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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

Adriaen van Ostade (Haarlem 1610-Haarlem 1685)

The Interior of a Peasant's Cottage 1668

RCIN 404814

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Early in his career Ostade focused on the rowdiness and boorishness of peasants but by the 1650s he had chosen to develop a more sympathetic depiction of peasant life. Here he shows a mother holding up a doll for her child to play with, a doting father looks on. An older child eats from a bowl on a stool, closely observed by a dog. The eye then begins to take in all the other details of family life strewn across the floor – the shopping basket, the laundry basket, the children’s elaborate chamber pot, the broom, various games, the walking frame.

This spacious composition combines a successful use of perspective that leads the eye back into the deeper recesses of the room with a pallet that create a sense of atmosphere, alongside a great amount of realistic detail.