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Title Interior with Woman, Fish and Kettles
Collection Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth
Artist Sorgh, Hendrik Martensz. (Dutch painter, born 1609 or 1611, died 1670)
Date Earliest possibly about 1650
Date Latest possibly about 1660
Signed yes
Description Sorgh's Dutch Interior is related in subject and style to Interior of a Kitchen (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), in which women are seen at work surrounded by fish, kettles and other kitchen implements. However, unlike this painting, which seems to concentrate on the theme of cleanliness, the Russell-Cotes painting appears to deal with marital fidelity and the passing of time. In the foreground a set of scales are clearly tipped to the left, beneath which a plumed hat, suggestive of themes of gallantry is visible among kitchen implements. Beneath this are a lantern and billows (symbols of passion) which are propped against the wall as if recently used. To the right beyond the protagonist of the scene, who is looking out at us with flushed red cheeks, stands a man (possibly her old husband), his back is turned to us as he smokes a pipe and watches the embers of a fire in the hearth. His hat is distinctly placed on a hook high above his head, suggestive of his retirement from active life. Various items litter the near foreground of the picture. These would have suggested the woman's neglect of her duties in the morally astringent Calvinist era when the painting was executed.
Current Accession Number BORGM 02472
Former Accession Number 2294
Inscription front lr, on the pedestal edge, 'M. Zorgh'
Subject interior; everyday life; figure
Measurements 47.0 x 35.5 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Given by Mrs G. Crawshaw, 1979.
Provenance J. Franks, 1824; Mrs G. Crawshaw, by whom given to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth, 1979

Sorgh was born and worked at Rotterdam. He is said by Houbaken, the chronicler of seventeenth-century Dutch painters, to have studied with David Teniers II (1610-1690). However, his early works are closer to those of Adriaen Brower (1606-1638).

Sorgh's father Maerten was a 'marktskipper', running a barge between Rotterdam and Dordrecht. He acquired the family name Sorgh as a sobriquet (meaning ‘careful' in Dutch) as a result of his care in handling cargo. Hendrik is also described as a 'marktskipper' in documents of 1638. However, this appears to have been an official position. He was subsequently also appointed to the honorary municipal positions of ‘broodweger' (bread weigher) in 1657 and ‘brandmeester' (fire chief) in 1659, indicating his high social position.

In 1654 Sorgh was commissioned to restore a portrait of Erasmus by the City of Rotterdam and in 1659 he was appointed leader (‘hoofdman') of the city's painters' Guild of Saint Luke, further affirming his elevated social and professional rank.

Sorgh specialised as a painter of peasant interiors and, from the 1650s, of market scenes. Together with the Rotterdam painters Herman and Cornelis Saftleven, he contributed to the establishment and development of a local tradition of peasant painting related to but distinct from that of David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) in Antwerp and Adriaen Brouwer (c.1605-1638) and Adriaen (1610-1685) and Isaack (1621-1649) van Ostade in Haarlem. Sorgh had numerous pupils including Pieter Nijs (1624-1681) whose works are close to their master's.

Rights Owner Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth
Author Francesco Nevola




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