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Still life of fruit and a pie on a table

The Royal Collection has a stunning collection of seventeenth century Dutch art

Pieter de Hooch (Rotterdam 1629-Amsterdam 1684)

A Courtyard in Delft at Evening: a Woman spinning 1657

RCIN 405331

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Here, the viewer is invited to enter a private world. Both women are preoccupied by their simple domestic tasks. Even so, this private space is located within a more public context. On the right beyond the house can be seen two towers: the taller one that of the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), where William the Silent, the founder of the Dutch Republic, is buried, and the smaller one that of the Stadthuis (Town Hall).

Another important feature of the painting is the close observation of the buildings, both in regard to the materials from which they are constructed and also in the tonal relationships of their silhouetted forms. Most convincing is the patchy distribution of the whitewash on the brick and the different types of mortar and pointing seen in a varying light.