(b. 1639, Prague, d. 1684, Den Haag)

Two Boys Blowing Bubbles

c. 1670
Oil on panel, 31 x 25 cm
National Gallery, London

In Netscher's genre paintings from the late 1660s children appears repeatedly. Like all genre paintings, these depictions are conventional images. Two Boys Blowing Bubbles ranks among Netscher's most engaging paintings of children. The young lad in the background blows a bubble while his older playmate gazes at one floating above. Two seashells and a very ornate silver tazza (which expertly reproduces one fabricated by the renowned silversmith Adam van Vianen in 1618) lie on the ledge before the boys.

The motif of bubble blowing in Dutch art is traditionally associated with the Latin expression, "Homo Bulla" (Man is Like a Bubble). This refers to the ephemerality of human existence like: like a soap bubble which quickly bursts, life is fleeting.