An exhibition of the works of Gerard Dou (1613-1675) has opened on September 25th 2000 at the Dulwich picture gallery in London. A total of 32 works by this master, who was Rembrandt's pupil and known as a virtuoso, are being shown until November 19th.
Dou first trained with his father, a painter on glass and with Dolendo, an engraver, before he was admitted in Rembrandt's studio at 15. He had a keen taste for minute details regarding the faces of his sitters and interiors he painted.
Dou remained with Rembrandt until the latter left for Amsterdam in 1632 and the style of his debuts was quite influenced by that of his master. In fact Dou was somewhat accused of being a faithful copyist but ultimately found his own style when he gave up painting portraits. He then concentrated on genre painting with a sense of remarkable perfection and met tremendous success.
King Charles II of England, Queen Christina of Sweden and the Archduke Leopold bought several of his works and his fellow-countrymen much admired him as he met their desires for refinement. Dou went way away from Rembrandt though he sometime made some abuse of chiaroscuro effects in his paintings. Still on insisted on anecdotes and charming scenes in an effort to give pleasure to the viewers.
Whereas Rembrandt aimed at reaching an idea of what would appear sublime Dou was banking on truth and perfection like a theatre director trying to transform illusion into reality. Dou was much allusive in his works knowing what figures were supposed to do but his apparent perfection leaves us the feeling that he was not a genius like Vermeer or Rembrandt who were more sensitive regarding the way they approached their themes.