Portrait of a Girl

Gerrit Dou, 1613 - 1675

Portrait of a Girl

Gerrit Dou 1613 - 1675


The young woman is not wearing everyday clothes, but Arcadian fancy dress. Her costume, and the fact that her identity is unknown, suggests that this is not a portrait but a tronie, which was a detailed head study aimed at conveying a character, a type, an emotional expression, a peculiar physiognomy, or any other curious or intriguing feature. Tronies were painted from models, but not intended to be likenesses, and usually involved some sort of costume. Gerrit Dou was Rembrandt's first and greatest pupil and the first of the Leiden fijnschilders (fine painters), a group of artists famous for their meticulous brushwork, whose strokes were blended in such a way that they were almost invisible. His paintings were greatly sought after and fetched high prices owing to their refined appearance.

Display Label

Portrait of a Girl probably 1630s Gerard Dou 1613 -1675 Oil on panel The Dutch loved to escape from the duties of life into the romance of pastoral literature. In the 1630s young women often were portrayed as shepherdesses in low cut dresses. This painting was probably painted around this time by Gerard Dou, Rembrandt's first pupil in Leiden. We do not know the identity of the sitter. It is unusual to have a woman painted on her own. It could have been one of a pair, or painted for a prospective husband. Alternatively it could be a tronie - a head and shoulders of a studio model, often shown wearing fancy dress. These were very popular with the public and were copied for the cheaper end of the market. Assheton - Bennett bequest 1979.457

Object Name

Portrait of a Girl

Creators Name

Gerrit Dou


Panel: 21.2cm x 17.6cm
frame: 35cm x 32.5cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint on panel

On Display

[G14] Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 14
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Bequeathed by Mr and Mrs Assheton-Bennett.


© Manchester Art Gallery

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