SWEERTS, Michiel
(b. 1618, Bruxelles, d. 1664, Goa)

A Young Maidservant

c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 61 x 54 cm
The Kremer Collection

This painting is not a portrait in the conventional sense. It is a tronie in which the figure represents a certain character or type. The Young Maidservant is among the largest of Sweerts's tronies which are all thought to have been painted in either Brussels or Amsterdam where the artist stayed between 1655 and 1661,

Sweerts painted the maidservant with his typical mixture of realism and idealisation. Her body is turned to the left, while she looks over her shoulder to the right with a rather dreamy look, as if loss in thought. This painting has often been compared with Johannes Vermeer's iconic Girl with a Pearl Earring which is dated c. 1665, some five years after the present painting. Until 2011, the paintings by Sweerts and Vermeer were in fact displayed together in the Vermeer Room of the Mauritshuis.

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