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Nicolaes Maes (Dordrecht 1634-Amsterdam 1693)

The Listening Housewife Signed and dated 1655

Oil on panel | 74.9x 60.4 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 405535

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The mistress of the house descends the steep wooden stairs in order to surprise her servants, who are misbehaving in the basement. She bids the viewer, with finger to lips, not to give her away. Maes trained with Rembrandt, where he learned to make everything tactile as well as visible – evident here in the soft light and thick shadows as well as the wood, fur and linen.