(b. 1626, Leiden, d. 1679, Leiden)

The Whitsun Bride

Oil on oak panel, 36 x 29 cm
Private collection

This painting depicts the traditional Flemish celebration of Whitsuntide, the first day of Summer. It shows a procession of children standing before the door of a home. Still observed in some parts of Flanders today, the festival centres around a girl chosen to be the Whitsun Bride (Pinksterbloem). She wears a crown decorated with wild flowers in her hair, a pink apron over a white dress, and is adorned with jewellery. Leading a procession of youngsters singing traditional songs and playing instruments, the bride stops at each house to collect donations for the local parish.