The Bird Seller

The Bird Seller

c. 1700-10

Willem van Mieris

(Dutch, 1662-1747)

Black and white chalk on blue paper, laid down on brown paper

Sheet: 26 x 22.3 cm (10 1/4 x 8 3/4 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2019.10

Fun Fact

In 17th-century Holland, market scenes portraying a man and a woman often had amorous undertones.

Description

In this market scene, the Dutch artist Willem van Mieris portrayed a man and woman in a poultry shop who negotiate over the price of a bird. A curtain is pulled aside above to reveal the scene—as if the viewer sees something in secret—while a faux relief panel below them portrays amorous putti. Market scenes portraying a man and a woman often carried amorous or lascivious connotations in 17th-century Holland, undertones that were acknowledged and enjoyed by the middle-class patrons who purchased such works.

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