Woman washing hands - Gerard Terborch. 53 x 45
Gerard Terborch - an outstanding master of genre painting of the Dutch school of the XVII century. At the beginning of his career, he wrote mainly scenes from peasant life and soldiers, and from the late 1640s he began to specialize in scenes in interiors with a small number of characters - as a rule, these were couples, ladies reading, writing and playing music. It is possible that the lady depicted here is the artist's sister.
The artist lived in need, this explains the fact that as a model he used a narrow circle of close people, in particular his sister Gezina. Most likely, it is she who is represented in the picture "Woman washing hands".
Usually, such stories are interpreted by researchers as an allegory of dissolute life, but in this case, the content of the work is probably an allegory of virtue. Its symbols are the closed bed canopy (in many other canvases it is apart), the washing of hands by a lady (since the time of the trial of Christ Pontius Pilate, this gesture symbolizes the reluctance to participate in something reprehensible), the absence of jewelry on the table (in other similar scenes in Terborch’s jewelry is “read” as payment of love joys) and, finally, a dog protecting the peace of mind of the hostess.
The most striking illustration of the meaning of the symbol of the animal can serve as a painting by Jan van Eyck "Portrait of the Four Arnolfini", stored in the National Gallery in London.
From a picturesque point of view, Terborch proved to be an unsurpassed master in the transfer of matter, in particular, a white satin (girl’s dress) and a multi-colored tablecloth.