The Painter in his Workshop
Dou, Gerrit (1613-1675) | Painter
Dou was already an extremely influential, admired and highly paid painter during his lifetime. As the founder and head of the group of “Leidener Fijnschilders” (‘fine-painters’), he inspired an entire generation of artists through his delicate, detailed painting style, which gave his small-format works an enamel-like surface. In this self-portrait, the artist presents himself as “pictor doctus”, a learned and comprehensively educated painter surrounded by various attributes of science and the arts.
With his small-format paintings rendered in precise detail, Gerrit Dou inspired an entire generation of artists. He is among the most renowned of the Leiden ‘Fine’ painters, a loose group of artists all working in the city of Leiden in Holland. They enjoyed the height of their fame from around 1650 to 1700.
August the Strong, Elector of Saxony, and his son Friedrich August II, were both especially fond of these artists and acquired large numbers of their works. The paintings were hung in a room adjacent to the royal bedchamber, and only shown to selected visitors. The Dresden collection of works by Leiden ‘Fine’ painters is still the largest in the world – and here, in this room, we are showing just a selection from our holdings.
The Leiden ‘Fine’ painters worked with exceptionally fine brushes. Rendering their subjects in precise detail, they often needed magnifying glasses to help them. They also sought to conceal the brushstroke entirely, leaving the surfaces completely smooth with an enamel-like finish.
Their subjects often deal with everyday scenes. When you look at the works on show here, you will notice how many of them include figures writing, reading, or playing music. In the seventeenth century, Holland enjoyed a cultural heyday and had the highest literacy rates in Europe.
- Material & Technique
- Oil on oak panel
- Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
- Inventory number
- Gal.-Nr. 1704