The Kitchen Maid, ca. 1780
Charles Macret (French, 1751–1789), after Gerrit Dou (Dutch, 1613–1675)
Engraving; plate 6 5/16 x 4 15/16 in. (16 x 12.5 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917 (17.3.1771)
This modest print records Dou's painting (Musée du Louvre, Paris) shortly after 1780, when it was sold from the Poulain collection in Paris. As in similar scenes invented by Dou during the 1640s and 1650s, the pretty kitchen maid is surrounded by motifs that had for decades stood for male and female private parts. Lost in the engraving, however, is the original play between two forms of seduction: that of the young woman and her friendly gaze, on the one hand, and that of illusionism (which seduces sight), on the other.