HOOGSTRATEN, Samuel van
(b. 1627, Dordrecht, d. 1678, Dordrecht)

The Anaemic Lady

1660s
Oil on canvas, 70 x 55 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Van Hoogstraten's most concentrated period of genre painting production occurred only during the last years of his career, around 1670—71. These later pictures exhibit limited subject matter focusing primarily upon domestic themes. Especially fascinating is his Anaemic Lady (and its pendant of Two Women by a Cradle, dated 1670, Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield). In the Anaemic Lady a taciturn physician examines a flask containing the urine of an ailing young woman while another man (her husband?) looks on. This event takes place in a well-appointed house; the recession of space through two rooms in the background allows the viewer to scrutinize some very interesting paintings hanging on the walls and a sliver of a brilliantly illuminated gilt-leather wall-hanging. The inclusion of gilt-leather wall-hangings (an expensive decorative accouterment at this time), costly paintings, and sumptuous fabrics enhances the aura of opulence exuded by the painting.




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