Saturday in the Museum with Gerard

Image: Gerard ter Borch, A Maid Milking a Cow in a Barn (c.1652–1654).

This week’s art post about food is from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It is by the Dutch painter Gerard ter Borch

The Getty describes the painting this way:

“Gerard ter Borch treated the routine chore of milking in a straightforward manner, rejecting the humorous themes often favored by seventeenth-century Dutch genre painters. He was especially skilled at rendering the textures and surfaces of objects like those found in the foreground: the roughly hewn stool, the wooden basin filled with water, the chipped ceramic crock, and the shiny metal hinges of the buckets. The painting’s muted colors and subtle play of light are characteristic of Ter Borch’s work.”

The Getty may be correct that it is not explicitly humorous, but the gazing look of the cow waiting its turn does prompt a smile.

The Getty provides this artist bio:

“The son of an established painter, Gerard ter Borch was encouraged from an early age to pursue a career in painting. At the age of fifteen, he went to Amsterdam to study painting; after three years he moved to Haarlem and was admitted to that city’s painters’ guild. For a year he traveled throughout Europe, working for various patrons in many of Europe’s leading artistic centers.

“Ter Borch was one of the most accomplished painters of seventeenth-century Holland, enjoying a considerable reputation in his own day. In the 1640s he adopted a new pictorial type, the full-length portrait, and he contributed to the development of a new genre type, showing simplified interiors with a few figures in an upright format. This composition became an important format for the second half of the 1600s. These compositions are characterized by great refinement in the handling of color, light, and texture and also by a subtle psychological interplay.”


We will stop milking this one for any more words and shift to our traditional pitch to remind you that while we post about art and food on Saturdays, the rest of the time we are churning out a dining guide for D.C. There are 300+ recommended restaurants in the guide, that you can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and current operating status (dine-in and/or take-out, etc.) in either LIST or MAP format.  Though operating status is changing day-to-day, so be sure to double-check.

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