LE NAIN brothers
(b. 1598/1610, Laon, d. Louis and Antoine: 1648, Mathieu: 1677, Paris)

Milkmaid's Family

c. 1641
Oil on canvas, 51 x 59 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Unlike in contemporary Dutch genre painting, Le Nain's compositions indicate neither peasant labours and leisure nor the common people's hard lot. Indeed, the expensive copper churn and clothing evoke prosperity. This family is more a symbolic expression of the unity between the inhabitants of central France and their native land. The contrived combination of a monumental group standing on a hillock as if on a pedestal, with a majestic panoramic view unfolding behind, has a certain elevated pomp.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.