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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

Gerard ter Borch (Zwolle 1617-Deventer 1681)

A Gentleman pressing a Lady to drink c.1658-9

RCIN 404805

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The interaction of the two figures and the attention to detail in this work engage the viewer’s attention with an implied narrative of seduction. A shadow falls across the man’s face; his left hand is placed on the young woman’s shoulder while with the other he holds on to the neck of the bottle of wine. It is a striking, almost sinister pose, countered by that of the young woman, whose compliance is registered by the raising of the tulip glass to her lips while gazing into the man’s eyes.

The care lavished on the fur-trimmed garment, the cap and the curls of hair typifies ter Borch’s meticulous degree of finish, just as the psychological overtones inherent in the scene explain the artist’s appeal to modern viewers.