“Child with a dog”, 18th century

“Portrait of a child with a dog» oil on canvas, follower of Nicolas Maes (1634-1693)
At the end of his career in Amsterdam Nicolas Maes became fashionable. His portraits of notables and children in typical baroque style, enhance the social status by the sought-after and ostentatious pose and the abundance of bubbling fabrics whose iridescences are highlighted. He dresses the children in hunters and adorns them with warrior symbols: helmets, armor, weapons.
He particularly depicted the faces in half length or three-quarters length, about half or two-thirds of the actual size.
Children are usually placed in the center of two specific symbols: the dog and the bird. Indeed, the dog, in the seventeenth century, represents the need for the prince to master natural tendencies, which can be achieved by education and instruction. The values of the dog recall those of childhood. The dog is the child of the child, destined never to grow. At the same time, the bird was a symbol of the child’s good upbringing. If the dog represents raw childhood, the bird without visible limbs represents the well-behaved child who has learned to speak and knows how to behave. Thus, the dog-bird couple functions as a head and legs.

As for the dog of the child it is the Cavalier King Charles at the origin, a hunting dog of the family of spaniels («spaniel», in English) but became, over time, especially a companion dog, appreciated for its easy and affectionate character. For children, the choice of this breed of dog is ideal.

Dutch school?
17th century?

With frame: height: 92 cm; width: 80cm

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