(b. 1634, Rotterdam, d. 1682, Amsterdam)

A Family Group

Oil on canvas, 97 x 91 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Ochtervelt's paintings are almost all elegant upper-class interiors, in which he showed off a skill in painting silks and satins. The picture shown here is a typical example of his interior scenes.

A middle-class family is shown stiffly posed for a group portrait in a rather bare but impressive hall. The glossy white and yellow satin frocks of the two girls and the combination of brown, grey and black herald the colour fashions which later dominated the 'Feinmalerei' period of genre. The forms are clean-cut and as smooth and polished as if they had been turned on a lathe.

Objects or certain motifs in seventeenth-century Dutch paintings were often endowed with a dual function. They serve as perceptible material things, while simultaneously doing something entirely different, namely giving expression to and idea, an intention, a moral, or a condition. In the present painting the little dog standing on its hind legs is, on a deeper level, an image denoting the raising and educating of children.