Imag(in)ing prosperity Painting and material culture in the I7th-century Dutch household When the widow Geertruijt Cornelisdochter passed away in Haarlem sometime in the late 1630s, Jacobus Schout recorded a poignantly brief boedelinventaris of all her worldly goods. Schout was an exceptionally conscientious notary,l but this little entry dated II January 1638 is in fact so brief as to be almost lost between considerably lengthier listings of the household possessions of Cornelisdochter's fellow townsfolk. Mter a few pieces of furniture, Schout's curt notes record 'a breakfast painting, another on paper, and eight other small pictures'; the summary of the very simple interior is completed with nothing more than 'a saltvat of wood and pewter, some earthenware dishes and iron pots'. 2 The brieflisting is touching in several ways. First, it evokes a household and in turn a life so spare and even austere that it is a far cry from our inherited popular image of the copious and glittering material trappings of the Dutch Golden Age. But more touching still is that among her precious few earthly goods, the widow possessed several objects quite beyond the dishes and pots of meager subsistence: the saltcellar, not just of wood but
Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art / Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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