Portrait of a Young Girl as Granida (Primary Title)
Portrait of a Young Girl Dressed as a Hunter with a Dead Thrush and Leaping Spaniel (Former Title)

Nicolaes Maes, Dutch, 1634 - 1693 (Artist)

ca. 1671
Oil on canvas
Unframed: 42 x 33 1/2 in. Framed: 54 x 46 x 6 in.
This young girl from Dordrecht in the Netherlands is playacting the Persian princess Granida, the title heroine of a pastoral play by Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft (1581–1647) that became one of the most popular pieces of Dutch Golden Age literature after its publication in 1615. By casting his sitter in the role of this charismatic huntress, Maes made clever use of the well-established tradition of the portrait historié (historicizing portrait) to suggest the moral expectations of his patrons for their progeny. The girl’s hunting garb is classicizing and whimsical, while her engagement with the sport as leisure would have signaled her patrician status to her contemporaries. The large house across the river is presumably her family residence, and the spaniel that prances at her side is a sort of totem of their insistence on obedience and proper training. At the same time, the dog figures as a foil to the child’s composure, hinting at her energetic and capricious personality.
Signed lower left: NMAAS (NM in ligature)
The Jordan and Thomas A. Saunders III Collection

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