Oil on canvas
Framed: 87.5 x 77 x 7 cm (34 7/16 x 30 5/16 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 63.3 x 52.7 cm (24 15/16 x 20 3/4 in.)
The Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Collection 1944.93
The pair to this painting (in the National Gallery, London), depicts a man in equally fashionable dress.
Every detail of his subject’s elaborate costume is skillfully recorded: glittering jewels, filmy lace, knots of ribbons, heavy black silk, and shimmering white satin. The ability to recreate satin’s luster was Gerard ter Borch’s particular trademark: he used fine flicks and sweeps of the brush, occasionally adding and wiping away tiny bits of paint to make the white fabric appear to shine. Ter Borch offset the profusion of costume detail by deliberately isolating the figure within a spare setting, allowing us to appreciate the woman’s cool composure. Although her identity is not known, she was undoubtedly a member of the wealthy Dutch elite.
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