Dutch Influence in Girl in White with Cherries by Micah William

DcoetzeeBot via Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0
DcoetzeeBot via Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Post by: Megan Johnston, Amy Barenboim, and Sabrina Piraneque Section 4

Physical Description: The painting Girl in White with Cherries by Micah Williams is a still-life portrait of a young girl. The girl is dressed in white, white many frills, has rosy cheeks and is carrying a basket of cherries. She is placing some cherries on plate, which is laid on the surface of a wooden chair. The girl appears to have a small smile, and is staring directly at the viewer of the painting.

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The Zimmerli Arts Museum

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The Zimmerli Arts Museum 40.499916, -74.445943

           Girl in White with Cherries, an oil on canvas painting, is currently located in the Zimmerli Arts Museum on the Rutgers University New Brunswick campus. The painting can be found in the American Art Wing gallery of the museum. Furthermore, it is located in the Zimmerli due to the fact it was a gift by Anna I. Morgan. The painting was done by Micah Williams, an American artist who worked in the Raritan Valley region, in 1831, a few years before his death in 1837. Williams spent most of his life in New Brunswick traveling from house to house drawing portraits of the middle-class and elite. His latter years, 1829 to 1833, he spent in New York City continuing his passion for painting.

         Lots of Dutch influence can be found when examining Girl in White with Cherries. Dutch portraiture is characterized by a showcase of wealth, while the subject is performing an act usually in a domestic situation. For example, a self-portrait of Rembrandt depicts him reading. The Rembrandt print of Cornelis Anslo that we viewed in the Zimmerli depicted him in the midst of speaking, surrounded by books in his home to signify erudition, and in opulent dress with a gold chain. The performance of a task in conjunction with wealth works to emphasize that despite their wealth, inherently the Dutch were humble. Girl in White with Cherries contains all the attributes of Dutch portraiture. The subject’s clothes are obviously of wealth, with beautiful and intricate lace, and she is holding cherries by what looks to be a chair in her home. The white of her dress also portrays her innocence and youth, something the parents of the subject would most likely want to be acknowledged having her portrait made at a young age. The rosy cheeks of the girl can also signify this youth. Rembrandt and other Dutch artists also focused on portraying personality through facial expressions. The girl has a small smile, almost mischievous, which highlights her youth as well. Dutch portraiture revolved around highlighting the positive and desirable aspects of the subject, something Micah Williams surely did in this portrait.

Bibliography:
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. “Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century.”National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2016

Gorce, Tammy La. “Mysteries of an Unusual Traveling Salesman.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 July 2013. Web. 09 Apr. 2016.

“Dutch Realist Genre Painting.” Dutch Realist School of Genre Painting. Encyclopedia of Art, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2016.

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