the illusionistic effects of the perspective as does the richly carved wainscoting and mantelpiece.