Oil on wood
Framed: 80.6 x 68.3 x 3.9 cm (31 3/4 x 26 7/8 x 1 9/16 in.); Unframed: 62.7 x 49.5 cm (24 11/16 x 19 1/2 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Noah L. Butkin 1975.81
Amsterdam was a very important trade center when this portrait was painted in the mid-1600s. In this portrait, the girl wears an African ostrich feather in her hair and her skin appears to glow. Look closely at the way her small hands were treated and the naturalistic way they grip the musical instrument.
This painting belongs to a series of portraits representing the five senses and each depicting a daughter of a wealthy family from Amsterdam. This portrait of 11-year-old Elizabeth Spiegel, who holds a recorder in her hands, represents the sense of hearing. Her gown of costly satin and pearl ornaments proclaims her family's prosperity, and the imported ostrich feathers from Africa indicate Amsterdam's role as an international trade center.
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